MMA Blog

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  • September 25, 2017 8:27 AM | Anonymous member

    Post by Shannon Pinkster, Historic Charlton Park

    Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to 2012 – the first time I attended the annual MMA conference. I’d gotten my first, full-time, “big-kid” job only months before, and I was afraid to attend the conference. I’m not the most outgoing. so I didn’t think I’d meet anyone. Boy was I wrong!  I left that conference with new ideas, new friends, and a LOT of great stories.

    Can you see the fear behind the smile? This isn't my first conference, but I was just as terrified to drive to Detroit for the 2016 conference during rush hour!

    Fast-forward to today. This is now my SIXTH consecutive year attending the conference and my second as part of the planning committee. Why do I give you my MMA backstory? I want to tell you the reasons that I continue to attend the conference and, hopefully, convince you to come too!

    Museum people are nerds, and I mean that in the best way (I’m still trying to get #gatheringofcoolnerds to take off!). The conference is a place for us to congregate, get a fresh perspective on our field, and “nerd out” without the side-eye from our family and friends. I am eager to visit the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan History Museum, and the MSU Museum during the evening receptions. And the line-up for the Wednesday afternoon tours all sound AMAZING.

    There is so much we can learn from each other. MMA does a great job of curating the conference program to cover a wide range of topics, so there is something for everyone. There are always so many great sessions to attend. I’m super pumped about this year’s slate of speakers and topics. The titles of the keynote addresses by Juanita Moore (President and CEO, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History) and John Capecci (Author, Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference) are captivating! With the current climate, any opportunity to validate each other and our field is great. What we do is important!

    A great keynote address from Dr. Tonya Matthews at the 2015 conference.

    The conference is empowering. As I said earlier, I’m not the most outgoing, nor am I the most confident. In 2014, however, I was invited to present with colleagues from three other institutions. I was terrified, but it was also one of the best experiences of my life. It was one of those moments where I thought, “I do know what I’m doing, and I’m doing a good job!” MMA does a great job of empowering its members, especially through the Awards Lunch, where colleagues are recognized for their leadership and good deeds in the museum community.

    Museum people are also the COOLEST, both in and out of their respective institutions. Coming to the conference is an opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives – a lot happens in the 10+ months between conferences! Marriages, houses, babies – oh my! We’re one big, happy, geeky family. The breaks between sessions, meals, and the infamous pub crawl are spent checking in with old friends on how life is outside of work. 

    The lovely ladies of Historic Charlton Park at #AASLHMMA2016

    There are only a few days left to register for the conference – the cutoff is October 3. If you’ve never been to one of the conferences, maybe nerves are preventing you from clicking here to register online,  or licking the envelope and dropping your registration in the mail. Take a chance and join us. Trust me, it’s worth it!

    See you soon!

    Shannon Pinkster

    Historic Charlton Park

    MMA Communications Committee

  • September 11, 2017 2:31 PM | Anonymous member

    Post by Heather Moore, Applewood Estate

    The Michigan Museums Association 2017 Conference is less than two months away, and while many of our conference teams do a lot of their work before the big event, the Conference Central Team is just gearing up. We’re the behind the scenes team. Our job will be providing support to the other teams to ensure sessions, stations, breaks, lunches, and audio-visual needs are all running smoothly, and if all goes well, you’ll hardly even notice us.

    This year the conference will be hosted at the Radisson Hotel, a site that offers a wonderfully central location in Lansing, situated only two blocks away from the Michigan State Capitol and across the street from the Grand River. Impression 5 Science Center is just over the river, as is the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum. If the weather is good, be sure to wander along the Lansing River Trail while you’re in town!

    What to Expect | TUESDAY, October 17th

    After the pre-conference workshop, Becoming a Champion for Museums, registration will be open at the Radisson from 5:00pm to 6:00pm—just before the opening reception at the incredible Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the Michigan State University campus. Though some of you may not be around all day on Tuesday, our team will be setting up and preparing for Wednesday’s busy morning.


