Museums Newsletter


December 1 2016 Museums Newsletter

Hello all!

I am thrilled to announce that my new book Interpreting Anniversaries and Milestones at Museums and Historic Sites is now available!

It is available through Amazon:

This is the press release from my publisher Rowman & Littlefield:

Interpreting Anniversaries and Milestones
at Museums and Historic Sites
Kimberly Kenney, curator of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton, Ohio, recently published her sixth book entitled Interpreting Anniversaries and Milestones at Museums and Historic Sites. It is an invaluable resource for a wide range of cultural organizations that are attempting to plan an historical anniversary celebration or commemoration, including museums, churches, cities, libraries, colleges, arts organizations, science centers, historical societies, and historic house museums.

“I began thinking about this book back in 2007 when we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the McKinley National Memorial,” Kenney said. “Then in 2013 we participated in the community-wide celebration of the 80th anniversary of Sam Stone’s anonymous Christmas gifts, as chronicled in the book A Secret Gift by Ted Gup. Soon afterwards, I decided this was a book I needed to write."

The book begins with an examination of why people are drawn to celebrating and commemorating anniversaries in their own lives and in their communities, as well as the institutional benefits of planning this type of programming. The rest of the book features case studies of specific institutions that have planned and executed an anniversary celebration or commemoration. In-depth interviews with key staff members involved in the planning process at each organization provide the reader with ideas that can be adapted to their own celebrations, as well as pit-falls to avoid, funding opportunities, marketing plans, and visitor response.

Chapters are organized by the type of anniversary activity, including signature events, programs and tours, fundraising campaigns, exhibitions, books and documentaries, audience outreach and community involvement, preservation, partnerships, and commemorative products and souvenirs. A wide range of sizes and types of organizations are represented from across the country and around the world, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Imperial War Museum, Mackinac State Historic Parks, Woodrow Wilson House, the National Corvette Museum, Stan Hywet, Cincinnati Preservation Society, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, the City of South Bend, and much more. Plans can be scaled up or down, depending on your institution’s resources.

“Every organization or community has an anniversary coming up,” said Kenney. “Why should we reinvent the wheel every time? There are lots of places that have already planned successful anniversary celebrations. We can learn from what has worked at other places and apply those ideas to our own institutions.”

The book has been well received by the museum profession. “Interpreting Anniversaries and Milestones is a wonderful resource for professionals at any museum or cultural site, large or small, who is looking forward to celebrating an anniversary or noteworthy event in the life of their organization,” said Kimberly E. Springle, executive director of Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives. “Kenney’s interviews with multiple museum professionals in the US and abroad are golden in learning of effective celebrations and commemorations including challenges, pitfalls, opportunities, and successes. This is not only a ‘go to’ publication for guidance on anniversary celebrations and commemorations, but also helpful for tips on developing effective programs, events, and fundraising and marketing campaigns for a thriving and engaging museum or cultural site. I highly recommend this book.”

Interpreting Anniversaries and Milestones at Museums and Historic Sites is available only through Rowman & Littlefield and on

Kimberly Kenney graduated summa cum laude from Wells College in Aurora, NY with a major in American history and minor in creative writing, where she became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Master of Arts degree in History Museum Studies at the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Kim became Curator of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in October 2001. She was part of the planning team that developed the 100th anniversary programming for the McKinley National Memorial in 2007. She serves as editor of the Museums website at, where she has authored several ebooks, and is a member of the MuseLab Advisory Council at Kent State University.

Here's the latest article from the Museums site at

Who Visits a Museum?
There are personality types who are more likely to visit museums. There are also people who will NEVER visit a museum. What do you know about these groups?

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Kim Kenney, Museums Editor

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