Living in Portland, where the sun started shining through the rain only a few days ago, it seems defective to be already looking forward to October. Looking forward I am though, to the Western Museums Association Annual Meeting in Palm Springs.
As museum people, we frequently look at the same situations and see very different things. This holds true for educators, students, curators, volunteer managers, registrars, conservators, facilities staff, development, HR, media, IT, security, executives, accounting, boards, and on and on. Each of these visions are shaped by different experiences, but directed by the same focus; the success of the institution. Big or small, the same goals ultimately need to be met by every organization in order to keep the doors open year after year. One of the many exciting facets of a WMA Annual Meeting (Register HERE!) is getting the opportunity to see what things look like from a different vantage point.
As Co-Chair of the Program Committee for this year’s Annual Meeting I can tell you that this exchange of perspectives is firmly represented in the 2012 schedule. As a group, the Program Committee worked very hard to ensure that there be a wide variety of session topics and an incredible offering of panelists speaking. Within that, I would like to thank and commend everyone that submitted a proposal for this year’s conference. It is truly amazing the work each of you is doing.
To wit, in looking through this years Preliminary Program I can honestly say I’m a little ticked off that I can’t physically clone myself. In order to attend every session that grabs my attention I would require two, and in some session blocks three, of me to make this happen. For example, on the first day we have “The Keys to Making a Great Presentation”, moderated by Merritt Price. This session is going to have a big, practical impact on those in the audience and will surely give you tools that you’ll take home with you after the conference. Or, if you are on a session panel later in the conference it might prompt you to modify your presentation right away! In that same session block is “Leading Museum Transformations”, moderated by Stephanie Weaver. This session brings together three museum directors (Detroit Institute of Arts, the Asian Art Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California) sharing personal insights into leading their institutions. Later in the day is a session I will be moderating on the role of museum studies programs. For this panel we have current directors of MS programs, program faculty, and recent graduates of MS programs. The panel will be discussing how these programs are preparing students for the museum field and then asking those who have graduated how they transitioned into professional work. This session will encourage a dialog between the panel and audience to address the most current thoughts on the topic.
These three sessions are surrounded by other panels discussing fundraising, museum and community collaboration, sharing Pacific cultures with PIMA and PAA, exhibition evaluation, and bilingual initiatives in museums. All in just the first few hours of the Annual Meeting! Register NOW!
Leading up to October I’ll occasionally drop in on the WMA blog to highlight more sessions to keep an eye out for at the Annual Meeting. When you have a minute, visit www.westmuse.org and download the Preliminary Program. It’s thirty-six pages of fabulousness.
See you soon,
2012 WMA Program Committee Co-Chair