    What to Expect | WEDNESDAY, October 18th

    The first “big” day of the conference will be action-packed! Registration opens at 8:00am with coffee and vendors available at 8:30am. Be sure to visit us at the registration table to check in and pick up your name tags and tote bags (lovingly filled by the team with goodies from our great sponsors and donors)! We also have a question of the day to get your synapses firing while your morning coffee tries to kick in. Once you’ve had a chance to say hello, our first keynote presentation will begin at 9:00am. Check out Melanie Parker's post "Sharing our Story" for more information on Juanita Moore's presentation. 

    From there, the day will be a flurry of activity: sessions, breaks, the awards luncheon, more sessions, and a fantastic variety of local tours. The Conference Central Team will be helping with all of it, happy to direct you to your next session, help you find your way to your tour’s meeting place, or just making sure the audio-visual equipment is working properly.

    The evening’s reception will be held at the Michigan History Center from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. We have invited representatives and delegates from around the state to join us for the reception in hopes that you are able to connect one-on-one with your local legislators. With the conference theme of advocacy, we hope this will enable you to speak directly with your representatives about your organizations, communities, and the importance of museums in general. The Advocacy and Conference Central Teams will be prepared for questions about identifying your legislators.

    At 8:00pm, it’s time to celebrate a great day of advocacy and camaraderie with a Lansing pub crawl, starting and ending at the hotel.

    What to Expect | THURSDAY, October 19th

    Today’s registration opens at 8:15am. You’ll want to be sure to get good seats for keynote John Capecci’s presentation “Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference”. Drawn from his highly regarded book of the same name, Capecci’s presentation is sure to get you inspired for the conference’s second day. Swing by the registration table to check out a new question of the day

    Once again, the day will be filled with sessions and breaks, this time with more opportunities to discuss your ideas with other museum professionals. The Conference Central Team will help prepare for a series of conversation stations around the area where you are welcome to drop-in with facilitators and other attendees for feedback or ideas on a project you’ve had in mind. Conversation stations will get you pumped up for the afternoon’s Museum Café, where you will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of topics and discuss or brainstorm further with others in an informal setting. (Don’t forget to join us for lunch before this and hear about next year’s conference location!)

    After another inspiring day, the conference will wrap up with our closing reception at the Michigan State University Museum. Join us as the iconic Beaumont Tower next door chimes 5:00 and reflect back on yet another amazing conference. 

    The Conference Central Team will be there to assist in every way, so register today!

    Heather Moore

    Conference Central Team Leader

  • August 29, 2017 8:25 AM | Anonymous member

    Post by Ranti Junus of Michigan State University

    When it comes to MMA conference attendees, I'm a bit different from the rest; I do not work in a museum. I am, in fact, a librarian at Michigan State University Libraries. Specifically, I am the Electronic Resources Librarian, supporting the design of and organization access to electronic library materials, including purchased databases, the online catalog, and other digital resources.


    Considering this, why, then, do I attend the MMA Annual Conference? Well, I am also the library liaison/subject specialist for the Museum Studies Program here at MSU. My role as liaison includes assessing and collecting library resources (books, e-books, journals, and databases) that support the teaching and learning for this program. I meet with our Museum Studies faculty and discuss their syllabus and resource needs, and work to make sure our students have access to these resources with no problem. During the semester, I usually visit the class and lead a library introduction for the students on how to utilize the library collections for their course needs. A couple of faculty even let me attend the course regularly, so I can be ready when the needs arise. The other advantage is, of course, learning more about topics and issues in the museum field. This, in turn, helps me to reassess our library collection and suggest additions, if needed. I concluded that going to a museum conference is something I must do in order to learn more about the field, current trends, and topics that interest museum professionals. MMA is, of course, the logical choice. 

