Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Future of Conferences, cont.

I blogged last year about AAM’s steps to “go green” with its annual meeting. Fact is, we may face a future in which professional conferences are profoundly different because of heightened sensitivity to travel’s ecological impacts as well as its high cost.

This year, AAM is taking another incremental step in adapting to such a future—offering Virtual Conference 2010 for museum practitioners unable to schlep to Los Angeles. This two-day, online conference showcases nine sessions selected by AAM’s Standing Professional Committees as having the greatest relevance to their constituencies. The registration fee (AAM members $199, Non-members $299) about equals the cost of one plane fare, and one registration fee entitles 10 people to access the conference. (Even virtual conferences can involve participation in live, local groups!)

In case you are wondering—no, it isn’t a live broadcast, exactly. That would be too nerve-wracking (for us, at least.) The presenters of these sessions have kindly agreed to repeat their presentations in a separate broadcast room for quality control. Trust me, it’s better this way.

Fittingly, the second session of the virtual conference, (Monday May 24, 9:15-10:30 a.m. PST) is “Innovative Technology: Breaking down Barriers between the Physical and Virtual Museum Experience.” Chair Charles Katzenmeyer, VP for External Affairs at the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago will shepherd presentations by Carl Hamm of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and Natural History, Amy Ritter Cowen of the Shedd Aquarium, and Anne Haskel.

So, I wonder, how does one break down the barriers between the physical and virtual conference experience? One way is to follow reports on the blog and tweet-o-sphere about the goings-on. You can follow news about the conference on Twitter by searching on #AAM10. You can read posts on the http://aam10.wordpress.com/ annual meeting blog as well as posts by other bloggers attending the meeting, such as James Leventhal, writing at WestMuse, Maria Mortati at Museums Now and Allyson Lazar, at Two Ls and a Y. (Please add your blog address to “comments” on this post if you will be blogging or tweeting from LA as well!)
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And, after the conference, look for the video being produced by The Pinky Show based on interviews with attendees on the future of museums. (We will also post photographs of Pinky’s installation of artifacts from future museums.)

All that said, I hope to (actually) see you in LA!