This year we brought back our curated tracks tool to help you plan for your conference experience. Check out our break down of this year’s sessions by track!

The tracks for this year include:

  • Leadership & Organizational Development, Sponsored by Schlossberg Legal
  • Development & Finance, Sponsored by HUB International
  • Audience Development & Community Engagement, Sponsored by University of Michigan Museum Studies Program
  • Exhibit Planning & InnovationSponsored by Universal Services Associates, Inc.
  • Interpretation & Programs
  • Collections Care & Management, Sponsored by Mason County Historical Society

Thursday, October 3rd

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Breakout Sessions

Tapping Cultural Equity and Engagement: Fostering and Sustaining Cultural Accessibility, Inclusion, and Wellness through Beer and Drinking Culture (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

How are three Chicago museums empowering the community through the socially unifying force of beer and drinking culture? The Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, and Chicago Brewseum leverage our consuming passions, foster sensory inclusion, and confront pressing social concerns with new, underrepresented, and marginalized audiences.

Session Presenters: Lucas Livingston, Art Institute of Chicago; Megan Williams, Field Museum of Natural History; Liz Garibay, Chicago Brewseum

Room: Vandenberg A 

Finding Our Voice: Exhibiting Trauma and Healing (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

21st century museums have an obligation to be responsive to the world around them. Museums can be places where community co-curation helps exhibitions become a mode of healing trauma. MSU Museum staff, Survivors, and Allies share challenges, stresses, and victories of co-curating Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak.

Session Presenters: Teresa Goforth, Michigan State University; Mary Worrall, Michigan State University; Kelly Hansen, Michigan State University; Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University; Amanda Smith, Sister Survivor

Room: Vandenberg B

Ask the Registrar: An Open Forum to Discuss the Unexpected, Conundrums, and Changing Expectations in Your Collection (Collections Care & Management)

Ask the Registrar will be an open forum to address the growing demand for creative solutions to today’s collections conundrums. From couriering to moving monumental objects and “using” collections items in programming – nothing is off the table! Bring questions or scenarios to discuss with the panel and fellow attendees.

Session Presenters: Christa Barleben, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art; Linda Endersby, Museum of Art & Archaeology, University of Missouri; Liz Fuhrman Bragg, Evansville Museum; Rachel Vargas, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University

Room: Pearl

Engineering in Unexpected Places: Developing Student-Driven Design Challenges (Interpretation & Programs)

Every institution has the capacity to develop learning experiences that ask students to apply the engineering design process to a variety of content areas. This session will explore the components of the engineering cycle in depth, and provide opportunities to think about applications of iterative design principles within your context.

Session Presenters: Andy Hershberger, The Field; Kyla Cook, The Field; Wendy Quinlan, The Field

Room: Emerald A

Don’t be a stranger – communicate with donors all year long (Development & Finance)

Join development staff from the Holland Museum and Kennari Consulting to discuss best practices for year-long donor communications and build a year-end appeal timeline around best practices. Attendees will learn what the critical elements are for successful appeals and will hear first-hand experience from someone who has recently implemented them.

Session Presenters: Katie Baker, Holland Museum; Laura Kruisenga, Kennari Consulting

Room: Governor’s

Oh Baby! Looking at Museums as Leaders for Working Families: Creating Infant-At-Work Programs to Augment Federal Family Leave (Leadership & Development)

As your museum family grows, retaining talented staff can be challenging as the weight of daycare costs and parental responsibilities overtake the functionality of working outside the home for many parents. Museums can lead the way in the United States by implementing family friendly policies that benefit parents and organizations.

Session Presenters: Veronica Campbell, Port Huron Museum; Christy Kincaid, Air Zoo; Maria Newhouse, Air Zoo

Room: Ford Ballroom

War & Art – Using Art to Connect the Military and Artistic Communities (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

The EVAC Project uses storytelling and art to bridge the gap between civilians and veterans. The panel, including the EVAC Co-Curator, Center for Military History’s Field Museums Division Chief, a military museum director, and one of the project artists will share ways this project engages local communities at museums.

Session Presenters: Lee Fearnside, EVAC Project; Joseph Van Kerkhove, EVAC Project; Claire Samuelson, Center of Military History; Joseph Scanlin, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum

Room: Emerald B

Advocating for Social Justice Issues in Your Museum: Three Case Studies Exploring Environmental Justice, Immigration, and Workplace Culture (Leadership & Development)

This presentation provides new perspectives from three recent museum studies graduates whose projects seek to better understand current social justice issues in museums, including the impact of museum employee burnout, unlocking environmental justice opportunities in collections, and strategies for incorporating immigration narratives in programs and exhibitions.

