Looking back over your career, is there anything you would significantly change?
Doug’s interview by American Alliance of Museums Re: his career & the future of museums.
Betty Brewer invited Douglass McDonald to look back on his career as he retired from the Cincinnati Museum Center. Having significant accomplishments from his years in the field, she also asked him to project what we can expect for the future of museums.
Brewer question, I know you have loved your “job” and though retired, you’re still consulting. Still, looking back over your career, is there anything you would significantly change? Or is this one of those questions you hate?
I wish I had figured out how to live a balanced life but I always gave 100% to my work. In some respects I believe what we do is so very important that we must give all we can; when I began at Cincinnati Museum Center its very survival was uncertain—so many of us gave 100%.
While balanced lives are sensible, I also am thankful for those who are not balanced. Steve Jobs may be one of the greatest CEOs and innovators of the past quarter century; he changed the way we work, how we play, and how we learn. He is universally applauded yet he had his critics. He was harsh in his criticism of mediocrity; some saw him as an egomaniac and others, as a control freak.
So, what would I change? I believe museums change communities; they teach, they change people’s lives. They are vital to the human spirit. Thus, knowing that great achievements require great sacrifices, I wouldn’t change a thing!