Growing Our Community


Today’s session – Generation X: How Soon Is Now – at the California Association of Museums annual conference was a standing-room-only affair. We probably crammed close to 100 mostly GenX-ers into a room at the Napa Valley Marriott – as I joked, probably all of the GenXers at the conference were in the room!

Our presentations ran the gamut from personal stories about growing up as latch-key kids to introductions to 19 international museum leaders (who happen to be GenX) to career advice to look for institutional needs and match them with your own strengths. 

As at our original session at AAM in 2012, we struck a nerve. The Q&A following the presentations went on well past the official end of the session – until finally I “pulled the plug” at 11:30. 

Hopefully some of you reading this were at the session – we’d love to know what you though. Tell us in the comments – or if you have a lot to say, become a blog contributor! Email me jennifer at caleshu dot com and I’ll be happy to invite you.


We’re baaaaaack….

It’s been almost two years since we started this movement and community, and the Gen X Museum gang is back together again – this time for the California Association of Museum‘s annual conference in lovely Napa, California.

Join me and this diverse group of museum GenXers for our session: Generation X: How Soon Is Now from 10 – 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 6:

  • Jennifer Caleshu, Director of Earned Revenue, Bay Area Discovery Museum;
  • James Leventhal, Deputy Director for Development, Contemporary Jewish Museum;
  • Amparo Leyman Pino, museum consultant;
  • Renee Donmon, Membership Director, Charles M. Schulz Museum;
  • Salvador Acevedo, Principal & President, Contemporánea;
  • Jada Hansen, Executive Director, Hennepin History Museum;
  • Michael Wall, Vice President of Research and Public Programs, San Diego Natural History Museum;
  • Paloma Patterson, Museum Staff for Development and Administration, Mendocino County Museum
Gain a wide perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing Generation X and reflect on your own leadership practice as we fly through our presentations pecha kucha style – 20 slides each for 20 seconds per slide. We’ll have a rockin’ soundtrack and plenty of time for our open mic. 

GenX Museum Staff – What are your stories?

Join our Pecha Kucha during the 2014 California Association of Museums Conference in Napa, March 5 – 7. To apply, send up to 100 words on what you’d want to present about to by August 10 and we’ll select a diverse array of voices to share their stories.

Generation X – How Soon Is Now? Nine presenters with 20 slides each and just 20 seconds per slide will share their Gen X leadership stories of museum life sandwiched between the much larger cohorts of Baby Boomers and Generation Y. We are no longer “emerging museum professionals” – so now what? As the response to our 2012 AAM session makes clear, this is a generation that hasn’t been heard. Generation X (born early 1960’s to early 1980’s) is squeezed between two much larger generational cohorts: Baby Boomers who won’t (or can’t) retire and their Generation Y children who are moving up the professional ladder. We are no longer “emerging museum professionals” – but are we in charge? The pecha kucha format will allow for a diverse series of voices to highlight the opportunities and challenges we face, and to build a community so that we won’t feel so alone stuck in the middle.

NEW DATE: Meetup for Drinking About Museums: Friday June 8

Alight, so life as a multi-tasking, juggling GenXer gets a little complicated. I’m the teaching assistant for an MBA class at University of Berkeley Haas School of Business, and I have class on Thursday nights!

New date for #DrinkingAboutMuseums: Friday, June 8.

So, if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you’d like to come hang out and talk social media or GenX or museums or anything like that, please join me on Friday, June 8 at 4 p.m. at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. We’ll take an after-hours tour, check out our new Patrick Dougherty willow sculpture, then head over to the Presidio Yacht Club for a tasty beverage or two with a view (don’t worry – it’s more dive bar than yacht club).

Let me know @ZeitgeistMama if you’re planning on coming so I can meet you – the Museum closes at 4pm so this is a private tour!

A GenXSays Tribute to MCA / The Beastie Boys / Adam Yauch

Paige Dansinger says:

Let’s make a Beastie Boys tribute like you did the GenX “mixed-tape” .. Wonder if we are feeling collectively blue… Maybe each send in a favorite song Jen?