Session Presenters: Jessica Weller, University of Illinois at Chicago; Steph Lynn, University of Illinois at Chicago; Lauren De Jesus, University of Illinois at Chicago

Room: Ruby

1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Zombies, Murder, & Other Outrageous Risks Worth Taking (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

Sometimes the craziest (and scariest) programs can garner the best results, include more voices, and create deeper community partnerships. How can you grow your audiences through programming risks? Join us to gather tactics on working creatively to plan outrageous, yet successful, mission driven events for your organization.

Session Presenters: Callie McCune, Indiana Historical Society; Erin Kelley, Spirit and Place Festival 

Room: Vandenberg A

This is Not Your Mother’s Museum (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

The Museum of Sexist Objects (MoSO) at Ferris State University pushes the boundaries of traditional museums. Unlike safe exploratory museums from our past, the MoSO walks visitors through the uncomfortable truths that have collectively been the women’s experience, empowering our visitors to actively seek change and become socially engaged.

Session Presenters: Carrie Weis, Ferris State University; Tracy Busch, Ferris State University; Mari Kermit, Ferris State University

Room: Vandenberg B

Nji Kchi-nshinaabe’baniik Gdish-chigemi wi (We do it for the Ancestors) (Collections Care & Management)

More than 25 years after the enactment of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), many institutions are still working with Tribes on compliance. Do you have NAGPRA questions? Learn about Tribal and museum sides of NAGPRA compliance, with focus on transparency and agency to build respectful partnerships.

Session Presenters: Amadeaus Scott, University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology; William Johnson, Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways 

Room: Pearl

Empowering youth, empowering ourselves to talk about racial justice: Changing our expectations as museum educators (Interpretation & Programs)

Don’t ignore your youth! Hear about the Racial Justice Institute to learn how to lead meaningful and impactful museum programs centered on racial justice, local activism, and community support for middle school students.

Session Presenters: Dalila Huerta, La Casa de Amistad; Sarah Martin, Snite Museum of Art; George Garner, Civil Rights Heritage Center

Room: Emerald A

How to make private rentals work at a historic site (Development & Finance)

Historic sites have to rely on many events to help pay the bills. How do you make private rentals, parties, weddings, receptions, and even funerals work at your site to help you meet your mission while generating revenue? Can this work at your site?

Session Presenters: Patrick McKay, Rochester Hills Museum; Jenna Raschke, Rochester Hills Museum; Jeffrey Pollock, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant; Mary Anne Demo, Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site

Room: Emerald B

Museum Empowered: Feed the People! (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Everyone experiences the world through their own lens, created by unique life experiences. How do museum professionals reach beyond our own lenses to provide diverse, welcoming experiences to guests, staff and volunteers? Staff from the Air Zoo will share one model of inclusion training developed to address these challenging questions.

Session Presenters: Mary Lawrence, Air Zoo; Maria Newhouse, Air Zoo

Room: Ford Ballroom

Sculpting Community: Analyzing a Transformative People-Centered, Arts-Based Project from the Inside Out (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

In 2018, the Krasl Art Center unveiled Sculpting Community, a $1.7M grounds project and outdoor sculpture commission. It was a project that reimagined how art and the community could interact. In this session, KAC staff share what this project looked like from the inside out.

Session Presenters: Tami Miller, Krasl Art Center; Julia Gourley, Krasl Art Center; Matthew Bizoe, Krasl Art Center; Nathan Margoni, Krasl Art Center

Room: Governor’s

Advocating for your career at every stage (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Museum workers are skilled advocates, so why don’t more advocate for themselves in the workplace? In this session attendees will discover the imperfect tools needed to self-advocate and learn tips and suggestions for how to overcome the fear of sticking up for yourself.

Session Presenters: Michelle Epps, National Emerging Museum Professionals Network; Sondra Reierson, 3D Objects Curator & Interim Head of Collections Management; Bob Beatty, The Lyndhurst Group

Room: Ruby 

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Equity & Justice as a Mission (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

In this session, staff from the Arab American National Museum describe the work of their Equity & Justice Committee, from its inception to the creation and introduction of policies and procedures that honor and serve its visitors, its collaborators and the history of the region it calls home.

