Some thoughts…

January 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment

Niki’s blog for the Leading Edge:

George is on a train somewhere in the northeast heading to or from an awesome historical research project that EVERYONE will hear about eventually but not today. So I thought that I’d blog in his place. My name is Niki Thrash and I am the Director of Institutional Advancement for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. I’ve been working for the Museum for about a year and a half and I have to tell you that this experience has been life changing. I don’t believe that I ever realized that history could have a very real impact on real issues in real time. I used to consider history as a slice of time, isolated and unique and I thought that a museum was a snap shot of a given aspect of that slice of time. I had always seen Museums as repositories…a building that would hold stuff for people to look at and remember a time gone by. I just didn’t get it. Then I started working for George.

George Wunderlich, NMCWM’s visionary Executive Director, has often said that if we study history for history’s sake, then it is no more than a hobby. But when we are able to engage a modern audience with historical perspectives, innovations and insights and help them to relate those innovations and insights directly to their life and world today, we are helping to change our community and our world for the better.

Now THAT makes sense to me! As a matter of fact, our museum’s management structure and processes are based on proven management innovations that were tested on the bloodiest single day in American History – the Battle of Antietam.

One of the most relevant lessons that history teaches us is the importance of clarity of mission. For this reason in the first quarter of this year, the Museum’s Board of Directors approved the following revision to the institution’s stated mission:
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is the premier center
for the preservation and research of the legacy of Civil War medical innovation.

This mission can only be achieved by the realization that the NMCWM is in fact a living institution that utilizes the history of Civil War medical innovations to inspire, engage and encourage. We inspire our society by connecting the lessons of the past with the challenges of our world today. We engage the broadest possible audience and partners and then encourage innovative and collaborative scholarship. It is education that is at the heart of our mission and it is important to note that we are very intentionally working to prepare present and future leaders of our world.

Now more than ever our world needs decisive and innovative leaders. We have seen a growing number of youth and those working with youth drawn to our historically-based leadership development programs. While we continue developing important relationships with our military partners, this past year the Letterman Institute was created as a new division of the Museum. Born of our work with military leadership development, the Letterman Institute has opened new opportunities for us to work with developing leaders. Our programs with civic, religious and educational organizations continue to grow at an exciting pace.

The NMCWM and the Letterman Institute are not only preserving artifacts and stories, we are “using the lessons of our past to build a better tomorrow. “ How awesome is that?


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“Be Prepared” I’m Back

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