Museums as Community Partners: Collaborating for Cultural Enrichment with Valerie Innella Maiers and John Woodward

Do you want to stay ahead in the digital age and ensure your museum thrives? Are you looking for ways to adapt and embrace the opportunities of the digital landscape? Join us as Valerie Innella Maiers and John Woodward share their insights on how museums can evolve their role in the digital age. Discover the solution they will be presenting, which will enable you to achieve the desired outcome of adapting and thriving in the digital world.

In a world silenced by the pandemic, Valerie and John found themselves faced with a daunting reality. But within the depths of these uncertain times, a spark was ignited, birthing an unexpected journey. They broke free from the confines of the physical museum walls and embarked on an exploration into the digital age. The M files podcast became their vessel, sailing through uncharted territories, unraveling the evolving role of museums in this brave new world. Join them on this extraordinary voyage as they share the untold stories, the triumphs, and the challenges that lie ahead.

In this episode, you will be able to:

·       Enlighten yourself with the integral role of museums as community partners.

·       Discover the noble endeavor of museums in safeguarding history and magnifying the beauty of art and culture.

·       Dive into the complex web of relationships between museums and other societal pillars such as libraries, governments, and non-profits.

·       Enjoy an abstract journey unveiling the authentic experiences provided by museums that remain untouched by the digital wave.

Our special guests are Valerie Innella Maiers and John Woodward

Valerie Innella Maiers, Ph.D, teaches art history, museum studies, and coordinates museum internships at Casper College. Dr. Innella Maiers is the 2020 recipient of the Governor's Art Award, nominated by the Wyoming Arts Council, was selected as a part of a University of Wyoming faculty cohort in Jerusalem at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research in 2023.

Co-hosting the M Files podcast alongside Valerie is John Woodward, a stalwart figure known for his considerable contributions to enhancing Wyoming's historical and cultural landscape. John also brings an intimate understanding of a museum visitor's perspective, offering a well-rounded view of their significance today.

The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:01 - Introduction,
00:01:52 - Starting the M Files Podcast,
00:05:32 - Adapting to the Pandemic,
00:08:26 - Growth and Format Evolution,
00:11:53 - Trends in the Museum Industry,
00:17:04 - The Power of Favorite Objects,
00:17:59 - Prompts and Topics for Discussions,
00:19:55 - Showcasing the Diversity of Museums,
00:21:47 - The Relevance of Museums in a Digital Age,
00:27:12 - Museums in Rural Communities,
00:34:00 - Museums as Community Partners,
00:35:17 - Different Roles of Museums and Libraries,

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

·       Listen to the M Files podcast to explore the world of museums, from big cities to small towns, and everything in between.

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00:00:01
             

Welcome to Winds of Change. I am your host, Emy DiGrappa. Winds of Change is centered on the people, places, history, and stories of Wyoming. We talk about identity, community, land, and the winds of change and what it means to thrive in our state. How does someone identify with wide open spaces and big personalities in small towns?         

00:00:23
             

Listen to folks from across our state share their connection to Wyoming and home? Brought to you by Wyoming Humanities Council.         

00:00:50
             

You. Today we are talking to two of the co hosts of the M Files podcast. The M Files podcast is about museums everywhere, from big cities to small towns, from natural history to art and everything in between. Now we are going to peek behind the curtain of the museum world with our guests, Valerie Innella Maiers and John Woodward.         

00:01:17
             

Valerie teaches art history, museum studies, and coordinates museum internships at Casper College. And John has spent most of his life improving Wyoming's historical and cultural landscape. And he has a master's in history and anthropology from the University of Wyoming. My first question in this conversation is, why did you start the M podcast, and when did you start it? We were talking about podcasts in general, and at this time, too, we were on the cusp of the pandemic.         

00:01:52
             

Right, John? And then when the pandemic happened, we were not connecting with our peers. We were not seeing anyone, and we thought this would be an opportunity to have that dialogue that's so important to our work and how our work really changed, as museums are typically open to the public and what was going to happen inside the institution. And not just the fact that people go to museums, but all of the other parts of what museums do and special programs. Taking interns.         