Session Presenters: Lejla Bajgoric, Arab American National Museum

Room: Pearl

What’s Old is New: A Fresh Take on Old Buildings (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

What are the expectations of historical organizations in today’s fast-paced, changing world? How can you accommodate the expectations of traditional visitors while offering more diverse programs and exhibits to engage new audiences? Hear how three organizations are changing to become more relevant-from planning through implementation and evaluation.

Session Presenters: Christina Arseneau, Niles History Center; Lisa Plank, Lowell Area Historical Museum; April Bryan, Kalamazoo Air Zoo; Brittany Williams, Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Room: Vandenberg B

Houghton County Historical Society: A One Year Retrospective (Collections Care & Management)

Your museum is hit by a devastating flood, the collection you’ve acquired over 50 years is quickly evacuated to off-site storage areas. An organization offers to send a mix of students and volunteers to help recover. What happens next? How does it all come together? Who (and what) will survive?

Session Presenters: Travis Farrington, Central Michigan University; Jeremiah Mason, Keweenaw National Historical Park; Avis West, Houghton County Historical Society; Autumn Muir, University of Michigan-Dearborn; Erin Murray, The Henry Ford Museum

Room: Ruby

Interpreting History and the Environment in Unexpected Places (Interpretation & Programs)

Does your interpretation take full advantage of your institution’s cultural and natural resources? Join presenters from diverse nature-based and history-based institutions to see how they present history to nature lovers and nature to history lovers while upholding their missions and retaining their loyal audiences.

Session Presenters: Hillary Pine, Michigan History Center/Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Samantha Engel, Dow Gardens; Ryan Jelso and Debra Reid, The Henry Ford

Room: Emerald A

Reexamining Internships: Building and Leading Effective Internship Programs (Leadership & Organizational Development)

This roundtable session will discuss successful internships from the perspectives of both managers and former interns, and will present practical techniques for building and shaping internship programs across all museum departments. Attendees are encouraged to take part in this active discussion and share their own experiences and perspectives.

Session Presenters: Katie Prichard, University of Michigan Museum of Art; Sara Gross, Michigan History Center; Hillary Hanel Rose, Girl Museum and Central Michigan University 

Room: Ford Ballroom

Visitor-Centered American Writers Museum: Engaging Visitors with Unique Interactive Exhibits and Inventive Storytelling — vs. Permanent Artifacts and First Editions (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

In a highly visual and engaging presentation, museum President Cary Cranston will pair with Brian Stockmaster from Chicago Scenic, to explore central and important questions, challenges, and opportunities for museums looking to pivot and create more visitor-centered experiences.

Session Presenters: Brian Stockmaster, Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc.; Carey Cranston, American Writers Museum 

Room: Governor’s

“Backcasting” and Planning for the Future of Museums (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Have you considered what museums will look like in the year 2040? Where would you like your museum to be positioned? Join us for a collaborative discussion about the future of museums, and learn to use “backcasting” to determine your path towards the future.

Session Presenters: Louise Beck, The Henry Ford; Mallory Bower, Michigan Heritage Preservation Network

Room: Vandenberg A

Collaborative Financial Models that Work – Even in an Ice Storm! (Development & Finance)

We can’t do it all alone! In 2019, Milwaukee museums joined forces to create Milwaukee Museum Week in order to increase attendance, share the public spotlight, and improve the community’s perception of museums all the while overcoming one of the worst storms in recent memory. Join some of the event’s key players for an informative discussion on the importance of community collaboration and how partnering with “competing” cultural institutions, local corporations, and public influencers can expand your audience and bolster your financials. This session will cover the revenue model and how all participating museums were fairly compensated, our blueprint towards offering free admission for children, and why Milwaukee Museum Week will be a staple in Wisconsin for years to come.

Session Presenter: Paul Fladten, Discovery World Science Center; Ben Barbera, Milwaukee County Historical Society

Room: Emerald B

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Poster Sessions and Conversation Stations


