Sessions, Museums Evolving 2.0


This year’s sessions will be pre-recorded and made available 3-4 weeks in advance of the live conference and up to 3 months after for learning at your own pace. Our curated tracks will help you identify sessions most relevant to you. Tracks for this year include:

  • Collections Stewardship
  • Community Engagement & Partnerships
  • Education & Programs
  • Fundraising & Finance
  • In-Gallery & Virtual Exhibitions
  • Leadership, Management, & Equity
  • Marketing & Digital Media

More sessions will be added following the 2021 Call for Session Proposals.


Collections Stewardship


Ask the Registrar, Get Help on the Evolving Expectations in Working with Your Collection 

Here’s your chance to get other collections professionals to talk about possible solutions to your collections’ conundrums. In the prerecorded portion, panelists will introduce themselves and offer advice on some common conundrums. During the Q&A, bring your conundrums, problems, and issues to discuss with the panelists and fellow attendees.

Session Chair: Linda Endersby, Museum of Art & Archaeology, University of Missouri

Presenters: Christy Kincaid, Air Zoo; Leslie Ory Lewellen, Minneapolis Institute of Art; Brittany R. Williams, Kalamazoo Valley Museum; and Sarah Humes, Grand Rapids Public Museum


Big Projects in Small Museums: Case Studies on Adaptability and Creativity when the Pressure is on

We are small but mighty! Join us to see how a few small museums planned for, funded, and implemented projects with limited staff and take home some practical tricks and tools to make it happen.

Session Chair: Carrie Eaton, University of Wisconsin Geology Museum

Session Presenters: Craig Brabant, University of Wisconsin Department of Entomology, Wisconsin Insect Research Collection; Elizabeth Leith, University of Wisconsin Department of Anthropology


Doing More With Less: Environmental Monitoring During and After the Pandemic

The pandemic made it difficult to care for the objects in our collections. With staff reductions and not being physically on-site, environmental monitoring became particularly difficult. Museums that invested in modern, remote monitoring equipment weathered the pandemic better and set themselves up for success in our new post-pandemic world. Come learn how Conserv is supporting museum efforts to maintain and improve collections care in a world where we’re all trying to do more with less.

Session Chair: Austin Senseman, Conserv


Implementing NAGPRA in an Evolving Museum Field

Is the museum field fulfilling its obligations to Tribal Nations and meeting its responsibilities under NAGPRA? Join us for an introduction to the requirements of NAGPRA and learn about the resources available to help you get started or overcome obstacles to implementing NAGPRA.

Session Chair: Anne Amati, University of Denver Museum of Anthropology

Session Presenters: Jayne-Leigh Thomas, Indiana University Bloomington; Krystiana Krupa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


LED Exposure & Technology Update 

LEDs are all the rave for energy efficiency, color, and control, but is it still the wild west when looking at products? Do I still need to worry about exposure time with LEDs? How do I control exposure time? This lecture will answer all these questions and more.

Session Chair: Avraham Mor, Morlights

Session Presenters: Thatcher Waller, Morlights; Alvaro Amat, The Field Museum


Reclaiming Histories for the Future: A Cross-Cultural Dialogue

The experiences of three museum professionals from Kenya, Germany and the UK examines different approaches to tackle colonial heritage and explore new participatory museum formats. Their projects strive to include and encourage communities to take ownership and shape their futures around the historical sites and collections they curate.

Session Chair: Xenia Gleissner, Mahalli Research Ltd.

Session Presenters: Vandana Patel, Museum of London; Markus Himmelsbach, Lindenmuseum, Stuttgart/Germany; Njeri Gachihi, National Museums of Kenya


Yet Another Digital Project? What Community Needs Can Bring to a Tired Topic 

As digital projects have become increasingly common, how can we sustainably evolve our online collection experiences? This panel will consider how responding to user needs can create digital collection projects that maximize limited resources. Each case study will have a different perspective: collection content, knowledge infrastructure, and GLAM collaboration.

