One of my favorite parts of attending the MMA conference is seeing what other Michigan museums are doing, so I love going to sessions that highlight the great work of our colleagues and their institutions. At this year’s joint MMA/AASLH conference, there will be no shortage of opportunities to hear from Michigan institutions at the eight sessions that were hand-picked by MMA.
AASLH has put together a wonderful program of sessions and activities, but we wanted to be sure that our MMA members had full access to the depth of resources a national organization like AASLH could provide. So our MMA Programs Team sat down and hand-picked eight sessions that represent the theme of a “Spirit of Rebirth” and could really offer something special to the multifaceted community of museum professionals in Michigan.
Every session proposal we read was fantastic (I know people always say that—but it’s really true this time!) and it took a very long conference call to get the sessions narrowed down. We are very proud of the place these MMA sessions hold in the AASLH program, so if you’re thinking that this year’s conference will be full of national-level sessions that may not apply to you, think again!
When you get your conference program, you can find the MMA sessions by looking for the MMA logo next to the session description. But until then, here’s a taste of what you can expect:
Making the Most of Your Local Resources: Reimagining NEH Support for Small and Local Organizations
How can small organizations and local projects access new scholarship, employ best practices, and leverage community relationships? Discover successes and struggles of projects endeavoring to engage communities and preserve local history with NEH support. Explore new NEH initiatives designed for underserved populations, telling local stories, and supporting small organizations.
Art│History: Crossing Disciplinary Borders to Make an Exhibition
This panel discussion will explore how interdisciplinary connections can foster new ways to interpret art. The panelists will discuss the Detroit Institute of Arts’ 2015 exhibition Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit, reflecting on successes and missed opportunities that resulted as the fields of art history, obstetrics, psychology, and history intersected.
In Sounds from Over and Out
Sound is an important part of the museum experience. Experts in the field will discuss innovation through history of sound in museum settings. Participants will learn tricks of the trade to use sound to intrigue audiences, engage millennials and make sound an integral part of the museum experience.
Creating Connection through Creative Expression
Midwest and Metropolitan Group are leading a national effort to build public will for creative expression by connecting it with people’s deeply-held values. This session will explore this initiative’s research findings, our theory of change, and how pilots are implementing messaging and recommendations to create long-term change.
Revitalize Your Museum with IMLS Funding
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) provides funding for museum activities including exhibitions, collections management, and programs. This session will provide an overview of grant programs and demystify the application process with practical examples of what makes a competitive application from museum peers.
Connecting with Great Lakes Maritime Heritage through Participation, Partnerships, and Publicity
How does your institution generate sustained engagement from diverse audiences? In this session, maritime archaeologists and educators from northeast Michigan's Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary explore their team's proven success in engaging audiences with interactive participation, inclusive partnerships, and innovative publicity.
The Power of Museum Theater to Engage Audiences
In the spirit of rebirth, some sites turn to museum theater for its power to make people, events, and issues from the past relevant and to stimulate dialogue. This session will explore the ideas and research supporting museum theatre and provide activities and strategies for its use.
Working with Foundations
Foundations can be an important source of funding for museums. In this session, presenters will focus on various aspects of museum-foundation relationships.
We hope you’ll join your colleagues in Detroit for this year’s joint conference. See you there!
George A. Smathers Libraries
MMA Communications Team
P.S. We were so excited about this topic that we decided to break up this week's blog into two posts. Come back tomorrow for Part II!