00:02:31
             

John has had many museum studies interns from Casper College at his site. And what did that mean for museum professionals in training? And so we started local. We started with Rick Young at Fort Casper here in Casper, but we went to national museums to continue that conversation. Sort of to build on that.         

00:02:56
             

Yes. Val had the idea, and then she turned to me and said, John, how can we make this happen? And I was left scrambling, trying to figure out the technical end of how do you put a podcast together? How do you edit a podcast? How do you publish a podcast?         

00:03:12
             

When she brought this idea to Patty and myself, I kept thinking, is this a joke, or is she serious? And then she's like, we got guests lined up. And I thought, oh, she's serious. I need to get serious, too, and jump into the technical aspect of it, which was, that's not my background, but it's something that I know enough to be dangerous. And that's where we went from there.         

00:03:36
             

That's interesting because, Bellary, you had guests lined up, but you hadn't even started your podcast. How did that happen? We had a lot of ideas. And actually it took us a while to come up with our name, the M files. We had all kinds of fun ideas and every time that we would see each other, we would spin ideas about what the podcast might mean to others, what it meant to us, what we wanted to allow people to get from this experience, tuning in.         

00:04:11
             

And so we thought of a lot of our friends that have been part of museum organizations, both regional and more national organizations, and they had really exciting stories to tell about their work, whether it was in museum education in Montana or learning about being the curator at the Charles Schultz Museum in California, the Snoopy Museum. And so we've just been really fortunate that people have agreed to be part of the podcast. Some people have even reached out to us and we've been able to now go further and talk to people that we had not met through the usual channels recently, talking to someone who works at Colonial Williamsburg. So it's been really exciting. But we started with people that we know pretty well.         

00:05:00
             

The getting started part was we were doing it at a time when people wanted to build a connection. We had had a couple of virtual cocktail parties with some of our colleagues and we noted how much that meant to everybody to be able to, even in a virtual setting, get together, have a good time, blow off steam. And that helped fuel this desire to reach out and talk to other people. And we realized that the guests that we were contacting had the same feeling. They wanted to connect as well as much as we did.         

00:05:32
             

So it's grown in large part because that connection is still there and people are still wanting to talk about what they're doing and their successes and even talking about their failures. So how we can grow and learn from each experience. I love that this started during the Pandemic and has become and continues to grow and be so successful because I think Wyoming Wyoming Humanities Council moved to a remote office during the Pandemic, right? That choice was made. I think it's the right move for our organization.         

00:06:08
             

And it's just been so nice to hear other stories of things that have gone well because of the Pandemic. Right? It was such a tumultuous time. And I think, John, you're absolutely right. People were desperate for connection and we needed to find it in all kinds of ways.         

00:06:23
             

And I think we found really fun virtual avenues for connection that continue to be so important for our work and our play. I'm always happy when I hear a good Pandemic story, I guess, and this is definitely a good one and actually. It is fun, I think with our first question, some very interesting stories we always ask as our first question what is the most unusual thing that has happened to you in a museum? And we get ghost stories. We get stories about artifacts.         

00:06:57
             

There's just really wide range of responses to that. And the first season, we were trying to really script out a lot of questions, and as we shifted into pandemic mode, it became so how are you adapting? Do you have any programs online? What about fundraising? As so many museums are nonprofits, and we're reliant on major fundraisers, gathering together those who will donate and help support the institution.         

00:07:26
             

And so that became really fascinating too, to hear how everyone across the country, museums large and small, were accommodating for this. And we started out meeting small, wearing our masks. We were basically a little what did we call them? Pod. And then it got to a point where we didn't meet at all.         

00:07:47
             

So John had to learn how to do these more virtual platforms, but that's really facilitated what we have today. And since then, our co-host actually took a position at a museum at Pennsylvania State University. So that allowed us to keep going and broadening what we were doing. Our first season, most of our recording was done on my laptop, and then I had a sound board connected to it. We zoomed in some of our folks on a different computer, so we started it more or less on Valerie's dining room table or my kitchen counter.         

