Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Plaque: not just a dental issue!
We seem, as an industry to have plaque disease. Hence, this video, although in Hebrew, is very relevant to today’s discussion. When I was at Rollins College, one of the activities I undertook, with the help of my two work study students was to photograph and catalog in a searchable database every named space and plaque on campus. It took us an entire summer but was really worth it! We even transcribed the writing in case the plaque was lost. If I tried that here, I would need a small army and a decade.
You see, the thing about plaques is that they are often problematic. We seem to be obsessed with them though- take a look at this google search. Amazing eh? And how many of us have had nightmare stories where the plaque has been misspelled, or the portrait looked like a bad jailhouse tattoo. I’m the girl that when I visit any museum, hospital, university, I’m always looking at the plaques and walls to see if they’re as bad as mine! All of my vendor friends at companies that make plaques are going to groan over this, but other than for naming recognition, what purpose do plaques serve? Should we be guiding our donors and fundraisers into a different form of recognition and stewardship? Playing devil’s advocate, there exists the argument that plaques serve as a lasting legacy for the donor and the institution. Agreed, but is there a better way? I can’t tell you how many plaques I have seen “lost” or “misplaced” when renovations or office moves happen. There has to be a better way than trusting these expensive bronze weighty monuments to “Fred” from facilities.
Now, I’m not saying get rid of them altogether, what I am asking for is that we as professionals encourage those we work with to find other mediums in which to recognize and tell stories than mounted brass. I would love to hear your plaque stories, no dentist tales here please, and your thoughts on our “plaque problem”; is it time for a deep cleaning? Sorry, bad pun but I couldn’t help myself!