    I have attended the MMA conference for several years now and always come back with tons of great information and ideas. The knowledge shared through the presentations, regarding both theory and implementation, have been very helpful in providing more context on how a certain topic or issue could be addressed. The MMA Conference Programs Committee always ensures that various perspectives from various kinds of museums and institutions are represented. I have learned a lot about exhibit development, collections policy, visitor studies, and assessment. My favorite section, though, has been the student papers. It's great to see our future scholars and practitioners presenting their projects and papers; I learned how they picked a project and their approach to work on it. The conference has helped me to be more aware of the issues surrounding the museum field and has allowed me to make a better decision on which resources I'd need to add for our library collections. 


    I'm looking forward to connecting with and learning from many of you at the upcoming conference! Registration is still open! Learn more here.

  • August 21, 2017 8:26 AM | Anonymous member

    Post by Melanie Parker, Detroit Institute of Arts

    When we began to shape this year’s conference program in late 2016, our first big decision was the conference theme. With our state’s capital as the conference destination, the theme was obvious: advocacy. As months passed and conversations about funding threats to IMLS, NEA, and NEH crept into our many planning meetings, this theme felt all the more urgent.

    But advocacy needed something more. While the word might be easy to define, it is perhaps more difficult to articulate what museum advocacy actually looks like. In a changing and sometimes unpredictable world, how can museums be advocates for their communities? How can museums advocate for themselves?

    As we considered the mechanisms of museum advocacy, we kept circling back to the idea of sharing stories. Connecting people with stories is a critical component of advocacy—it’s how you gain buy-in and support for your institution.

    If you asked MMA members whether museums are important, you’d likely hear a resounding “yes,” followed by a long list of reasons why. But our value is not always as obvious to those outside the field on whom we rely for support: our governments, our funders, and even to our visitors and communities. To gain support, we need to talk about how we are serving and who we are serving.

    But our advocacy responsibility cannot stop with ourselves. To ensure we are serving our public genuinely, we must share and advocate for the stories of our communities, our world, and of humanity, past and present—through the staff we hire, the objects we collect and preserve, and our exhibits and programs.

    In Lansing, we’ll explore together all of the responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges that accompany our role as the sharers of stories. We’re honored to host two fantastic keynote speakers who will get these conversations started each day:

    Wednesday, October 18

    Voice of the Community: Our Opportunity, Our Obligation

    Juanita Moore is the President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. In her keynote address, Ms. Moore will explore the long history of African American museums as community institutions—and how all museums can follow their lead to better represent the communities they serve. Attendees will get a close look at an example of one of The Wright’s recent projects—the year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion.

    Ms. Moore has nearly 40 years of museum experience. In 2014, the Association of African American Museums presented her with the Dr. John E. Fleming Award for lifetime achievement. Ms. Moore was last year’s recipient of the MMA President’s Award.

    Thursday, October 19

    Advocacy Stories Within Us

    John Capecci, Ph.D., is a communication consultant and coach who helps nonprofits nationwide define their brands, develop their key messages and mobilize their advocates. Mr. Capecci will share how the power of lived experience can be harnessed to engage others in our advocacy messages and how we all can become advocates for the institutions, communities and causes we care about. 

    Mr. Capecci launched his company, Capecci Communications, more than twenty years ago and co-authored Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference in 2012. A lifelong museum advocate and local history buff, John lives in Minneapolis where he volunteers as researcher at a local history museum and serves on boards of several cultural organizations.

    The keynote speakers and sessions will undoubtedly spark rich conversations about the many components of museum advocacy. However, conference attendees will have the chance to do more than just talk; our planning team has been busy developing opportunities to actually participate in advocacy activities during the conference. Keep an eye on our blog to learn more! 

    See you in Lansing! 