00:08:26
             

And some of the pictures from our first season shows me bent over this soundboard, trying to get everything working. Our first recording session was actually at the Fort Casper Museum. We did our introductory episode where we talked about our goals and what we were wanting to do. And then our second episode featured Rick Young, the director there at Fort Casper. But as we were working and getting everything set up that first day, of course something goes wrong and the recording isn't working quite right.         

00:08:55

And I just start tearing cables out of the board, rewiring it frantically, trying to get it to work. Meanwhile, there are visitors to the museum walking right past us as we were doing this. And I'm sweating, I'm frustrated. I'm like, all right, we'll do something else. And then I have another gadget that I pull out to record the session.         

00:09:18
             

But the technical aspect has been a real learning curve because we've tried a couple of different things we've done in person, and now we're switching more towards a virtual component so we can include our third co host, Patty, but we can also then broaden out to people further afield for visitors. So we've gone to both coasts. I know that Patty and Val are hoping that we can have some of, like, an international guest sometime in season four. And so we now have that capacity, which is incredible when you think that we're based here in central Wyoming with most people outside of the state think that we still use the telegraph and rely on horses to get around the state. Well, that first season two and that first episode that he talked about that was kind of traumatic.         

00:10:07
             

We were very formal, we were very stiff, and we told our stories and then we listened to it. We're all excited to hear our first podcast. We're like that's awful. And so we just deleted the entire thing and retaped it. And we found that we were more natural and more relaxed.         

00:10:23
             

And now in our third season, we still keep our opening question, but we've gone more to an open conversation like this format. There are some questions that we ask as hosts, but we really move in the direction that the speakers would like to go to and talk about issues that are important to them or their institution or what's happening in the museum world at large, like repatriation of artifacts and some of those major issues that visitors really don't hear much about, but are really important to us and how we're working only in our institutions, but working with future museum professionals as those who are really responsible for our heritage and these collections we keep in perpetuity our civilization. I totally agree. This is a great format. It's always straightforward and well organized in that way.         

00:11:24
             

It seems loose, and it's a lot more fun talking about all these museums that you've talked with in that industry. This is going to sound really academic, this question, but I hope it doesn't come across that way. But what direction do you see museums going towards in the industry? What sort of trend have you noticed that's come up more often, or most. Frequently, I think more hands-on engagement, more storytelling.         

00:11:53
             

And that's something that's already embedded in many museums, inclusive of John's Museum, the Wyoming Humanities Council. When visitors are there, they're really telling stories and hearing stories, and it's really using the object as a prompt for that personal connection. But just to have more of a hands-on engagement moving away from what you would have found decades ago in what was called the Walk and Gawk tour, you get to gather the little fourth graders and march them through the museum. No talking, no touching, no questions. We have a script that we are going to read to you about these artifacts, and it will make you a better individual if you learn your history and look at pretty art.         

00:12:41
             

You're cultivating this educated and aesthetically sensitive populace when you do this. But we're focused more on the subjective experience in a museum, in my opinion, and the layering of information, a more hermeneutic approach to allowing the visitor to get out of the visit, what they need. And there are a lot of studies that show why people go to museums. Sometimes they're facilitators, they're grandparents bringing grandchildren, or they're going there because of a particular artifact and they're scholars. But there's also studies that show what people get out of museums, and one of the main components is social, just interacting, being there or contemplative.         

00:13:25
             

Maybe you're going to an aquarium and just watching the jellyfish flow in front of you. So the experience is personal and more meaningful and allowing you to reflect on your place in the world, not just telling one story, but allowing your stories to mesh with that. One of the topics that came up quite a bit during the pandemic as museums were sharing their collections online, especially some of those metropolitan art institutions that were putting their art collections online, was the question, do we need museums in the future if all of this information is available in a digital format? That was a big question for about two years because we were on the cusp even before COVID of a less expensive format for putting stuff into the digital world. The web was really exploding in a way to do new things.         

