Issue 6-7-15 Website - page 11

FordBell -- ItWasWorthWaitingEightYears –
WelcomeToThe Jell-OMuseum
Today I was sitting in the li-
brary talkingwithGeorgeHenry
and his wife, and Terry came in
andgaveme a business card and
said “This man is here to see
you.” I think Isaidsomething like
–“You’vegot tobekidding. Ford
Bell is here?” and I ran out into
thehall. Sureenough itwasFord
Bell! I don’t suspect anyone in
he is, but in the museumworld,
Ford Bell is “the man.” He is
the President of the Alliance of
AmericanMuseums - - AAM in
Washington, D.C.
Eight years ago, I was at the
AAM annual meeting in Chica-
go, representing the Association
of Living History, Farms and
Agricultural Museums. I had to
attend the Council of Affiliates
meeting, which includes the
organizations - - art museums,
zoos, science museums, history
museums, botanical gardens,
railroad museums, and museum
volunteer organizations.
In the evening, hundreds of
AAM members boarded buses
for toursofmuseums inChicago.
I boarded abus, and as I climbed
aboard, this man stuck out his
hand and said, “Hi, I’m Ford
Bell. I’m the new president of
AAM.” “Glad tomeet you. I’m
Lynne Belluscio – the Director
of the Jell-OMuseum inLeRoy,
NewYork.And, if you’reever in
WesternNewYork, I hopeyou’ll
stop to see the Jell-OMuseum.”
“I surewill.Mywife’s family is
from that part of the state.”
I have to be honest, AAM, in
my mind, had always been an
association for the “big guys” -
- - theSmithsonian, theGetty, the
Met.Theywere themuseums that
carried the clout inWashington.
Even by AAM’s definition the
Jell-OGallerybarelyfits into the
category of a “small museum.”
ButFordBell came toAAMwith
a vision and an appreciation for
all museums, big and small. He
understood the importance and
contributions thatmuseumswere
making. I watched asAAM, un-
derhisguidance,grew toembrace
all of us.
Twoyears agohedidan inter-
viewwithCNN and commented
on the status of museums in the
United States. The statistics are
overwhelming: “Museums invest
more than$2billion ineducation
programseachyear.Museums in
this country welcome some 90
millionschool childreneachyear
. . . thesefield tripsareextensions
of the classroom. Museums are
also economic engines for com-
munities large and small. One
statistic I never tire of citing has
beencitedby theU.S.Conference
of Mayors. They say that, for
every$1amunicipality invests in
cultural organizations, including
museums, $7 are returned to the
public coffers. That’s a return
that wouldmakeWarrenBuffett
swoon.” But the importance of
museums went far beyond the
financial impact and Ford Bell
understood that too.
Iwas elated to see that he had
agreed tobe thekeynote speaker
at the Museum Association of
NewYork’s meeting in Corning
last month. I knew that his pre-
sentationwouldbe insightful and
profound. I planned on meeting
him and inviting him to LeRoy
againbut couldonlyget away for
one day and reluctantly decided
not toattend thedayhewas there.
So it was astounding today that
he said to me, “Hey, I thought
I might see you in Corning,”
And I had to apologize. “I really
wanted to be there, but I was in
themiddle of school programs.”
It has been announced that
FordBell has retired fromAAM.
Yesterdaywashis last dayon the
job, and today - - his first day of
retirement, he came to the Jell-O
Museum - - just for the fun of it.
I am going to miss knowing
that “my friend Ford Bell” isn’t
inWashington advocating for all
of us - - big and small. I knowhe
is heading home to Minnesota,
where his grandfather founded
General Mills. Where Ford fol-
lowed in the family tradition of
public service. He was a teacher
and holds a Doctorate of Veteri-
naryMedicine. He servedon the
advisoryboardof theMuseumof
Natural History at theUniversity
ofMinnesota.He serves as chair-
manof the JamesFordBellFoun-
dationandhasbeena trusteeof the
Minneapolis Institute ofArts. He
has also served as President and
CEO of the Minneapolis Heart
Institute Foundation. He was a
candidate for the Senate in 2006.
As a board member of the
Greater Minneapolis Council
of Churches, he helped build a
center for families fromWest
Africa inneedof job trainingand
housing. “Mr.Bell’smanypublic
service endeavors underscore
his commitment to developing
organizations and strengthening
Sometimes when you least
expect it, something or some-
one comes into your life that
gives you a kick start. No doubt
about it, todaywas one of those
LeRoyHistorical Society
Chicken 'nRibs
Sunday, June 14th
onTrigonPark, LeRoy
11:00 amTil SoldOut!
BBQ 1/2CHICKEN - $10.00 • BBQ 1/4CHICKEN&RIBS - $12.00
w/salt potatoes & cole slaw, roll, cookies
Carry Out Only
"DriveThrough" OnTrigon Park
1...,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20
Powered by FlippingBook