    Melanie Parker
    Detroit Institute of Arts

  • August 07, 2017 8:33 AM | Anonymous member

    Post by Julia Toro, Detroit Institute of Arts

    Think back on the past few months. Have you had the chance to connect with any museum colleagues outside of your organization? If you’re reading this blog, you have probably attended the Michigan Museums Association annual conference at least once. The conference is a great way to network and engage with other MMA members, but it’s not the only opportunity to do so. MMA also organizes numerous workshops throughout the year as well as informal Meet and Eat Lunches, where attendees can network while enjoying good food. If you’re looking to meet other museum professionals or learn something new during the month of August, the following events might be just what you’re looking for:

    A Meet and Eat Lunch is being held at the Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet on August 16, 2017. This event is open to museum staff, volunteers, and students and provides an opportunity for local colleagues, MMA members, and MMA board members to learn from each other in a casual setting. Lunch is free but registration is required as space is limited. As an added bonus, lunch will be followed by a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Keweenaw History Center. If you’re nearby and interested in learning more about MMA or just want to meet colleagues from the area sign up today! Learn more about the event and register to attend here. Register by August 8th

    2015 Meet and Eat in Grand Rapids

    Looking to learn something new from colleagues with specialized experience? MMA is offering two awesome workshops in August:

    Understanding Your Audience and Effective Survey Design will help you understand the information you currently collect about your visitors and what else you might do to truly connect with your audience. This workshop will take place on August 15th in Ishpeming at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and will be led by Sarah Cohn and Al Onkka from Aurora Consulting. The registration fee includes coffee, lunch, and materials. Learn more here. Registration closes soon (August 7th) so don’t miss the chance to participate!

    Visitor Experiences is being held at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit on August 29th. Sarah Waters from the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Lisa Craig Brisson from the Michigan Museums Association will run the workshop. This one is now sold out but don’t worry, if you missed out this time this popular workshop will be offered again in the future. Find the event page here.

    There is so much we can learn from our colleagues and events like this give us a rare chance to learn from others outside of our own organization. If none of the August events are in your area or you are otherwise unable to participate, keep an eye on the events calendar to learn about other MMA events happening near you in the future. 

    Julia Toro

    MMA Communications Team

  • August 01, 2017 1:05 PM | Anonymous member

    Post by Samantha Engel, Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation

    I entered the museum field by happenstance. Having left a PhD program in American history without a real plan of what I would do next, I applied for a lot of jobs over the course of nine months and finally received the one job offer that I never imagined I would actually receive; I became the Executive Director of the Whaley Historic House Museum. I dove into research about museum practice, public history theory, and historic house museum case studies, and I partook in a variety of workshops. I began my job in April and attended my first Michigan Museums Association conference that fall.

    Last year's joint conference with AASLH offered so many learning opportunities!

    I loved this experience. The opportunities it presented to learn from colleagues in sessions, during meals, and in various interactive activities were priceless. As someone who had no background in museum work, I saw all of the attendees as fountains of knowledge who brought with them their own training, background, and experiences that I could learn from. This is why, years later, I not only continue to attend the MMA annual conference but actively participate. I will be presenting for a second time this year and this is also my second year on the planning committee. That’s how important I think it is!

    By attending the MMA annual conference I can count on a variety of things. Most importantly, I know that there will be incredible learning opportunities. Whether they are structured sessions or workshop presentations, or they are unscripted opportunities to connect with colleagues during coffee hour, at lunch, or at one of the conference events (tours, pub crawl, reception), these moments are what make the conference experience. It is easy to read about theory and practice, but hearing from others who have the same problems, or have already piloted a program similar to one you had been conceiving allows you to obtain an inside scoop not found in the pages of a text.

    MMA conferences have been such an important part of my own professional development that I am always urging others to attend. Many of these individual are current college students or recent graduates considering work in the museum field. I think of conferences as a kind of “Choose Your Own Adventure” experience where you can craft a schedule for yourself that can focus on sessions that suit your interests, areas you want to improve upon, or sample from a wide array of topics. This is perfect for someone looking to dip their toes into the world of museum work.