Session Chair: Mikala Narlock, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame

Session Presenters: Hanna Bertoldi, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame; Amanda H. Brown, Milwaukee Art Museum; Dustin DuPree, Milwaukee Art Museum; and Madeleine Wieand, New Orleans Museum of Art


Community Engagement & Partnerships


Access and Assets: Support Communities to End the Digital Divide

Building networks of support in under-resourced communities is key in bridging the digital divide. Cincinnati Museum Center and the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library will discuss techniques to foster community connections, how to create community asset maps, and approaches to connect with schools and seniors through various communication platforms.

Session Chair: Tony Lawson, Cincinnati Museum Center

Session Presenters: Claire Pollock, Cincinnati Museum Center; Maggie Killman, Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library


The Arab American National Museum: Elevating Community Voices Through Responsive Programming

Explore, converse, and dialogue with the Arab American National Museum as its staff share their experiences and stories about the communities they serve/represent, all while navigating through community tensions and politics in a post-September 11th America.

Session Chair: David Serio, Arab American National Museum


From Community Anchor to Community Catalyst: How Asset-Based Community Development Reshapes the Role that Museums Play In Their Communities

By looking through an Asset-Based Community Development lens, Milwaukee’s Haggerty Museum of Art and its local partners shifted their views of each other, and of the Museum’s role in the community. Hear their experiences in transitioning from project to relationship-based collaboration through truly community-driven work.

Session Chair: Christine Fleming, Haggerty Museum of Art

Session Presenters: Kelly Moore Brands, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers; Kate Morgan, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District; Mollie Oblinger, Ripon College; Deb Wisniewski, ABCD Institute


Museums on the Move: Building an Outreach Program at the Milwaukee Public Museum 

In 2017, the Milwaukee Public Museum launched a new outreach initiative, bringing museum programming to schools and other locations throughout the state of Wisconsin. In 2019, the program served over 16,000 individuals. This session will discuss lessons learned surrounding resource allocation, infrastructure, and programming content.

Session Presenters: Maisie Buntin, Milwaukee Public Museum; Meghan Schopp, Milwaukee Public Museum; Erica Kelly, Milwaukee Public Museum; Shanna Hillard, Milwaukee Public Museum


Reflecting a Heritage, Building a Legacy

“Reflecting a Heritage, Building a Legacy” will explore strategies for activities and programs that reflect Chinese American heritage while building a legacy that future generations can be proud to call their own.

Session Chair: Edward Jung, Chinese American Museum of Chicago

Session Presenter: Mabel Menard, Chinese American Museum of Chicago


Thinking Beyond Demographics at the Hoard Historical Museum, Fort Atkinson, WI: A Case-Study in Revitalized Community Outreach

Want to revamp your community outreach initiatives and not certain where to start? Want to expand your museum’s stakeholders? Concerned about cost or staff time? Join Merrilee Lee and Dana Bertelsen as they share what worked for the Hoard Historical Museum in Fort Atkinson, WI.

Session Presenters: Merrilee Lee, Hoard Museum & Dana Bertelsen, Hoard Museum


Welcoming People with Autism: A Brief Summary of Best Practices and Emerging Strategies

About 1 in 45 people in the U.S. have autism, however, museums are only recently beginning to serve this audience. This session will begin by defining what autism is, in the words of someone who experiences it every day. It will also provide a summary of what is currently being done in the field to aid visitors with autism, as well as where the field is headed.

Session Chair: Ross Edelstein, Indiana University Special Education


Education & Programs


Evolution of Youth Programming: Fostering Meaningful Connections and Expanding Audiences 

This session will demonstrate how getting out of our subject matter comfort zone and using lots of creativity we rethought our youth programming, using our week-long summer camps as a case study. Through failures and successes, learn how we utilized a small staff to increase youth engagement and revenue.

Session Presenters:  Nick Ostrem, Wisconsin Historical Museum; Mallory Zink, National Park Service – Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program; Ellie Antoniewicz, Wisconsin Historical Museum


Indigenize Your Museum Education Programs

Indigenize! Create more diverse programming in your museum and learn how to build lasting relationships in the Native communities that surround you.

