Thursday, May 19, 2011

Your Annual Meeting Concierge: Recommendations for Sunday

Back when I was an attendee (rather than host) at the AAM annual meeting, I always found the first day to be the most challenging. I hadn’t plotted my course through the final program yet, and would find myself making last minute decisions on the fly. Then, curled up in bed with the program that night, I’d second-guess my choices.

To help you avoid “first day” syndrome, in today’s post I’m sharing the fantasy lineup of sessions I’d go to Sunday if I weren’t teaching the all-day CFM forecasting workshop—where I hope to see some of you! Here ‘tis, in case you want ideas for filling up your dance card on the first day of sessions:

I’d LOVE to attend the 2 p.m. On-site Insight by Project Rowhouse on Integrating Arts & Culture into Neighborhoods. Is Project Rowhouse a museum? Who cares! This brilliant organization embodies the approach of “doing whatever needs to be done” to help a neighborhood, without getting hung up on whether that includes stuff a “museum” does or doesn’t do. (c.f. the recently launched Campaign for the Abolition of Nouns.)

However, if I stuck around the convention center for the afternoon, at 1:15 p.m. I’d be in room 372E for Future of Exhibiting: Voices from Non-traditional Museums. I want to hear Maria Mortati of the SF Mobile Museum talk about expanding beyond a museum’s four walls. (Also, any session chaired by Paul Orselli is going to be good. Do you follow his blog? You should.)

At 2:45 p.m., I’d head to room 332B to hear Selma Thomas lead a discussion on Building Staff for the Museum of Tomorrow. I’m intrigued to see in the session description that they are going to talk about “hiring from the local base”—a step I suspect many museums will find necessary to build a staff that truly reflects their own community and help attract more diverse audiences.

I’m going to surprise you with my 4:15 pick—bet you thought I would go for the session on smart phone apps. Which I am sure will be great, but the future isn’t all about technology. I think I’d head for room 351B where Linda Norris (among others) will look at the future Role of Narrative in the Museum. (Linda blogs at the Uncatalogued Museum--your futurist concierge suggests adding that to your blogroll, too.) Museums are, and I think always will be about stories and memories. How may this play out in different ways in coming decades, and what will endure?

Once MuseumExpo opens (noon, Monday) I’ll spend most of my time there. Look for me in the AAM Showcase, tending to the installation by Tracy Hicks, this year’s CFM artist-in-residence, and the Houston Future Studies program’s “Ask a Futurist” booth. This means I will get to meet many of you (yay!) but won’t get to many sessions (boo). Please stop by for a visit, tell me which sessions you’ve gone to and how they are shaping your view of the future!

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