    I could not be happier with my decision to enter into the world of public history and museums. It was definitely scary at first, but once I found the wonderful support network of MMA I knew I could count on my colleagues for words of wisdom and plenty of emotional support. You can still register here!

    Samantha Engel

    MMA Conference Communications Team

  • July 27, 2017 1:06 PM | Anonymous member

    Post by Lisa Craig Brisson, Michigan Museums Association

    One of my favorite parts of our MMA conferences is lunch. Since so much of what we do at MMA is one on one, in smaller groups, or online, It is wonderful to have an opportunity to look out over a sea of faces who make us who we are – from members to donors, and program participants to volunteers.  At lunch, we all get together! 

    2014 Conference, Mackinac Island

    Unlike many other museum conferences, meals and events are not add-ons at ours.  It’s temping for us to split off lunches and receptions too.  They are usually the most expensive elements of a conference and we know that other organizations use these activities as an additional source of income. But one of the major goals of the MMA conference, and everything else we do for that matter, is engagement.  We work to bring the Michigan museum community together because we know that when that happens, great things result. We want as many people as possible to be able to participate in as much of the conference as possible. So tempting as it may be to do otherwise, we keep the cost of the lunch included in the regular registration so that everyone can attend.

    Lunch is a different kind of experience than the rest of the conference. When you are sitting at a table with people and sharing a meal, it feels more relaxed than during the rest of the day. It is easier to connect with new people when you are sitting together for a little while. I find MMA conference lunches to be delightfully loud and there is usually a lot of laughter. 

    We try and make the program at the lunches meaningful as well.  For the past several years, we have used the lunch on the first day of the conference to present awards. I am always so inspired by the work being done throughout the state, and it is wonderful to hear from those being recognized.  In the midst of several days of focusing on what we can be doing better, it is nice to spend a few moments recognizing what has been done well.

    Nancy Bryk receives a 2015 award

    The second lunch is always all about MMA.  We have our required business meeting, but the board infuses their own sense of humor in the whole affair so hopefully it is more fun than boring.  It also helps that MMA is doing well, so we have lots of good things to report.  Finally, it is always fun to announce the location and dates of the next conference. It’s never too early to begin planning for next time!

    This year’s lunches promise to be as good as those in other years.  On Wednesday, we are excited to present three awards for leadership and service to individuals and organizations that are well deserving. I can’t say who will be getting them, but I am very excited about it. On Thursday we will hear from the MMA Board of Directors. It’s always fun to see how Bruce Lynn, MMA Treasurer, will make us laugh – something I am not sure usually happens in most Treasurer’s Reports. Unfortunately, he and several other beloved board members will be rotating off, but several new members will be elected, so it’s not all sadness.  And even though we are still just in the very early stages of planning, the 2018 conference is beginning to take shape and it will be great to be able to share the location and dates for that conference. 

    I am pretty sure that on the conference schedule, the lunches look like some of the most boring parts, but I know that is not true.  I am looking forward to another chance to bring everyone together to share a meal and hopefully a few laughs.  

  • July 18, 2017 12:35 PM | Anonymous member

    Post by Julia Toro of the Detroit Institute of Arts and Samantha Engel of Dow Gardens

    There are so many reasons to look forward to the 2017 MMA Conference in Lansing. From the thought provoking sessions to the keynote speakers, focusing my excitement on any one thing can be hard. Today, though, I want to talk about the conference tours. Tours give attendees the chance to explore other institutions, interact with staff, and gain behind the scenes access. These tours go beyond what you could do when visiting another institution on your own and the best part is that they are included in your conference registration! I’m especially excited for this year’s tours because of the variety. From libraries to the Michigan State Capitol, the tours have something for everyone!

    Art enthusiasts will love tours of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, where they will be able to take a look at their newest exhibit, The Transported Man. The Lansing Art Gallery will also be offering a tour of their facility, along with a hands-on printmaking experience and a question and answer session with the staff. Finally, Saper Galleries will host a tour of their skylight-lit gallery space containing 1,500 works of art! Tour participants will get a look at their framing department.