Session Presenters: Heather Bruegl, Stockbridge Munsee Community; Jennifer Edginton, Kenosha Public Museums; David O’Connor, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction


Seeing Ourselves in the Galleries: Broadening Perspectives on Museum Objects

Join educators from the Milwaukee Art Museum in a lively round table discussion to rethink and expand the perspectives and narratives around traditionally Euro- and Anglo-centric museum objects to foster more personal connections with increasingly diverse audiences.

Session Chair: Brett Henzig, Milwaukee Art Museum

Session Presenters: Sarah Ozurumba, Milwaukee Art Museum


Supporting Learning in Museum Makerspaces

This workshop will engage participants in using two professional learning tools for museum professionals working in makerspaces. The tools support collegial conversations to clarify the purpose of the makerspace, reflect on the components of a planned or current makerspace and ultimately develop a common language for learning for their makerspace.

Session Chair: Peter Wardrip, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session Presenters: Bill Pariso, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum; Mike Cook, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum


Then to Now: Accessibility Programs Evolving

Gain a sense of how accessibility programs have evolved at The Henry Ford for people who are blind/have low vision, on the autism spectrum, and living with dementia. The Accessibility Specialist and a Curator will share insights into planning and delivering the programs, which are applicable across museums.

Session Chair: Caroline Braden, The Henry Ford 

Session Presenters: Donna Braden, The Henry Ford


Virtual K12 Programs: The Nuts and Bolts of Engagement

Can virtual school programs be as engaging and interactive as in-person programs? We’ll discuss specific tips to elevate virtual programs beyond sharing a slideshow. Including low-cost technology such as Zoom, Kahoot, and Pear Deck as well as engaging facilitation techniques to keep young, often Zoom-fatigued, learners engaged!

Session Chair: Nick Ostrem, Wisconsin Historical Museum

Session Presenters: Matthew Beyer, State Historical Society of Iowa


Fundraising & Finance


Financial Planning in Uncertain Times

How should museum leaders respond to challenges and crises, and adapt to ever-changing circumstances? This session will focus on scenario planning as a means of navigating shifting environments and creating flexible budgets that are aligned to an institution’s long-term strategic plans. By discussing scenario planning as both an innovative, structured process of storytelling and a more traditional consideration of best-, worst-, and medium-case revenue projections, we intend to provide museum leaders with increased options for confronting uncertain times, both now and in the future.

Session chair: Jim Croft, JW Croft Consulting Group, Chicago, IL


Hope During a Pandemic: Cross-Museum Collaborative Models

During the pandemic, Milwaukee County Historical Society worked with the Pabst Mansion to get them back on track after some serious setbacks. MCHS organized a task force under their executive director and have addressed issues ranging from electrical projects to collections to programming to sales. This arrangement has benefitted both organizations. The Pabst Mansion has reopened and is seeing a huge uptick in revenue through tours, gift shops sales, and the new beer garden. At the same time, MCHS was able to keep people fully employed during the pandemic by supplementing their hours with Pabst Mansion work.

Session Chair: Ben Barbera, Milwaukee County Historical Society

Session Presenters: Mame McCully, Milwaukee County Historical Society; TBD, Pabst Mansion


Managing Cyber Risk: Prevention, Response, Recovery, and Cyber Risk Transfer 

Are you prepared for a cyber attack? Join us for a panel discussion on cyber exposures and how to protect yourself against cyber threats. Our panel of experts in IT, Legal, and Insurance will answer questions and provide best practices for protecting your museum assets from digital threats.

Session Chair: Eric Dougal, HUB International

Presenters: Isaac Monson and Brian J. Schnese, HUB International


Museum Public Funding Strategies in the Post-COVID Era: Community-Centric Partnerships and Servant Learning Opportunities

During the pandemic, public funding has provided critical support for museums throughout the nation and redefined how public leaders view museums.  Museums have stepped up to serve by using their unique super powers to build partnerships and help to bridge the “COVID-Canyon” educational gap.  This session will examine key strategies you can deploy as a museum with your public leaders as partners.  It will also showcase a case study of museum collaboration – the Learning Lunchbox initiative at COSI, Columbus – and Servant Learning theory to demonstrate opportunities to amplify the powers of museum programs. Together, we can use our power of partnerships to assemble and solve community challenges.