00:14:24
             

You have cloud-based storage, so you can have access to some of these high resolution images in wherever you're at. But that's really sort of tamped down is the experience of going to the museum and interacting with that actual object. I mean, a good example is you could pull up an image of the Mona Lisa on your computer and look at it, but you're going to get an entirely different experience, a more meaningful and in-depth experience, if you were to go to Paris and see it in the Louvre by itself. So I think we've gotten away from the question of are museums still needed? Yes, obviously they are, but now it's where does that next step go?         

00:15:07
             

How do museums further themselves into that post COVID environment? And Valerie is just right. We're a cultural nexus where we can tell stories based around those physical objects, or not even necessarily a physical object, but some sort of item. If you have stuff that's born digital, obviously you just have code. You don't have that image to share.         

00:15:32
             

Well, first of all, just to learn that when you do your research and figure out who your guests are and what do you want the outcome to be when you have a discussion, do you have a set idea of questions and answers that you're looking for? Or like you said, you're going for more of a freestyle, but even in that freestyle, you still are looking for the person that you're interviewing or talking with to give you the experience. So what kind of things have you learned about that? Well, we started with the more scripted experience, but we've kept some of the questions, and one of those questions is asking the guests how they got to their position in the museum. Not everyone is starting out with the idea they're going to work in a museum.         

00:16:23
             

They might be a great paleontologist and end up at Geological Museum or an anthropologist, and now they're going to be in this environment where they can be a content expert, providing that information to museum goers. And there's really interesting stories of how people have sometimes just fallen into museum work. We talked to a person recently that was a volunteer and now within two years of a director of a historical site. So it's very interesting to hear about those experiences. We also ask them about their institution and collection.         

00:17:04
             

I like to ask what their favorite object is. And it's hard. It's like asking, well, what's your favorite child in the museum? But that's something that I would do at the museum studies class when we would tour a museum. If there's a raging fire, what is the one thing, if you could, that you would pick up and take with you, and why does that object resonate with that person?         

00:17:29
             

And I think that gets into more of the personal and the storytelling and is more interesting. And we did have certain topics. We did start out in season two. We would have different topics like fundraising or collections management, or what are your favorite tools for installing and designing exhibits? And we would end with asking what advice that the museum professional had for students or aspiring museum professionals.         

00:17:59
             

We still look at some of those topics if we know the speaker is affiliated with a particular area or a really exciting event at their museum or have a really interesting collection like the US. Marshals Museum. That was an interesting interview. So we do have our prompts, but we're allowing them to take the reins a bit more, and I think that feels really good, and it's contributing to a really fulfilling program. We did have grant support for an episode, though, this past season from St.         

00:18:34
             

Vincent Arts, and the episode was directed to masks in museums, and we broke it up into masks used in fundraisers. The Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art has always done a mask fundraiser. It's an art museum. Artists create masks. They auction them.         

00:18:55
             

So we talked to their director, Lisa Hatch Dorian, and then we talked to a museum professional in Oklahoma who talked about what happened during COVID when people were asked to mask and not everybody wanted to mask. And so there's some interesting stories about you're in maybe a state funded museum or federally funded museum and the regulations that were in place for that, and then thinking about masks that are also part of permanent collections and what that might mean in a more sociopolitical context. For me, it's sharing the breadth of the museum world with other people. Each museum is unique and special in its own way, whether that's the that could be the subject matter, it could be the items in the collection, its relationship to its community. Each museum is special, and I think that's important because you get people that will begin to categorize museums in sort of broad categories.         

00:19:55
             

Oh, it's a history museum. Oh, it's a natural history museum. Oh, it's an art museum. Well, yes, but they fall into these other categories. It might be a contemporary art museum, or then it might also be one that has a strong education or community involvement engagement model.         

