By now you’ve probably heard that this year, the Michigan Museums Association (MMA) conference will be held as a joint conference with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).
And if you’re like me—an MMA member whose institution does not fall under the category of “state and local history”— you may be wondering why you should attend this year’s conference.
There are many great reasons for you to attend, but I've narrowed it down to a few I'm particularly excited about:
The MMA portion of the conference has been designed with you in mind. We recognized that non-history museum professionals might be curious about how they'll fit into the conference. We responded by organizing a conference program that ensures there is something for everyone. Presenters include representatives from the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
In the workshop "Unlocking Innovation: Design Thinking in Museums," participants will learn strategies to implement human-centered design practices at their institutions. The session "Creating Connection Through Creative Expression" will focus on creating public will for the arts by connecting it with people's personal values.
Sessions like these—both of which put people at the center of our work—were conceived of by art organizations but will share information that is applicable to all types of museums. The AASLH program also offers many sessions with broad-based appeal. View the preliminary program here: AASLH website
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Attendees have the opportunity to explore some of Detroit's non-history museums.
Tours and special events like the Thursday evening "Muse Cruise" will take attendees to several of Detroit's non-history museums. This event---co-hosted by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Michigan Science Center, and the Detroit Institute of Arts---invites attendees to explore each museum's varied offerings after hours.
You can register for this and other fun events when you register for the conference. We'll let you know when registration officially opens!
Detroit Institute of Arts
Conferences are the perfect place to catch up with old friends and make new ones. This year's conference is expected to be 3 to 4 times larger than our traditional conference, giving MMA members unprecedented opportunities to meet, share, learn, and collaborate with museum professionals across the country without ever leaving The Mitten.
Worried about missing your Michigan colleagues? Don’t be. MMA has several MMA-specific events planned that will help you get connected. Keep watching our blog for more information.
Our 2015 gathering in Ann Arbor was unforgettable. We hope to see you again in Detroit this year!
The conference theme, "The Spirit of Rebirth," is relevant to all of us
The Spirit of Rebirth is about revitalizing ourselves and our practice in response to our changing world. As professionals, our collective responsibility to the future of museums is greater than the differences of our individual subject areas. Whether a history museum or a science center, museums today are faced the same opportunities and puzzles: the desire to be partners with our communities; the expectation that our collecting practices and exhibition choices reflect the diversity and embrace the individuality of our visitors; and the quest for sustainable funding sources and equitable hiring practices. Just to name a few!
MMA conferences always provide a space for this dialogue, but this year an even greater number of passionate and creative museum minds from unique institutions nationwide will be at the table, too. Let's come together in the "Spirit of Rebirth" and pave a new path with a brighter future.
I hope to see you in Detroit this September!
Detroit Institute of Arts
MMA Communications Team Member