Catch up on AMM 2016 Remarks and Presentations

While it is no substitute for the “live versions,” we hope you enjoy reading through some of the remarks and speeches from general sessions during AMM 2016. We have posted what we have received and will share more as we get them. Stay tuned!

Remarks in Alphabetical Order

Annual Meeting Opening Remarks by Melanie Adams, president, AMM Board of Directors

Good Morning and welcome to the Association of Midwest Museums Annual Meeting. Before we commence with business I would like to say a few words about the past year. In the last year our country has experienced continued turmoil, grief, and unrest over the violence that has taken over many of our communities. When Ferguson happened in 2014 I made the dire prediction that it was only a matter of time before it happened again and again and again. Unfortunately I was proven right.

Whether the victims are African Americans or Civil Servants in Blue, the violence affects us all in a way that we are slowly beginning to understand. Over the past few weeks I’ve had museum professionals ask what they can do in their community during these times. While they may not be in Dallas, Baton Rouge, or Minneapolis, they recognize the importance of engaging the community before it is in turmoil.

For the past three days we have come together to learn the best practices in museum education, conservation, operations, and visitor engagement. I dare say the most important thing I hope you have learned at this conference is the importance of getting to know and depend upon your fellow museum colleagues. These are the people you will call when you need advice, resources, or just someone to process the unimaginable happening in your city.

As you leave the conference today I hope you will think about how your museum can play a role in helping our nation begin to address our social ills while healing our collective pain.


Director’s Breakfast Keynote Presentation by Ford W. Bell, former president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums

Excerpt: When I was in Washington, a member of Congress said to me, “Museums are great, arts and culture is great, but we just have so many other priorities.” Of course, that is a ridiculous statement. We have no greater priority than the ability to develop the creative, inquisitive, multidimensional minds that will help our country compete, and succeed, in the 21st century.


Click to Download the Full PDF: Directors Breakfast Keynote Presentation by Ford W Bell


Annual Meeting Director’s Report by Charity M. Counts, executive director, AMM

Before I begin, I would like to thank our conference co-chairs, Bruce Karstadt from the American Swedish Institute and Lin Nelson-Mayson from the Goldstein Museum at University of Minnesota as well as our conference co-hosts, the Minnesota Association of Museums. This conference has been amazing! Thank you for all of your effort to recruit speakers and host museums and get the word out. 

The Association of Midwest Museums has undergone some changes in the past year and it is my pleasure as the new executive director to share what we have been working on. In 2015, we began the process of rebranding for AMM led by Donna Sack. (Donna, thank you for all that you have done to build relationships and spearhead the development of a beautiful, fun identity for AMM!)

In addition, we have begun the process of redeveloping our website. We hope to launch the new website in the fall as we roll out our new graphic look. These changes support and convey the vision the Board and I have for the Association, including our desire to support and collaborate with associations and museums located in our 8 states, advocate for federal funding, and identify new and affordable professional development opportunities.

I don’t know if you know this, but our organization will turn 90 in 2017 and I don’t plan to let this “diamond anniversary” pass without finding opportunities for all of us to celebrate, state to state, leading up to the summer conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference will celebrate the strong roots of museums in our region and their positive impact on children and adults in their communities. We are going to celebrate YOU, your history, and our region’s collective history. So stay tuned – we hope you will get involved!

Lastly, I would like to emphasize that I am sincerely interested in learning about you, your organizations, your needs and interests, and your perceptions of AMM. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.

Ember Farber, director of advocacy at the American Alliance of Museums shared resources and tools for advocacy on a budget (including social media).

Advocacy and Social Media Presentation by Ember Farber, AAM


The On-Demand Museum by Keynote Thomas Fisher, Director of the Metropolitan Design Center, University of Minnesota

Excerpt: And yet, for all of the change that the new economy will bring to museums, it also brings us back to some of the oldest and most basic roles of these institutions. Museums have long played a critically important role in stimulating new ideas and in prompting people to see themselves and their world differently, and if we think about that as what we really are here to do, it frees us from the ways our predecessors have carried out that mission. Placing works on the wall or in vitrines on the floor is just one of many ways to stimulate new ideas and to prompt reflection, and in the digital age, there are so many more ways to do this that we should not limit ourselves to pre-digital formats.

Click to Download the Full PDF: The On-Demand Museum by Keynote Thomas Fisher