By: Maraya Cornell
My favorite part of a WMA Annual Meeting is the weekend of tours and workshops before the conference actually gets started. I like to get settled and look around a bit before the crowds roll in, but I also find that I learn more, make the best connections, and have the most interesting conversations during the longer and more focused pre-conference events. For me, the minimal extra cost is more than worth it.
Pre-Conference Tours welcome you to Palm Springs with an introduction to its land and culture by those who know it well. Thanks to the generosity of our hosts, we’ve got some great tours on the schedule. Nature lovers won’t want to miss “The Living Desert: Animals and Art Tour,” a journey through the unique flora and fauna of the Coachella Valley and the art it has inspired. This is your chance to see an Arabian Oryx, a Bat Eared Fox, or a Reticulated Giraffe! The tour starts early to catch the desert animals at their most active time of day.
Pre-Conference Workshops this year offer in-depth training and knowledge on disaster recovery, collection condition reporting, construction planning, merchandising, and more, at a fraction of what it would cost to bring these programs to your institution. The best deal of all is entirely free: “Excellence in Every Museum: Applying Standards to Your Museum,” teaches staff from institutions large and small how to uncover and showcase the achievements you’re already making by applying standards and using self-assessment programs.
Check out the Preliminary Program to see all the Tour and Workshop options. Even if you’ve registered for the conference already, you can still add a Pre-Conference Tour or Workshop.
How to add a pre-conference event to an existing registration
1. Go to the Registration Page and click “View or Change Your Existing Registration”
2. Enter email address and password, click the “Continue” button
3. On next page, click the “Continue” button
4. Select events to add then click the “Continue” button
5. Fill out payment information then click “Submit” button
6. New events will be added to registration and your credit card will be charged
My Top Five Program Sessions Picks
The Programming Committee had far more high-quality session proposals than we had room for in the schedule this year. As a first-timer on the committee, I was surprised at what an agonizing job it was to choose which to keep and which to let go! But the result of so many thoughtful proposals is a fantastic line-up for October’s Annual Meeting. I’d like to tell you about a few of the sessions on the docket.
I’ve heard it said more than once that what sets WMA Annual Meetings apart is the willingness to openly discuss challenges, controversy, and even failure in the interest of learning together and growing our profession. In particular, two of this year’s sessions come to mind. In “Leading Museum Transformations,” three museum directors will share their experiences in taking their museums through significant, widespread, and risky cultural change. In “Post-mortem: Let’s Make Our Next Exhibition Project More Successful,” exhibition developers will discuss common pitfalls of collaborative exhibition projects, with an eye toward solutions.
Sessions in the Career Development Track address real issues faced by emerging as well as mid- to late-career professionals. “Berkeley Meets Boise: Developing Museum Professionals Across the Urban-Rural and Small-Large Institution Divide,” will be a conversation about the challenges presented by location, and how universities and institutions might better help professionals overcome gaps in their formal training.
A double session is devoted to the unprecedented collaboration that was Pacific Standard Time, the Getty initiative that brought together more than 60 cultural institutions from across Southern California. Find out what it was like to participate in “Pacific Standard Time in Retrospect: the Getty’s Impact on Southern California’s History.”
For those who keep our museum doors open, the conference will offer a variety of Business Track sessions, including “Successful Development Models for University and Public Museums,” in which three experienced development professionals share strategies for raising revenue.
These, of course, are just a few highlights. Download the Preliminary Program from the website for the full schedule. See you in October!
Program Committee Member
Western Museums Association