2017 Conference Highlights

We had such a blast in Des Moines! AMM and IMA were thrilled at the turn out – over 300 professionals from Iowa and the Midwest! We thank you for joining us for all the truly fun, educational, and inspiring moments, and hope you are as excited as we are to take what you learned back into your communities!

This year’s conference was full of surprises, the biggest being Des Moines. We frequently heard statements along the lines of “Never thought I’d say this, but I love Des Moines”, and we couldn’t agree more. Iowa is full of amazing places, and more importantly, amazing people. We were thrilled to start the conference off right with Flash Talks featuring Iowans. What a treasure trove of inspiring, hard-working people!

A last minute addition, Lt. Governor Adam Gregg joined us before Friday’s Keynote. We all learned that Lt. Governor Gregg is a big proponent for museums and a huge history buff. He shared stories from his hometown and from his experience working on an oral history project during college. 

Following Lt. Governor Gregg’s speech, keynote speaker and modern day monuments woman, Corine Wegener took the stage. Corine inspired everyone by sharing the work she does advocating for international cultural heritage by training communities all over the world how to care for their cultural treasures after disasters.

Not all surprises are good ones though, and we were disappointed to not be able to share our 90th Anniversary video with everyone during the Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon due to some unfortunate technical difficulties. Luckily, the amazing folks at the Science Center of Iowa came through for us, and we were able to share our video during the #MidwestisBest event, making it that much more special. There were even delicious desserts to enjoy while watching, which was just icing on the cake…or cake pops in this case.

We spent the rest of the evening playing in the science center-watching bubbles catch fire, making and shooting paper rockets, milking Friendly the Cow. And this was the second museum of the evening. The night started at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, with the smooth musical stylings of Quartet 515 and a tour of the vault, which included learning all about the famous Red Cross Rooster “Jack Pershing”, which just so happens to call the historical museum home.


We were incredibly excited to see a theme emerge organically around one of our very talented Flash Talk speakers, Jordan Weber-an artist and activist from Iowa. CEOs and directors got to view Jordan’s work on the art bus to the CEOs breakfast. We learned all about Jordan and his work in the community at his flash talk presentation. We also learned that he had an art gallery opening that evening, and many of the conference attendees joined Jordan for it. 

Jamie Glavic’s speech hit home with our dedicated social media superstars who raved about her on Twitter. Jamie was presented with the Promising Leadership Award for her work at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, her blog Museum Minute, and her passion as a museum enthusiast/purveyor of knowledge. Jamie presented us with a call to action to create positive changes in the field even when it isn’t easy.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” -Jamie Glavic


To top it all off, we were more than excited to team up with RAYGUN for this year’s conference. As one of our spectacular Flash Talk speakers, head designer at RAYGUN, Jen Leatherby, provided some insight into both the company’s process and cheeky humor, but also how they give back to their community. And we had a hit on our hands with the t-shirts RAYGUN created for us. If you didn’t get yours, we promise there will be a way to order one…stay tuned on that.

(In the meantime, enjoy this gratuitous shot of our Conference Coordinator enjoying her “Museum Work: Just Another Get-Poor-Quick Scheme”.)