My first AAM conference was #AAM2010 in Los Angeles. Yes, there was a hashtag (and it wasn’t nearly as popular as #AAM2014). I had been to LA before – which helped keep me focused – but was in awe of the conference experience. I had never been surrounded by so many museum people. At that conference I attended a session on Developing History Leaders @SHA, danced at the Grammy Museum, managed to snag a ticket to the American Idol finale (while meeting several American Idol alums – it was a big deal, I promise!), and took so many notes I thought my hands were going to fall off. It was amazing.
I have since attended Houston, Baltimore, and most recently Seattle – with several other acronymed conferences in between. What I’ve learned over the years is that while conferences revolve places, themes, and ideas – what makes them possible, and worthwhile, is people. Making connections and simply saying hello is always the highlight of my conference experience.
Lucky for me, there were plenty of museum bloggers attending #AAM2014 – and I made a point to meet, connect, and reconnect with as many as I could. Of the current #MuseumBlogger profiles, who presented?
- Ed Rodley – “I wish somebody had told me…”
- Gretchen Jennings – Design’s Impact on Visitor Engagement; The Empathetic Museum
- Leah Melber – A Word of Advice: Careers in Museum Education; Innovative Exchange Projects Link Communities and Cultures
- Linda Norris – Can Constraints Make You More Creative?
Sessions weren’t the only places to catch up with museum bloggers! There was no shortage of meet-ups, tweet-ups, and happy hours. The folks at Incluseum organized a happy hour – unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend. However, I had the great pleasure of running into Valeria of #svegliamuseo and Adrianne Russell of Cabinet of Curiosities in between sessions and managed to organize an informal (and very early morning) museum blogger meet-up. Who showed up?
- Annelisa Stephan – The Getty
- Chris O’Connor – Royal BC Museum
- Ed Rodley – Thinking About Museums
- Jennifer Foley – Runs with Visitors
- Kellian Adams – Green Door Labs
- Max A. van Balgooy – Engaging Places
- Rowanne Henry – Museum Stories
- Scott Tennet – Unframed
Ed may not be in the group shot but I promise he was there!
I left Seattle feeling energized – and I’d like to thank everyone I met for that. I’m proud to be a part of the #MuseumBlogger community. What we do is important. Our blogs, Twitter handles, and LinkedIn profiles keep us connected online but we need to make the extra effort to connect in person when the opportunity presents itself – even if it’s just coffee. Thank you for your energy, inspiration, and appreciation for swag (interested in receiving an “I’m a #MuseumBlogger” button? Shoot me an email!).
In the meantime, keep up the good work and let me know if you plan to be in St. Paul for #AASLH2014 this fall.