00:20:15
             

So I think we see some really cool niche museums, but it shows the breadth of the entire industry. I mean, my favorite was a museum dedicated to woodblock printing. The museum director, he had no experience or professional training in museums. He was a master printer. And so he spent his entire career in a print shop making these wonderful prints.         

00:20:44
             

You might think, if you saw their title, that, what kind of Museum is that? So trying to show that breadth, that rich enrichment of that world, to what kind of inspiration can we bring to a particular audience today? So that's what I look out for. Is that I've already learned so much about museums just by hearing the two of you talk about this podcast of yours. And so I'm really excited to dive into these episodes even more.         

00:21:15
             

But I really love the point that you both have made about the continued relevance of museums as a physical space that we can go and inhabit, because I think there was, and there continues to be, and especially in this new era of AI right. And all the things that we're learning with that and we're really trying to understand, does the physical world even have a place anymore? You know what I mean? Does it even matter? But I love that you both said no.         

00:21:47
             

It absolutely does, and it is true. Being in a museum and being in front of something you've only ever seen in a digital format, like, I'm thinking about the first time I saw a Monet or a Van Gogh, and it's a visceral experience. It's a physical experience that you have, seeing that for the first time, experiencing that for the first time. And then I also think about I had a really great conversation just the other day with the Hot Springs Pioneer Museum, and they have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of artifacts of the west right, of pioneers of Hot Springs. And a lot of people think it's just a room full of stuff.         

00:22:27
             

But like you said, Valerie, each of those things are prompts for storytelling and engagement. And you can't have that same kind of engagement online. It's just different. It's different than seeing a picture of the hole in the wall bar is very different than sitting up to it. That's a very different experience.         

00:22:50
             

And so I just really appreciated that point that, no, museums are not going anywhere. They are still very, very relevant. And I think as we move into this digital world and this sometimes questionable or even scary digital world, I think they'll maybe continue to be relevant, but maybe even more so in some respects. So you've got my wheels turning. I guess I'm just thinking a lot now thank you.         

00:23:18
             

About that authentic experience. And that's something that I'm personally looking at in my research at this time looking at how we might use the humanities to better serve visitors to a natural history or a science museum. An example would be at the Werner Wildlife Museum in Casper, bringing in the English faculty of Casper College for writing workshops, using the collection as prompts. One in particular utilized a haiku poetry form to allow the visitor to connect with the space. They would close their eyes.         

00:24:01
             

What are they hearing? What are they feeling? Became very meditative. Open your eyes. What do you see?         

00:24:08
             

Is it the grand slam of sheep display or the different fish that you'd find throughout the lakes and streams of Wyoming? And what does that mean to you? How does that feel? And so you are connecting in this subjective, visceral manner to the site itself. And I'm really excited about that, and I'm fortunate.         

00:24:35
             

I just had a paper accepted at the University Museums and Collections conference in Australia, so I'll be talking more about that in August. At their conference, you mentioned AI, and that's one of my interest areas, is how AI and advanced computer technologies are going to influence the museum world. We're at the doorstep of it right now, so it's hard to say where the outcome is ultimately going to be. But at least for your history museums, maybe more on the local level or the more specialized, they're still going to be a source for research and information. The way that the AIS are trained today, they have very basic, very general knowledge bases that they're trained with.         

00:25:24
             

So when you get back into something that's very specific, like community history or specific topics of, say, Wyoming history, you're still going to need to rely on those human experts to be your presenters and your mediators on those topics. And then when you start talking about within the art setting, yes, you have AIS that are making some pretty scary good pieces of visual media, but it starts to bring the debate, is that art or is that something else? Is that just a pretty picture that was self generated by an AI? So I think AI will continue to have debates, hopefully not directly with museum personnel, maybe, I don't know. But I think, again, that's another facet of that discussion.         

00:26:15
             

Are museums relevant in an increasingly digital age? And I think the answer again is going to be yes. It's just going to be how do we incorporate or adapt to that technology? And that's something that is not specific to museums but to society in general. So I think that's a continuing discussion that we're going to have as time goes on.         