Session chair: Stephen M. White, Esq., Center of Science and Industry (COSI), Columbus, OH


In-Gallery & Virtual Exhibitions


Accessible by Design

With thoughtful planning, one can create engaging exhibits designed for multi-generational, multisensory-attuned, and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences.

Session Chair: Chris Evans, Drumminhands Design

Session Presenters: Jesse Heinzen, Minnesota Historical Society


Capturing A Movement: A Curatorial Response

Capturing A Movement: A Curatorial Response explores collecting artifacts and stories in the moment while building community and partnership in the process.

Session Chair: Kisha Tandy, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

Session Presenters: Mark Ruschman, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites; Katherine Gould, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites


The Evolving Museum of Conscience: Exhibitions for Social Justice 

As we move into 2020, more museums are evolving into sites of social justice. Elena Gonzales shares highlights from her new book “Exhibitions for Social Justice” of innovative curatorial work and best practices for catalyzing social change. She will be joined by representatives from museums featured in the publication.

Session Chair: Jennifer Scott, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Session Presenters: Elena Gonzales, Independent Scholar/Author; Cesáreo Moreno, National Museum of Mexican Art; Kelley Szany, The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center


Learning to Hear Native Voices: 3 Native Art Exhibit Case Studies from a Native Perspective

Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida) discusses the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities involved in exhibiting contemporary Native American Art in mainstream institutions. Illustrated with photographs of three recent exhibitions, supported with artists’ statements, and told from an insider’s viewpoint, Karen Ann will discuss details of three contemporary Native American art exhibits.

Session Chair: Karen Ann Hoffman, Raised Beadwork Artist, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin


Small Museum, Big Impact: How investing in a core exhibit can transform your local history museum 

Looking for ideas to make your museum more interactive and appealing to visitors of all ages? Monroe County Local History Room & Museum staff will discuss the development and design of their AASLH award-winning exhibit that has dramatically changed public perception of what a small county history museum can offer.

Session Chair: Jarrod Roll, Monroe County Local History Room & Museum

Session Presenters:  Hannah Scholze, Monroe County Local History Room & Museum


Telling The Tough Stories: Strategies For Sharing The Human Story Of Holocaust Transit

Railroading is the story of us—our hopes, our interconnectedness, and innovation. But our story is complicated, and railroads played a role in discrimination and persecution of vulnerable groups. Looking to a new exhibit at the National Railroad Museum, “Railroads and the Holocaust,” this session will discuss why museums should not shy away from telling the tough stories, and how museums can lead their communities in proactively addressing injustice and inequality, all while fulfilling their mission.

Session Chair: Bob Lettenberger, National Railroad Museum

Session Presenters: Isaac Vineburg, Holocaust Memorial Center


Toolkit of Common Materials; Visual Strategies for Exhibiting Textiles

Whether curating an entire fiber art exhibition or including just one textile work, this presentation will impart practical advice for displaying fiber art in museums. Utilizing examples from the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts’s exhibitions, we will share accessible, and budget-friendly, display techniques for showing fiber.

Session Chair: Devyn McIlraith, Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts

Session Presenters: Jamie Henry, Missouri State Museum


Leadership, Management, & Equity


Building Diverse Boards: Recruit, Engage & Empower the Best Leaders for your Museum’s Board

In this session, learn how your trustees and staff can find and secure strong, diverse leaders and keep them engaged as board members and vocal advocates for your museum’s mission. Hear from experienced current trustees and former board chairs who have played active roles in strengthening and sustaining effective boards.

Session Chair: Anne Lampe, Museum Trustee Association

Session Presenters: Christina Carr, Museum Trustee Association; Leland Peterson, Heard Museum


“Don’t Try This Alone”: Combating Racism in the Midwest Through Group Work

Museums need to be equitable spaces for all that enter our doors. Join two museum professionals for a discussion and workshop on how to make your own museum more equitable and inclusive for all staff, visitors, and stakeholders.

