Yep, FOJ Friday is back!!! Let me introduce FOJ Ray Doswell. I met Ray a couple years back when he became a client of mine. He is the Vice President of Curatorial Services for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. And EVERYONE knows that baseball is my favorite sport!

Ray was born in St Louis and spent his formative years in East St Louis, Illinois. Teachers played a huge role in his early life, inspiring him to become an educator. This led to various degrees, including a doctorate in Education.

In case you haven't heard of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, it was founded in 1990 by a group of local baseball baseball historians, community members, business people, and former baseball players. It began as a small, grassroots organization and has blossomed into a major attraction for the city. The Museum preserves the history of African American baseball in general, with emphasis on the professional Negro Leagues that existed from 1920-1960. The Museum tells stories through multimedia exhibits, art, photographs, and artifacts. Ray has been involved since 1995.

His greatest challenge is staying ahead of everything. The museum world has to anticipate learning trends and audience needs 1-3 years ahead of time. Through his work, Ray has met some great folks. While he thinks that baseball fans are amazing, it brings him special joy to meet someone who is learning about the Negro Leagues for the first time, or someone who thought they knew all about baseball, and discovered, after visiting NLBM, that they didn't. He's even more satisfied who has no affinity for baseball, but reallly gets hooked on the history lessons that the Museum provides.

I asked Ray what advice he would give to someone looking to get into non-profit work. Here is his response--

"Anyone who has interest in working for a non-profit organization, especially service organizations and museum, must remember this; LEADERSHIP=SERVICE. You show leadership to your community and your family by the work that you do, which typically involves some level of service towards others. Most times, that work is not glamorous or financially rewarding, but it is so important to always keep the mission of your organization first and foremost in your mind. My work often keeps me away from the actually gallery space and visitors. So, when I need a reality check, I go down from the office to see how people react to what we have provided. I read the visitor’s log and see people from everywhere who appreciate what we have taught them. I get to talk to people of all ages about what they learned that day in the museum. It energizes me to go do the job better."

Ray encourages everyone to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and become members. It's truly a moving experience. While he wants us to support NLBM, he also thinks that it's important to support museums in your own communities who strive to preserve American history.

You can email him at rdoswell@nlbm.com. You can also friend the Museum on Facebook.



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