00:26:37
             

So I'm going to direct this question to Lucas because he's on the board of the Rockpile Museum, and the stories that we're going to tell following this podcast are about three Wyoming museums. And of course, Wyoming is made up of small towns, rural communities, and all these museums are very rural. So what do you think about that, Lucas. The idea of museums focusing on rural communities, well, that's essential, right? A museum is the lifeblood of a community.         

00:27:12
             

And I'm not just saying that because I happen to serve on a board of a museum that I really do think is the lifeblood of a community. It's a very objective statement that sounds subjective, but it's not, I promise. A museum is in a lot of ways, too, the living archive of a space. I think. Take the Rock pile, for example.         

00:27:31
             

It captures everything that happened within the Powder River Basin. We say that generally, but it's true. It's like three storage warehouses full of artifacts. We collect them all the time. Agriculture, mining.         

00:27:45
             

Everything that happened in the Powder River Basin is being represented at this museum. And so without it, just pretend that it's not there for a second. There's just a pile of rocks nearby, hence the name Rock Pile. If there was no museum anywhere, there would be no permanent institutional memory, quite literally, for the community. Sure.         

00:28:05
             

You can go to the library and get plenty of records there with newspapers, and there's an auto museum across the street, which is fine, but it's not going to capture all the nuances that took place. Who the first peoples were who walked through the powder river basin all the way up to the pioneers and the ranching families that still exist today. For me, that's what a museum is. I mean, yes, you have the educational part and the history part, which I'm all about, obviously, but it is that it's a snapshot of what the community was and where it's going to frankly, I hope that captured. Thanks for that rock Pile Museum shout out.         

00:28:43
             

I was debating if I was going to do that, so thanks for taking that out of my hands. We'll follow up with a shout out to Robert Henning, the director, please. Just has a passion for history, brings so much to his community, and he was someone that we continually connected with during the Pandemic, even before our podcast, just having conversations about where we were, because he is just so engaged and cares so much about the institution at large. And I remember when I met him and heard the name Rockpile Museum, I asked, is it a geological museum? And he said, no.         

00:29:23
             

And it just so eloquently spoke to the collection and the importance of it in the community, and I think we get that all across Wyoming. It's just so exciting to live in a place where there are so many dedicated museum professionals, because in all honesty, the profession does not pay what it could for being a protector of our culture, essentially. Thus those who are involved, it's because they love it so much and it means so much to them, and they can't imagine doing anything else but sharing culture with others in different formats. Art is just another vehicle to understand ourselves and our culture. And so I think that's really exciting.         

00:30:13
             

And we always find it fruitful to get together with our institutions across the state at the Wyoming Humanities Council of Museum Conference. And that is a way to get to know everyone from the Territorial Prison Museum to the Draper to Wildlife Museum in Jackson to the State Museum, our colleagues in Dubois. And it's just really rewarding to know these people who care so much about Wyoming. I have to completely echo that. Robert deserves all the praise always when it comes to that museum.         

00:30:51
             

I work with the museum on Main Street program to the Smithsonian, so we bring exhibits and things to Wyoming. And so I can echo the second half of what you were saying about all these great professionals throughout the state. It's a real privilege to be able to meet and work with these people because they do have a certain sort of personality trait that makes the museum run. Especially. A lot of these places are run by one or two people, so it's great.         

00:31:20
             

Well, it's interesting, too, that across our state we have museum professionals that also question our practices. Nicarl Crawford at the University of Wyoming Humanities Council has presented On Stealing Culture at the annual Wyoming Humanities Council here in Casper with a lawyer and someone who teaches law at the law school at UW. And it was really fascinating to recontextualize the idea of Indiana Jones where they open their presentation. Indiana Jones, famously in the story, takes the artifacts, saving them and putting them in a museum. This belongs in a museum.         