Session Chair: Jenn Edginton, Illinois State Museum

Session Presenters: Sara Phalen, West Chicago City Museum


It Starts at the Door: How the Chazen Became the Most Open Museum in America

The Chazen Museum of Art recently instituted sweeping changes which increased public accessibility and access to the museum. While the initiative generated national publicity, it was not without challenges. Come and participate in a discussion about how to use creativity and collaboration to achieve institutional goals with limited resources.

Session Chair: Amy Gilman, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session Presenters: Kristine Zickuhr, Chazen Museum of Art; Kate Wanberg, Chazen Museum of Art; Casey Coolidge, Chazen Museum of Art


Museum Studies Programs Evolving: Responding to the Changing Needs of Museums

As museums evolve, so too must museum studies programs to prepare future museum professionals for the changing nature of museum work. This roundtable discussion brings together museum studies faculty to share how their programs are changing and encourages participants to share the emerging needs of the museum sector.

Session Chair: William Warner Wood, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Session Presenters: Nicolette Meister, Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit College; Susan R. Frankenberg, University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana); Christy DeLair, Pick Museum of Anthropology Northern Illinois University; Therese Quinn, Museum and Exhibition Studies University of Illinois at Chicago; K.F. Latham, Arts & Cultural Management & Museum Studies Michigan State University


Science Museum Futures: A Collective Approach to Rethinking the Role of Science Centers in the Communities they Serve

Come learn about Science Museum Futures, an NSF-funded project that engaged 40 diverse professionals in a year-long process of thinking broadly and strategically (rather than merely tactically), about how small to medium sized science museums could re-envision their roles and approaches in order to become more responsive, sustainable and community-centric.

Session Chair: Tom Owen, PGAV Destinations

Session Presenters: Ashanti Davis, Fleet Science Center; Chloe Poston, Institute for Learning Innovation; John Falk, Institute for Learning Innovation


Strategic Planning from the Ground Up

What does the world need us to be in the future? Learn how the Minnesota Historical Society set out to answer this question through an innovative strategic planning process rooted in Design Thinking. We’ll share tools for evolving and remaining relevant, even in the face of unprecedented crises.

Session Chair: Jack Matheson, Minnesota Historical Society

Session Presenters: Jennifer Jones, Minnesota Historical Society; Jennifer Gascoigne, Minnesota Historical Society


Marketing & Digital Media


Building a Better Website: Increase Audience Engagement by Transforming Your Digital Platform

Create an inviting digital space that gives your visitors a sense of what they’ll experience at your museum. Engage your audience where they are through digital storytelling and a content-driven, mission-focused approach while ensuring that your website is evolving to meet the needs of your visitors.

Session Chair: Brittany Krewson, Missouri Historical Society

Session Presenters: Leigh Walters, Missouri Historical Society


Check Yourself: A Guide to Website Accessibility Audits

Perhaps you know the basics of web accessibility, but you haven’t implemented the WCAG standards on your website or digital channels. Participants will review basic terms, tips, and resources, and will walk away with the tools to begin creating a more inclusive and compliant digital ecosystem right away.

Session Chair: Rachel Kribbs, FORM

Session Presenters: Katelyn Gerber, FORM; Jennifer Holland, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; Betsy Lynn, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis


Evolving Your Social Media Presence During a Pandemic

In this session, Minnesota Digital Library staff will share our experiences piloting new social media initiatives, such as “Tuesday Tips,” “Friday Highlights,” and “Think Like a Historian.” We will also discuss how we are using these platforms to draw more attention to other digital projects, including our primary source sets.

Session Chair: Molly Huber, Minnesota Digital Library

Session Presenter: Stephanie Hess, Minnesota Digital Library


Making Mistakes is a Part of Evolving, Our Journey to Being Visitor Focused and How You can Learn from it

Does your website offer a great visitor experience? What about your member or volunteer digital experiences? Hear the story, mistakes included, of how we evolved Prismatic, a museum operations platform, to be visitor focused. Learn methods to analyze your digital visitor experience and tips on how to make it better.

Presenters: Eli Ball, Midway Spark