  • Echoes from the Past, Voices for the Future: This presentation will present Chinese-American stories from different cohorts and citizenship and immigration statuses and present an overview of what it means to be Chinese and American. The presentation will also explore strategies to reach the younger generation who may not recognize the historical significance of Chinese-American struggles and triumphs. Presenter: Mabel Menard, Chinese American Museum of Chicago
  • Eating the Elephant a Bite at a Time: Digital Strategy at the Grand Rapids Public Museum: The Grand Rapids Public Museum has an advisory committee for digital strategy. This conversation station will feature members of that committee sharing stories about their successes and failures and their vision for what a museum full of digitally competent and confident volunteers and staff could look like. Presenters: Alex Forist, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Kate Kocienski, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Stuart Berman, YETi CGI
  • Online Exhibits: The New Digital Frontier for Everyone: Everyone wants to digitize their collection, but do you want to create compelling digital content? Learn how your organization, no matter the size or budget, can create engaging online exhibits to showcase your collection in a new and innovative way! Presenters: Malcolm Cottle, Ruth Mott Foundation/Applewood Estate; Renee Saba, Ruth Mott Foundation/Applewood Estate
  • Responding to Changing Expectations around Accessibility: A Case Study of MACA: Wondering what an accessibility consortium is and how being part of one can help improve accessibility for people with disabilities at your museum? Gain insights to these questions and more through a case study of the Michigan Alliance for Cultural Accessibility (MACA) and its success enhancing accessibility at Michigan’s museums. Presenter: Caroline Braden, The Henry Ford
  • Thinking Like A Bear – Building a Social Media Training Plan with a Museum Mascot in a University Museum: In Fall of 2016 the Michigan State University Museum launched @MSUMuseumBear, a Twitter Mascot of the Museum’s Brown Bear in an effort to engage the MSU Community more deeply. Results indicate it provides engagement for the MSU Community, and an engaging way for a student to develop career planning skills. Presenters: Max Evjen, Michigan State University; Sabrina Benny, Michigan State University
  • Museums Advocacy: Your Stories of Impact: Has your museum received a grant or other funding from the government? Are you willing to share how that funding has made an impact on your museum and visitors? Come share your stories of impact, to be relayed to your government representatives, and learn how to become a Museums Advocate. Presenter: Louise Beck, The Henry Ford
  • Making Time to Create Better Operational Processes: Are day-to-day operations at your small organization characterized by hurriedly finishing tasks on the fly? What does it look like to shift from reactive or disorganized processes to proactive and efficient operations? Explore how to develop better processes that advance institutional missions and optimize your most valuable resource: time. Presenters: Rachel Boyle, Omnia History; Laura Johns, Blandford Nature Center
  • Detroit Institute of Arts – Statewide Exhibition Program: The Detroit Institute of Arts’ Statewide program creates art experiences, promotes American history, and encourages cross-cultural understanding while strengthening relationships between organizations throughout Michigan. Come speak with us about our current statewide initiatives and share your institutions’ plans and goals towards creating meaningful experiences for visitors. Presenters: Sabrina Hiedemann; Jennifer Paoletti, Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Museums & Climate Change: Museums & Climate Change, Share Your Thoughts and Learn about a national network that supports moving the community dialogue forward by empowering our audiences and being solutions-focused! Presenter: Sarah Waters, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Reimagining Learning in Museum Spaces: Strategies and Insights for Educational Program Redesign: The Grand Rapids Public Museum education department has reimagined what it means to learn in a museum setting. Learn how the GRPM has moved away from traditional docent led tours to engaging, student-centered programs through which students actively construct their own understandings by utilizing the Museum’s Collections and unique assets. Presenters: Erin Koren, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Ashleigh Palmiter, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Katie Bilby, Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • Applying the Law of Attraction Effectively for Organization Growth and Development: Learn how positive thinking and the idea that like energies attract can be applied successfully to help an organization succeed. This type of thinking can be applied to all aspects of an institution’s functioning. Mindfulness does not just benefit individuals but organizations as well. Intentional thinking can harvest successful results. Presenter: Karen Hall, Glen Ellyn Historical Society/Stacy’s Tavern Museum
  • Youth Lead the Way: Then and Now: Change the traditional field trip norm of middle and high school visitors as consumers of information to one of authorities in their own right. Discover how to create programs that focus on social justice, honor youth voice and perspective, recognize young people as change makers and meet civic learning standards. Presenter: Heidi Moisan, Chicago History Museum
  • Lessons in Listening: Reflections on a Community Open Call approach to public programs: Born from a belief that all members of our community have something valuable to share, the MSU Broad Community Open Call invites creative thinkers from the Mitten State to be part of the design, creation, and production public programs. Learn more about the ups + downs of initiative’s inaugural year. Presenters: Michelle Word, Broad Art Museum MSU; Britany Benson, Broad Art Museum MSU; Caroline Delahoussaye, Broad Art Museum MSU
  • Creating A Museum Which Highlights the Virtues, Characteristics and History of the American Midwest: So much great work exists in all of the artistic, educational and compelling museums throughout the Midwest. They are all part of a tapestry of our beautiful region. Should we consider one museum that sums up all that the Midwest is in its history, culture and virtue? Yes, please share! Presenter: Tim Sweeney, Midwest Museum
  • Who Are You Online? Finding Your Voice on Social Media: What is your museum’s online P.Q. (Personality Quotient)? Do you risk losing your audience because your virtual presence is more ‘meh’ than ‘mesmerizing?’ Are you staying current on virtual culture? Can you lead your museum into a better future of social media engagement? Explore these questions at our conversation station. Presenters: Leslie Pielack, Birmingham Museum; Caitlin Donnelly, Birmingham Museum
  • Fossil Discovery Kits – Increasing STEM opportunities for western Michigan’s fifth through eighth graders: The goal of this project is to improve scientific literacy and enthusiasm in middle school students (5th-8th grade) by providing them with the opportunity to engage with real fossil specimens and introduce them to fundamental concepts in paleontology and geology in their own classroom, free of charge. Presenters: Cory Redman, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Amanda Tabata, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Rob Schuitema, Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • Become a Local, Regional, or National Leader in the Curatorial Community: AAM’s CurCom professional network has opportunities now: You can become a leader in the curatorial community! CurCom (the American Alliance of Museum’s professional network for curators) is seeking curators who are interested in driving social networks, developing on-line learning opportunities, arranging meet-ups, workshops, exhibit tours, etc. in their local communities. Presenter: Elisa Phelps, CurCom