00:31:57
             

And they flip it on its head saying, wait a minute, that artifact came from a place, came from a culture, a culture that might revere it or it has some spiritual significance. And so what does that mean today? So there are a lot of professionals that are navigating this understanding of museum collections, what they mean to a community and what they've come to mean, maybe as they've been brought into an institution. But we need to explore, do they need to stay there or might they need to go back to that culture? So it was really amazing to have that presentation at the Wyoming Humanities Council and actually, the work that I was talking about earlier with poetry, that is based on the work of one of the English faculty and now dean of Wyoming Humanities Council here at Casper College, dr.         

00:32:51
             

Julia Wide. And she'll be speaking at the next Wyoming Humanities Council. So it's really great in these different contexts, from podcasts to humanities events, to hear about the role that these objects play in our culture, whether it's promoting something that brings us together or whether we have to ask some big questions about how we've brought museum collections together. That's about it. No talking about the role of museums in a Wyoming community.         

00:33:24
             

Museums serve a great function as a forum for community issues. Lucas, you brought. Up the idea, rightly, of museums serving as the institutional memory for a community. And I've seen some small towns in Wyoming that role might have been played by a branch library or something like that. And once the community falls below a certain threshold, that memory is lost, and you just see a sign as you drive past on the highway saying, Jeffrey City, population 15, for example.         

00:34:00
             

I grew up in Riverton, so I know Fremont County pretty well. But you see, one of the things that as we're moving forward is museums are not an institution by themselves. They are an organization that partners with many different entities within a community to facilitate programming, other learning opportunities. Community festivals going back to the rock pile, robert has reached out to us on occasion for different programs and activities. You look at museums, the Nicolais and Art Museum here in Casper, they do their Nick Fest every summer as a way of drawing the community together to experience art, culture, and other things firsthand.         

00:34:45
             

Museums are not maybe once upon a time, and even that it's probably an iffy museums could have operated by themselves in a vacuum. Now we're working with libraries. We're working with municipal, county, and state governments. We're working with other nonprofit organizations like the Wyoming Humanities Council to bring these programs together and leverage our action and our resources for a greater end. And I think that's, yeah, you could do a library might be able to do that, but they have a different mission.         

00:35:17
             

Their role is a lot different within the community than a museum is. We're a repository and a place to do things. We don't check out books and provide those kind of programs and community enrichment. So I think that's the next takeaway is that we are a community partner wherever we're at, and we're here to enrich not just our local community, but working within the state or within our regions of Wyoming. So before we end our podcast, I want John, I just want to give you a plug and tell us about Wyoming Humanities Council that you work for.         

00:36:00
             

I'm the director of museums for the Wyoming Humanities Council. We are a state agency. We're the agency that oversees the Wyoming Humanities Council and Air National Guard. Our museums are separate from state parks and cultural resources. We operate two different museums.         

00:36:15
             

My office is here in Casper at the Wyoming Humanities Council. We're located in a historic building on the grounds of the old World War II era casper Army Air Base. But we also have our sister institution. The other museum that I'm responsible for is the Wyoming Humanities Council, which is located in a historic guard warehouse building along Pershing Avenue in Cheyenne. So we are both state institutions, but we're in a different state agency.         

00:36:43
             

Thank you, and thank you, Valerie and John, for your time today, and Lucas and Chloe and I just want to end by first of all tell everybody how they can find the M files. You can find the M files on almost every major podcasting platform. Apple podcast spotify. You can also find us online. Just type in the M files.         

00:37:04
             

Podcast. You can find links to our Facebook page. We have a website that's attached to our publisher Buzzsprout. Wherever you find podcasts, you can just type in the m files and you'll be able to find us. Okay, excellent.         

00:37:20
             

Thank you for joining us today. Thank you. Thanks so much.         

00:37:29
             

Thank you for listening. I'm executive producer Emy DiGrappa. Winds of Change is brought to you by Wyoming Wyoming Humanities Council, our co hosts and all the people who generously share their stories and their time. For more information, go to thinkwise.org, subscribe and never miss a show.