Netty’s Girl: Oh Georgie Girl you are the one… You really got your shit together o o o Georgie Girl you are so fine…
I named my best-ever dog Georgie Girl. She was a mastiff-lab and certainly saved my life a few times.. Georgie Girl was a real good dog. She was the one and her shit was together..

James Leventhal says:

I tried to think up a Beastie Boys song that means the most to me and what resonates is Brass Monkey.  Wait: Shake Your Rump…I mean, Sabotage.  And, y’know, so I took a moment to try and look up some lyrics to quote and a I realized a barely know a word.  Maybe like REM’s Murmur, it’s all about the feel.  The deep feeling.  It is all about creating a new sound for a now sound.  And where REM might have been a brilliant amalgam of several threads of mountain sounds of Appalachia, the Beastie Boys felt the concrete.  These are songs that make me feel greater than I am, transcendent.  Or, y’know what?  How about you just play all of Paul’s Boutique and let it roll…aw, man, take me back to 1989.  And this ain’t no joke.  This is about life and death, y’all. “If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a musical masterpiece. But if you can hear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least. What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk. True feelings are shown from the way that I talk. And this is me, y’all-I M.C., Y’all my name is M.C.A. and I still do what I please…”

Jennifer Caleshu says:

no sleep till brooklynI didn’t know I knew the Beasties so well until MCA died. Then I went back and realized I could quote verbatim all the lyrics on Licensed to Ill. And since I was 10 when it came out, it must have been through osmosis – I certainly didn’t buy the album when it was released (In 1987 I admit to Tiffany, Whitney Houston, Debbie Gibson and Belinda Carlisle!) But I went to an amazing summer camp (Four Winds Westward Ho) where the super-creative counselors came up with a skit called The Craftos singing “She’s Crafty“. And later I remember the senior boys singing “Candy! All I really want is candy! In the morning it’s candy! Cause in the evening it’s candy!” instead of “Girls!” And this kind of pop culture osmosis continued – of course through Sabotage (one of the best music videos ever) to inkjet printing a tshirt in 2005 for my newborn son that said “No Sleep Till Brooklyn!”

Jason B. Jones says:

The wackiness and creativity of the Beastie Boys always kept me enthralled. Especially the “incident” at 1994 MTV Video Music Awards – where Adam Yauch’s “uncle”, Nathaniel Hornblower, stormed onstage during the presentation of the Best Direction in a Video award (Sabotage had just lost):

Awesome. Afterward, Adam Yauch was apologetic . Stage storming rules, though – and it even happened in the GenX session at AAM. Wackiness and creativity abounded in their videos, too. Sabotage for one. Body Movin for another, and one of my faves. Enjoy!

Adrianne Russell says:

Three MC’s and One DJ:

An essential, no-frills, hip hop love letter.

Amparo Leyman says:

In my case the BB gave me, inherit the anthem:
you’ve got to fight for your right to party“, again the treasure to work to live…what a blessing…believe me, I fight a lot to got my right to party….
Sent from a club partying at the Bay Area

Has Youth Culture Really Changed Much Since the 80’s?

love this infographic about pop culture changes. fascinating differences between kids those days and kids these days!

Here and There...

Whenever teens and adults talk about culture, you’ll undoubtedly hear the phrase “back in the day” or “when I was a teenager.”  Today’s youth can sometimes think they’re in a foreign world that no one knows anything about, and our ‘retro’ teens often feel they’re the only ones that lived through truly coming-of-age times.  Both generations grew up around some cool innovations and advancements, as well as endured some of the darker days of their generations.  Neither seems all too aware that there’s many more dots to connect between their respective teen years than they would think, and both often think the other doesn’t have a clue!

They may be right, at times, but is today’s Millennials and generation Z really so far unplugged from the teen Gen X‘ers of the 80’s?  Is there really such a deep chasm between the pressures, anxieties and conflicts teens faced…

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