    Those looking for a bit more history in their tour will not be disappointed. The Capitol Area District Libraries Local History Room, Michigan’s Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum, and the Michigan History Museum’s Civil War Flags Exhibit are offering tours for the historians and history buffs in the group. These options offer great glimpses into this state’s rich past, archival collections and digital preservation, and the opportunity to see how other organizations carry out their missions.

    We have something for science museum folks as well! Impression 5 Science Center will be hosting a tour in which participants will get to see their new youth maker space Think Tank! and learn about engagement for youth audiences. Additionally, the Michigan State University Horticulture Demonstration Gardens will challenge visitors to think about the history and importance of living collections while touring their 14 acre facility.

    Finally, no trip to Lansing would be complete without opportunities to visit various aspects of our state government. Both the Michigan Hall of Justice and the Michigan State Capitol will be offering tours. Those choosing the Hall of Justice Tour will first walk through the Capitol Complex before visiting the Michigan State Supreme Court courtroom and Learning Center. Participants who decide to tour the Michigan State Capitol will see the rotunda, governor’s office, house and senate chambers, and the historic supreme court.

    The 2017 conference has so many opportunities to experience Lansing and offers tour selections for everyone! With ten tours, it seems hard to pick just one! All tours take place on Wednesday, October 18 from 3-5. Click here to learn more. Pay attention to special instructions. For example, some will require comfortable shoes as they require more walking than others. Pick your favorite and have fun!

    We look forward to seeing you in Lansing.

    Julia Toro and Samantha Engel

    MMA Communications Team

  • July 10, 2017 11:26 AM | Anonymous member

    Post by Julie Cook of the Historic Ford Estate

    Each year at the MMA annual conference the Michigan museum community comes together to share ideas on how we can engage visitors, create relevant programming and exhibitions, be the best stewards of our cultural heritage, advocate for our missions, and so much more! The venues through which we transmit these ideas take many forms: sessions, speakers, tours, and…evening receptions! 


    Call it networking, engaging, conversing, mingling, discussing, debating, or just plain talking- when we come together to share our ideas and experiences, our community grows and we develop a better understanding of ourselves and each other. The relaxed setting of the evening events promotes free and open discussion for connecting with other conference attendees.

    This year at the annual conference, MMA will partner with three local institutions to host the evening receptions. These museums have the opportunity to open their doors to our state-wide museum community and not only provide a setting for conference attendees to engage with one another, but also showcase their institutions and the local Lansing community. Following are descriptions for all three of our wonderful evening receptions and the unique experiences you will find at each event.

    Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum

    Tuesday, October 17


    Start the conference off on a stimulating note surrounded by the dynamic art and architecture of the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum! Situated on the edge of the Michigan State University campus in the heart of East Lansing, the museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid and features contemporary as well as historical art collections. Take in the unique setting and artwork while networking with fellow attendees. Guests will have a chance to hear remarks from the museum’s director, Marc-Olivier Wahler, and explore The Transported Man exhibition during its final week on view. 

    Michigan Historical Museum

    Wednesday, October 18


    This evening reception embodies our Michigan roots by providing hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and history all themed around our Great Lakes State while representing this year’s conference theme of advocacy. As you stroll through the exhibits of the Michigan Historical Museum, state legislators and representatives will also be among the guests at the reception. You can learn about our collective past while sharing your own stories with coworkers and lawmakers alike. MHM staff and volunteers will be on hand to guide you through the new long-term Anishinaabe exhibit; the special exhibit, “The River that Changed the World,” featuring the Au Sable River; behind-the-scenes with the Michigan’s Civil War flags; and the Archives of Michigan.

