Story 06: The Big Move

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Sidebar-What We Lost Moving from Jamaica Plain

Written by Bill Mayhew

We lost the sense—even within the staff—of functioning like a family, largely due to the mass of work and the context in which we were now situated. It's hard to have the same mental framework when you're sitting in the middle of a warehouse as opposed to when you're sitting across the street from Jamaica Pond. The stress level went way up, and I think the rewards of working at the museum went way down. I remember in the early years I worked seven days a week and it was no skin off my back whatsoever. It was completely natural. After we got downtown and through the charrette of getting into the building, the emotional high of the grand opening and settled into day-to-day operations, things began to change. I lost the sense of commitment to a mission that we once had. In December of 1980, three of us left at the same time. The museum had a wonderful going-away party for us, and I still have the souvenir book from that event. This is one of my heirlooms.

—MIT dropout and technology pioneer Bill Mayhew created the museum's "management by spreadsheet," an innovative project management system that enabled individual departments to lead their own teams.

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