POSTERS (Ambassador Ballroom)

  • 50 Years of Centennial and the Museum of the Grand Prairie: An Integrated History, Culture and Art Event: How can we invite patrons to feel ownership of our museum spaces? Through integration of our 1968 exhibit, teachers and museum professionals collaborated to create a series of events–field trips, learning tubs, and an arts festival that invited patrons to see their own history and lives reflected in artistic expression. Presenter: Katie Snyder, Champaign County Forest Preserve
  • Heightened Expectations: Opening the New Bell Museum: Learn about how the Bell Museum went from a gem hidden on the University of Minnesota campus to opening a brand-new museum and planetarium – all the while managing, meeting and often exceeding “mammoth-sized” visitor expectations! Presenter: Caitlin Frey, Bell Museum
  • A Transformational, Reciprocal and Constructivist Approach to Museum Education Outreach: How does a museum establish a transformational educational outreach program based on strong reciprocal community relationships? This questions is addressed by examining the steps and challenges of one outreach program and how the program’s success was due to a customized constructivist approach focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Presenters: Tim Constant, John Farris and Mark Mulder, Holocaust Memorial Center
  • Exhibiting environmental justice history: community curation and activism in Indianapolis: Confronting climate change requires addressing the history of environmental racism. IUPUI Museum Studies students and faculty are working with the Kheprw institute and other community partners to curate stories of Indianapolis’ environmental justice history and to amplify the voices of affected communities through exhibits, public programs, and virtual toxic tours. Presenters: IUPUI Museum Studies Students and Faculty
  • Changing Waters: Media Relations and Audience Development for “The Great Lakes Cycle”: A commitment to building the Museum’s growing and changing audiences helped the Grand Rapids Art Museum earn national media attention for its traveling exhibition “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle.” Learn how strategic media relations planning — paired with mission-focused and community-relevant exhibition development — can yield great results. Presenters: Elizabeth Payne, Grand Rapids Art Museum; Jennifer Wcisel, Grand Rapids Art Museum; Amber Hendrickson, Blue Water Communications
  • National Association for Museum Exhibition Ambassadors Program: Your opportunity to become a leader in the museum exhibition community: You can be a leader in the museum exhibition community! Learn how you can become an ambassador for NAME (National Association for Museum Exhibition – the American Alliance of Museum’s professional network for those who work with exhibitions). Ambassadors arrange NAME meet-ups, workshops, exhibit tours, etc. in their local communities. Presenter: Elizabeth Chilton, Paint Creek Center for the Arts

 Friday, October 4th

9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions

Building a Network that supports Wi-Fi Analytics: Gathering Guest Data, Generating Revenue, and Engaging Your Visitors (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

In this digital age, Wi-Fi access is not only an expectation, but a necessity. Studies show that accessible Wi-Fi in a venue contributes to a positive and personalized experience for visitors. Powernet custom builds a scalable Wi-Fi network to fit their venue’s needs and includes Wi-Fi analytic software that collects a variety of vital visitor information. Learn how this information can be used to enhance visitor experience and engagement even after they leave the venue.

