nonprofit nerd reads

I just returned from the Association of American Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. One of the things I love about the gathering is there’s always an official bookstore. My budget only allowed window shopping, but here’s what’s on my wish list.

The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye by Maxwell L. Anderson. This book promises reflections and insights on a 30-year career in museums, along with advice on viewing art. While I hope for insider dirt, I’m sure Mr. Anderson has too much class to indulge in that.

A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career by Greg Stevens & Wendy Luke. Considering the most-viewed post on this blog is about professional development and I’m often asked how to enter the museum field professionally (Shameless plug alert: I am currently fielding offers – hire me!), this book is right on time, offering common-sense advice for all stages of museum careers.

All Together Now: Museums and Online Collaborative Learning by Will B. Crow and Wei-Hsin Din. There is practically unlimited potential for designing museum education programs that include multiple disciplines, involve worldwide audiences, and position museums as community engagement centers. This book examines the idea of the “digital commons” and provides in-depth case studies.

Any museum-related books that you’re excited about?

nonprofit nerd reads

The holidays are fast approaching and while I should be concerned with mailing cards and setting up my tiny, Charlie Brown Christmas tree, I’m busy increasing my to-read list.  This installment of Nonprofit Nerd Reads is inspired by museums (surprise, surprise!) and the amazing storytelling potential that resides within them.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone.  Inspired by The Art Institute of Chicago’s Thorne Miniature Rooms, this story draws upon the magical quality of the painstakingly rendered period rooms and wonders what would happen if you were small enough to explore each one.


The Calder Game by Blue Balliett.  A young boy named Calder visiting England with his father discovers  a previously unknown Alexander Calder sculpture in a tiny town off the beaten path.  When both Calder and the artwork suddenly vanish the mystery deepens.



Masterpiece by Elise Broach.  What could possibly happen when an eleven-year-old boy makes friends with an artistic beetle living under his family’s kitchen sink? If you guessed plagiarism, an art swindle at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and a missing Albrecht Dürer drawing you are correct.

nonprofit nerd reads

While I’m extremely grateful for the free coffee and tea in the company break room, what really excites me is the new Read & Recycle Bookshop.  Yep, that’s right, FREE books, magazines and CDs available just steps away from my office! The idea–take what you want, leave what you can–really speaks to the book lover (and hunter) in me.  Every time I go in there, which is pretty often, I find something new.   This installment of nonprofit nerd reads highlights some of the books I’ve discovered in this miraculous place.

The Fourth Stage of Gainsborough Brown by Clarissa Watson.   Eccentric painter, gallery shenanigans, seemingly accidental death and an amateur sleuth armed with nothing but a sketch pad.  What’s not to love, right?




Winter in the Blood by James Welch focuses on a dysfunctional, destructive and inexplicably likeable young man stumbling through life as he struggles with identity, ethnicity and tragedy against the harsh backdrop of the Montana wilderness. 



The Ruins by Scott Smith.  This is my second reading of this novel, and it still gives me nightmares.  Set in Cancun, Mexico, four American tourists detour from their dream vacation to help a German tourist track down his missing brother, to disastrous results.  A disturbing tale of what can happen when you don’t stick to your vacation itinerary.


Have you stumbled across any literary finds lately?