2020 Conference Teams

MMA uses a group of teams to organize the different elements of the conference. Each team is led by a different MMA member, most of whom have been involved in conference planning in the past. Members come from the MMA membership. 

Teams "meet" online and via a monthly conference call/video. We use Basecamp, an online project management tool, to coordinate the various teams.  Most teams have a conference call about once a month. Time commitment varies by team. 

All conference team members are also part of the ALL conference team on Basecamp, and are invited to participate in a monthly conference update call/video.  Participation in this call is not mandatory, but is a fun way to keep up with all the news. Notes from the call are also posted on the Basecamp. 

The 2020 conference teams (and their leads) are:

  • Programs (Melanie Parker): Coordinates sessions, conversation stations, and museum café and helps with speakers.
  • Events (Ashley Ross): Coordinates the three evening receptions, tours, helps with the lunches and coordinates Trivia Night.
  • Revenue (Louise Stewart Beck): Coordinates sponsorships, advertisements, and vendors.
  • Recognition (Regina Gorham): Coordinates the Scholarship and Awards programs. 

MMA staff will coordinate communications and Conference Central

Teams do have size limits, so expression of interest is not an automatic add to the team. But we will find a place for everyone who is interested in being involved with the conference. 

See below for more information about specific teams. 

Sign up to volunteer here. 


The purpose of the Programs Team is to develop a robust, dynamic conference program that satisfies the needs and expectations of the MMA membership. The Programs Team has three primary responsibilities: 

Concurrent Sessions

  • Five concurrent sessions will take place in each of five different time slots, for a total of 25 concurrent sessions.
  • The Programs Team coordinates the call for proposals, the review and selection of sessions, maintaining communication with session presenters, and facilitating conference evaluation during the conference. 

Conversation Stations

  • Conversation Stations are exhibits/tables hosted by professionals from museums around the state and feature a variety of topics and projects. The goal is to spark dialogue and new ideas, gain feedback from peers, and/or find partnerships.
  • Programs Team responsibilities include the development of the call for proposals, the review and selection of stations, communication with station facilitators, and having eyes-on the setup at the conference.

Museum Café

  • The museum café occurs during the conference in the general session space and brings small groups of people together to have conversations around various topics relevant to museum work.
  • The Programs Team selects the starting topics and facilitates the session. 


  • Two keynotes will provide food for thought on the conference theme.
  • The Programs Team will assist with coordinating the keynotes if needed (depends on the keynote). 

Time commitment:

The Programs Team has one 30-60 minute team planning phone call per month. There is also one update phone call per month will all volunteers from all conference teams. 

Because the Programs Team oversees several different aspects of the conference, the team is broken into subcommittees assigned to specific tasks to better distribute the work. This means that each subcommittee will have months where there is more work to accomplish, and months of down time where their only responsibility is to join the team call. 

We anticipate that the team will be busiest between February and April and in September and October. 

Skills and/or experience desired/Requirements: 

  • Professionals and volunteers from museums of all concentrations, sizes, and counties around the state.
  • Individuals with experience or interest in facilitating programs with large groups of people (logistics, anticipating needs, communication etc.)
  • Creative, out-of-the-box, flexible thinkers
  • Knowledge of the issues and topics most relevant to the field right now

Melanie Parker is the lead for the Programs Team.

Recognition Team

The Recognition Team helps coordinate the annual awards as well as any scholarship programs. 


  • MMA presents several awards each year including the Volunteer Award, President's Award, Peninsulas Prize and Outreach Programming. A digital engagement award may also be added this year. 
  • Recognition Team members will help coordinate the nominations process for the Peninsulas Prize and Outreach Programming awards, as well as any new awards.
  • Team members will help with recipient communication and support.

Member Scholarships

  • Scholarships provide complimentary registration for members who may otherwise not be able to attend the conference. Funds for the scholarship are collected through the annual scholarship appeal, which is conducted by the MMA Board and staff each spring. 
  • Recognition Team members will assist with recipient selection and support at the conference. 

Student Scholarships

  • Scholarships may provide complimentary registration for students  and small travel stipend. Funds have typically come from a single sponsor. 
  • Recognition Team members will assist with recipient selection and support at the conference. 

Skills and/or experience desired/Requirements: 

  • Experience with award selection and/or presentations.
  • Experience with evaluation or award/grant or other similar application processes.  

Regina Gorham is the lead for the Recognition Team. 

Sign up to volunteer here


The  Events Team creates opportunities for conference members to connect and network with one another through one-of-a-kind experiences that highlight local organizations and our own MMA community. We provide these engagement opportunities through the following venues:

Evening Receptions

  • Local museums and venues open their doors to to provide a relaxed networking setting while showcasing their own exhibits and programs.
  • The Events Team coordinates with host organizations to ensure the receptions are memorable and to provide on-site support during the reception
  • Local organizations provide unique, behind-the-scenes tours offered exclusively to MMA conference attendees. This is a great way to explore the host city through the lens of our museum colleagues that reside there.
  • The Events Team is responsible for coordinating the Call for Tours and selection, arranging for transportation, communication with tour hosts, and on-site support during the conference
  • The Annual Awards Lunch and Business Meeting Lunch are both great opportunities to hear about all the wonderful things our organization and members have been up to!
  • The Events Team coordinates with the MMA Executive Director and the Recognition Team lead to support lunch planning and provides on-site support during the conference
Trivia Night
  • The 2018 conference tested a Trivia Night element to great success. The event will take place after the Thursday evening reception at the hotel or conference center.
  • The Events Team will plan the event including selecting the questions, judges and Emcee, and location. 

Skills and/or experience desired/Requirements: 

Experience in education, event planning, visitor engagement, or programming are good fits for the Events Team. Plan on attending at least one conference call a month. We're busy planning and organizing events during February-May, and then making final arrangements and providing on-site assistance September through the conference.

Ashley Ross is the lead for the Events Team.

Sign up to volunteer here

Revenue Team

The Revenue Team helps provide the financial infrastructure to support the conference and ensure its affordability and all-inclusive status. 


  • Conference sponsors provide generous conference funding and as a result receive exposure and access to conference attendees.
  • Revenue Team members will contact returning sponsors as well as help identify and contact new possible sponsors. 
  • Revenue Team members will help with some sponsor communications leading up to the conference.


  • The printed conference program provides organizations and businesses a way to support the conference and build awareness for their services or programs. 
  • Revenue Team members contact former advertisers and help identify and contact new possible advertisers. 
  • Revenue Team members may help with some advertiser communications. 


  • Businesses and organizations that provide services to museums have the opportunity to display information and meet with conference participants during one day of the conference. Space is limited to 10 vendors.
  • Revenue Team members help contact former vendors and help identify and contact new possible vendors. 
  • Revenue Team members provide on-site support during the vendor day. 
Skills and/or experience desired/Requirements: 
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to advocate on behalf of MMA to the business community that supports museums. 
  • Attention to detail.

Louise Stewart Beck is the lead for the Revenue Team.

Sign up to volunteer here

MMA is a member organization, and we expect all volunteers to be either designated staff as part of an institutional membership or individual members.  

This makes it possible to use Basecamp to coordinate projects and volunteer efforts. It also ensures that there is enough structure to the organization to support volunteers and ongoing projects.  

If you do not know if your institution is a member or if you are a designated staff as part of an institutional membership, please contact the MMA office.

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721      lcbrisson@michiganmuseums.org

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