Session Presenter: Oscar Bross, Powernet

Room: Pearl

Great Ideas for Equitable Hiring Practices and Workplace Culture in 45 Minutes (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Inquiring minds want to know – what changes are taking place at Midwestern museums to improve workplace culture and ensure equitable hiring practices? Session panelists will share changes taking place at their museums in short Pecha Kucha-style presentations.

Session Presenters: Tonya Matthews, Wayne State University; Whitney Owens, Cincinnati Museum Center; Liesl Chatman, Science Museum of Minnesota; Ann Hernandez, Association of Science-Technology Centers

Room: Vandenberg B

Does your insurance policy belong in a museum? (Development & Finance)

Has your insurance been updated to cover emerging risks of the museum industry? Join HUB International as we dive into the key exposures that can impact museums and a look at national data, as we explore best practices of a museum risk management and insurance program.

Session Presenter: Eric Dougal and Mark Lenderink, HUB International

Room: Emerald A

Midwest Museum Community on VAMONDE (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

VAMONDE is a digital network (website and mobile app) providing tourists access to the “local experience” in a variety of cities, states, and regions with a focus on cultural experiences. They make it easy for a museum, big or small, to connect its story with a younger, digitally savvy audience. AMM is considering a partnership with VAMONDE to create a dedicated website and mobile app channel featuring our member organizations FOR FREE, and we’d like your feedback on the product. We welcome you to join us for a brief presentation and roundtable discussion of this proposal and how your organization might benefit.

Presenters: Charity M. Counts, Association of Midwest Museums; Nick Petit, VAMONDE

Room: Vandenberg A

Data, Examples, and How-To: Make Visitors’ Experiences Easier and More Engaging with a Mobile App  (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

Would you like to increase your visitor’s engagement? Would you like to know what your visitors are interested in and how they spend their time in your space? In this workshop we’ll help you answer these questions and more. We’ll go over the data, the case studies, and conduct a hands-on workshop in which you will learn how to design an engaging mobile app for your museum.

Presenters: Nancy Harmon and Melaina Koulos, Encurate Mobile Technology

Room: Governor’s

The New and Improved MAP (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Does your museum want help moving from surviving to thriving? The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) provides self-assessment, peer review with a site visit, a final report with recommendations, and resources to support implementing change. Hear all about our new and revised assessments and gear up to apply for this IMLS-funded excellence program.

Presenter: Brianne Roth, American Alliance of Museums

Room: Emerald B

Prepare Now: Strategies for Protecting Your Museum from Loss (Collections Care & Management)

What would happen if you suffered a water, fire/smoke, vandalism or other loss? Would you be prepared? Art Recovery Technologies will use its twenty years of experience to take you through what you should do before, during and after you suffer a loss to help you minimize your exposure and risk of loss to your exhibits and collections.

Presenters: Bob Schultz, ERS Grand Rapids & SW Michigan; Rick Walker, ERS of Columbus & SE Ohio; Jeff McGannon, ERS of Indiana

Room: Ford Ballroom

Upgrading the Guided Tour: Enhance the Audience Experience with Connected Tours (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

Embrace industry trends by incorporating visitor’s personal tech that they bring on your guided tours. Learn about the app that empowers tour guides with the ability to screen-share, conduct polls, field questions and provide downloadable content – all on your visitors’ smartphones and tablets.

Presenters: Tim Bishof and Jake Wargin, Fasetto Inc.

Room: Ruby

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Museums for ALL – How a Financial Access Initiative is Reshaping Our Community (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

Has your organization been looking for simple ways to become more financially accessible to guests? Have you been considering enrolling in Museums for All? Join three Museums for All participating museums for a discussion on how this program is reshaping the landscape of access for our city.

Session Presenters: Rachel McKay, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum; Katherine Williams, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts; Brett Townsend, Grand Rapids Art Museum

Room: Vandenberg A

#SmartLabels: Experimenting with Interactive Labels as a Customizable Content Delivery Tool (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

How do you create a connected, customizable, interactive way to share content with visitors? Smart labels! Explore ultra-thin touch display and ultra-powerful microcomputer smart labels that allow open, fluid interchange between visitors and content delivery. Learn more about the technology and discuss affordances/challenges with using smart labels in museums.

Session Presenters: Brian Kirschensteiner, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and MSU Museum; Denice Blair, Michigan State University Museum; Teresa Goforth, Michigan State University Museum; Jenna Kuick, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum; Michelle Word, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum; Steven Bridges, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum 

Room: Vandenberg B

Leading a Digital Revolution: Community Initiatives for Collection Accessibility and Preservation for Increased Engagement and Sustainability (Collections Care & Management)

A rapidly evolving digital world means increased user expectations. Museums collections are no exception to these shifts. A digital revolution is upon us. By uniting together, museums can solve information accessibility and engagement challenges and help lead our communities forward.

