We are counting down the final weeks to the conference this fall and it’s my turn to share the reasons I’m enthusiastic about the gathering and all the ways that MMA members can find each other and be together.
I am so excited for MMA to be part of the conference with the American Association for State and Local History! The conference program includes topics that are relevant for all types of museums and so many of the people involved in presenting sessions are leaders in the field. It is going to be great to have all those talented folks on our home turf!
And speaking of having folks on our home turf, it is going to be so much fun showing off! As a non-native, I know that I didn’t really understand how many incredible museums there were in Michigan until I moved here. It will be so cool to hear how impressed everyone is with their tours and at the events.
So sure, it will be neat to be part of a bigger conference, but I know we’ll have plenty of MMA time as well. Several conference planning teams have been hard at work all year to plan events and experiences to help MMA members find and spend time together.
The first place to find MMA is at the cool lounge we will have in the atrium outside of the exhibitor’s hall. The MMA lounge will have seating areas so you can catch up with old friends, as well as several different kinds of activities to connect with colleagues you might not know already. Also part of the lounge will be some mini-Museum Café sessions. This popular MMA conference regular feature, which allows people to “speed date” thought different topics of conversation, will take place during the 9:45 am break time on both Thursday and Friday. I’ll be at the lounge throughout most of the conference, so I hope a lot of people stop by to say hello and see each other.
The lounge will be great but we also wanted members to be able to find each other throughout the entire conference. To this end, members can pick up an MMA pin from me at the lounge or at the evening events. This pin, which is the MMA logo, will be available for all current individual and business members and those listed on institutional memberships. MMA members will always be able to find a friendly Michigan face in the crowd if they look for the colorful speech bubbles.
Look for your fellow MMA members wearing this pin!
But wait! We don’t just have a space and something to identify us to each other. We also have several events where you can come together. The traditional MMA Pub Crawl will be on Thursday night and has been expanded to include AASLH members if they’d like. We’ll all start at the bar at the hotel, but then break into smaller groups for a Choose Your Own Adventure to visit several pre-determined locations. Each of these places will have MMA members “parked” there (with an MMA sign, of course) so as new people come into the bar, they know where to go. It might be a bit crazy if half the conference shows up, but it will definitely be fun.
A conference favorite, you won't want to miss this year's pub crawl!
Two events on Friday will give MMA members a chance to come together and feel the Michigan museum love. At noon, the MMA Awards lunch will include the presentation of the President’s Award, the MMA Volunteer Award, and the Peninsula’s Prize. Registration is required for this paid event.
At 1:00, all MMA members are invited to attend the MMA Annual Meeting. Registration is not needed for this free event. At the meeting, MMA leadership will give reports about what we’ve been up to, as well as some new projects that will be starting this fall. And if that alone isn’t enough to entice everyone to come, there will also be fabulous Michigan-y door prizes. I’m bringing fudge.
There is no word yet on whether there will be a secret MMA handshake at the conference, but we definitely won’t be hard to find. I can’t wait to see all of you there!
Lisa Craig Brisson
Michigan Museums Association