I'm trying something a little different...I hate to say revolutionary, because I'll bet others are doing it...somewhere. But, I'm redefining our Acquisitions Committee. I'm building a group of professionals from around the county (our people...our public) to serve on the committee that initially discusses and approves (or doesn't) donations to the Museums various collections. (All final decisions are made by the Board of Directors.)
I've done a little bit of asking around, and most institutions' acquisitions committees seem to be comprised of staff and/or board members. Ours will be a little different. Oh, we'll still have staff-- the director and the curator serve on the committee. But, we're branching beyond this. I've contacted directors of libraries who have local history rooms and I've contacted the head of special collections at the local university.
I think that this will be a dynamic group of people who know collections and know local history. We already work together on an informal basis. When certain items come through our door and I know they would be better served at another institution, I check with them (and, of course, the donor). We're all here for the same purpose-- to collect, preserve, and present our history. We're all here to serve and be a resource to the public. Let's work together in a true and open way. Let's really work to provide what the public needs.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out the way I image it. Then, again, I'm horribly idealistic...and optimistic.