Session Presenters: Nathan Kemler, Grand Valley State University; Matt Schultz, Grand Valley State University – University Libraries

Room: Pearl

Complex Collaborations: Program Planning and Evaluation Design with Multiple Stakeholders (Interpretation & Programs)

Collaboration is key in maximizing impact, yet developing and fostering collaboration among multiple stakeholders can be challenging especially in the dual realms of program development and evaluation design. Join us for a discussion of best practices in building collaboration with the varied voices of diverse stakeholders.

Session Presenters: Jenny Flowers, The Field; Kyla Cook, The Field; Ashlan Falletta-Cowden, Audience Researcher and Program Evaluation Consultant; Michelle Rabkin, Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Room: Emerald A

The Building Blocks of a Museum Brand: A Case Study of the Grand Rapids Public Museum (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

Brand isn’t just for products. It’s much more than a logo, color pallet, and graphic identity. Join the marketing team from the Grand Rapids Public Museum to learn about brand theory, the importance of brand for museums, and how you can refine your organizations brand.

Session Presenters: Kate Kocienski, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Christie Bender, Grand Rapids Public Museum

Room: Emerald B

Green Leadership that Every Museum, Big and Small, could Implement, Communicate, and Engage (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Come green your museum with us! Learn from 3 diverse midwest museums, who are actively greening our operations, buildings, programs and landscapes. Hear about our green projects, roadmap and war stories in how museums can be a demonstration site, conversation facilitator and hub for energy, water and waste stewardship.

Session Presenters: Leslie Tom, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; Carter O’Brien, Field Museum; Joyce Lee, IndigoJLD Green Health

Room: Ford Ballroom

In Touch with Art: Creating a Tactile Art Exhibition (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

Learn how an accessible exhibition can impact all audience segments, including individuals with vision impairments, as well as staff.

Session Presenters: Catie Anderson, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum; Shannon Pueschner, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum; Ann Cunningham, Colorado Center for the Blind

Room: Governor’s

Now Playing Near You: Combining Documentaries and Traveling Exhibits to Reach New Audiences, Build Partnerships and Make Money (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

Even a small museum can make a big impact with special projects. Combining a film with a traveling exhibit doubles the potential to reach a wider audience, attract new donors, build partnerships, and make money.

Session Presenters: William Briska, Elgin History Museum; Elizabeth Marston, Elgin History Museum

Room: Ruby

4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions

History Harvests, Historic Preservation, and the What We Carried: Some lessons for changing expectations for history through community engagement (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

How might active programs of community outreach through field work, oral history, and expanding collections change expectations for history organizations? This session is a panel discussion offering insights from public historians, preservationists, and museum professionals on the challenges and opportunities of new approaches to community engagement.

Session Presenters: Eric Gollanneck, Saugatuck-Douglas History Center; Jennifer Metz, Past Perfect, Inc.; Tamara Barnes, Kalamazoo Valley Museum; George Bayard, Grand Rapids African-American Museum and Archives; Timothy Gleisner, Library of Michigan

Room: Vandenberg A

Still Here, Still Relevant: A Fresh Look at Historical Environments (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

Studies show that richly detailed historical environments have the power to move, inspire, and connect with museum audiences. But successful historical environments today must respond to the changing expectations of visitors, communities, and stakeholders. This session offers a fresh look at historical environments, with strategies for all types of museums.

Session Presenter: Donna Braden, The Henry Ford

Room: Vandenberg B

Putting History in their Hands: Making Your Collection Accessible for Learning (Collections Care & Management)

Curatorial and education staff will discuss how they are collaborating interdepartmentally and with the Grand Rapids Public Museum School to rethink Collections Management and educational programming to increase accessibility and create opportunities for learners to meaningfully engage with the objects and stories contained in the archives.

Session Presenters: Erin Koren, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Alex Forist, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Sarah Humes, Grand Rapids Public Museum

Room: Pearl

Extreme Makeover: Historic Home Edition – Reevaluating Priorities and Engaging New Audiences (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

It’s time to put away fake food and expensive spoons; your historic house museum needs an extreme makeover! This session is all about practical methods to engage visitors in new and radical ways. Come hear how historic houses in Wisconsin and beyond are engaging and surprising visitors and learn how you can too!

Session Presenters: Nathan Fuller, Harley-Davidson Museum; Keighton Klos, historic house experience designer 

Room: Governor’s

Salary Equity and More: Attracting and Retaining a More Diverse Workforce (Leadership & Organizational Development)

How might museums improve their policies and practices to attract and retain a more diverse talent pool? This session will address different organizations’ approaches and/or changes made to offer more equitable and competitive compensation models. Discussion will be followed by tips for museum leaders seeking to make improvements.

Session Presenters: Charity Counts, Association of Midwest Museums; Liz Hartman, The Magic House; Lisa Codispoti, Cleveland Museum of Art; Jill Berkemeier, Cincinnati Museum Center

Room: Ford Ballroom

Taking the show on the road: Using the highway and the information superhighway to reach your audience (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

For the State Historical Society of Iowa, it is critical to engage audience members outside the physical locations of a museum, two research centers and eight historic sites. The three panelists will discuss challenges and successes of multiple programs focused on reaching constituents across the State of Iowa.

Session Presenters: Jessica Rundlett, State Historical Museum of Iowa/State Historical Society of Iowa; Jennifer Cooley, State Historical Museum of Iowa/State Historical Society of Iowa; Jessica Nay, State Historical Society of Iowa

Room: Emerald A

Improving Security and Protecting Visitors, Staff, & Collections W/Reduced Staff & Budgets (Leadership & Organizational Development)

Your Safety, and the Protection of Collections are Primary concerns of management. But…there may be little or no budget for security. There are low-cost, and no-cost methods available to institutions of any size. Learn how to apply these methods, presented by a national leader in cultural property protection.

Session Presenters: Steve Layne, International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection

Room: Ruby

Navigating Corporate Donor Relationships (Development & Finance)

In 2017, U.S. companies donated more than $20 BILLION to nonprofit organizations…how did your museum fare? Bring your laptops and smartphones, and join Jennifer Clearwater, CFRE – Director of Philanthropy at nonprofit Discovery World and CEO/Founder of for-profit Lovino LLC – for a lively and interactive discussion about the ins and outs of boldly finding, wooing, soliciting, and growing corporate donors. Participants will leave with new connections and applicable tips for how to immediately start cultivating new corporate donors for your museums that day.

Session Presenter:  Jennifer Clearwater, Discovery World Science Center

Room: Emerald B

 Saturday, October 5th

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Focus! Mini-Workshop Sessions

How to Run a Good Meeting (Leadership & Organizational Development)

The ability to run a good meeting is a valued skill and one that is essential for leadership development. This workshop will focus on the basics of a good meeting, activities to help achieve specific goals within a meeting, and challenges faced by those who are leading a meeting.

Session Presenters: Lisa Craig Brisson, Michigan Museums Association

Room: Klopcic

Getting To “Yes, And” – Getting to Group Mind (Interpretation & Programs)

Conquer your communication fears with the TourBoost Workshop. This on-your-feet, hands-on workshop will use improv games to get you out of your head and into the space.

Session Presenters: Margaret Hicks, The TourBoost

Room: Grand

Creating Connection: Messages and Experiences that Matter (Audience Development & Community Engagement)

Creating Connection is a national movement to make arts and culture a recognized, valued, and expected part of everyday life. It builds on previous efforts to promote the arts and culture, but is grounded in new research and a unique approach to building public will that creates change that stands the test of time. This mini-workshop, led by Arts Midwest’s Creating Connection team, will offer new insights, tools, real-time examples, and group exercises that can help you design new messages and experiences that increase participation and engagement in your organization. You will walk away with new ideas that you can put into action right away.

Session Presenters: Michael Johnson, Arts Midwest; Anne Romens, Arts Midwest

Room: Kennedy

Wow Your Audiences: Using Prototyping and Media Testing to Improve Experience Design (Exhibit Planning & Innovation)

Digital and immersive media bring stories to life—but how do you ensure they’re going to work? Prototyping media elements allows for experimentation with design ideas, can confirm practicality and allows for tweaks. Discover low-budget tips and tricks for prototyping media, from simple to more complex in this hands-on session. Presenters will share examples of projects, from ideation to final product, reflecting on the methods used to prototype digital and media components and obtain feedback from team members and clients. Presentation will be followed by hands-on activities, during which attendees will create and test prototypes with small teams.

Session Presenters: Cynthia Torp, Solid Light, Inc; John Murphy, Solid Light, Inc.; Mandie Creed, CED

Room: Damstra