    Michigan State University Museum

    Thursday, October 19


    The conference wraps up with an evening reception at one of the earliest established museums in the nation! Opening in 1857, the MSU Museum cultivates interdisciplinary linkage across campus, particularly in college-based programs in the sciences, arts and humanities, and international studies. You’ll be able to explore three floors worth of exhibits highlighting Anthropology, Natural Science, Folk Arts, and History collections from around the world. Check out the Hall of World Cultures for a view of traditional cultures from across the globe, or visit Heritage Hall which features Michigan’s local cultural heritage.

    Through these venues we highlight our unique yet connected stories on local, state, and national levels. So come! Relax with colleagues, explore new institutions, and be part of our shared story as an organization and as a community.

    MMA extends its sincere gratitude to our local partners that make the annual conference such a success, and to all of our event attendees that help promote this wonderful museum field of ours! 

    We hope to see you all in Lansing! Click here for registration information!

    Julie Cook

    Engagement Team Chair

  • July 05, 2017 8:34 AM | Anonymous member

    Post by Lisa Craig Brisson, Michigan Museums Association

    MMA is hosting a variety of workshops in the next few months.  Topics range from visitor research to digital media and nonprofit basics, and will be held throughout the state from Dundee to Marquette and in between. Here is a list of our workshops with thoughts of why I think people will want to attend.

    Nonprofit Building Blocks
    July 25, 9-12
    Old Mill Museum, Dundee

    One of the things I see as a challenge for most museums – large or small, urban or rural – is understanding how a nonprofit is different from a regular business. There are so many nuances or requirements for nonprofits that can seem mysterious or intimidating. In an ongoing effort to provide insight into the basis of nonprofit management, this workshop will focus on two tricky areas – how development and accounting work together and the basics of managing boards. Erica Battle is a seasoned accountant who has worked for several museums and has many museum clients. She truly understands how museums can and should be functioning.  She will be joined by staff and leadership from a variety of museums as well, including Laurel Paterson from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

    Are We Safe Yet? Identifying and Addressing Risk at Your Museum
    August 2, 1-5
    Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, Douglas

    It’s easy to think that nothing bad will happen to our organizations or the people associated with them, but this isn’t realistic. Understanding what some of the challenges can be, and putting a plan in place to deal with them, can often mean the difference between total disaster and mere crisis.  Mark Lambert is insurance agent who is very familiar with museums and who will help participants identify general and specific risks at their organizations.

    Understanding Your Audience and Effective Survey Design
    August 15, 10-4
    US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, Ishpeming

    Museum visitors can be a mystery, but there are tools for helping better understand them. In some cases, museums already collect the data that can provide helpful clues. On the other hand, actually asking your visitors about their needs or experiences can be a direct way to find out the information you are looking for. I am so excited to have Sarah Cohn and Al Onkka share their amazing expertise in Michigan. I know both Sarah and Al from the Visitor Studies Association and have attended workshops led by both.  I think MMA members will appreciate their style and their depth of experience.    

    Visitor Experiences
    August 29, 10-4
    Michigan Science Center, Detroit

    MMA developed the Visitor Experiences workshop almost a decade ago to help staff and volunteers at museums better understand the full breadth of how visitors participate in museums, as well as how to think about visitors in new ways. The field has come a long way since the workshop began, but there are still plenty of people and organizations who benefit from the basics of this topic.  Sarah Waters and I have been leading this workshop for several years, but it is different each time.  Participants bring their own understanding and experiences to the workshop, just like visitors do to our museums!

    What Research Says About Visitor Behavior in Museum Exhibitions and So What?
    September 14, 10-4
    Michigan History Center, Lansing

    Beverly Serrell came to Michigan several years ago to lead a workshop about evaluating museum exhibits.  It was so popular that we’ve been trying to get her back again ever since.  This time she is going to focus on what she is famous for- Tracking and Timing studies.  This visitor research method is relatively easy to implement, and provides great insight into how visitors actually engage with the museum. A delight to hear on any topic, it is wonderful to have the chance to listen to Beverly talk about Tracking and Timing in particular. 

    Media Workflows for Museum Professionals 
    September 26, 9-4
    Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Campus

    MMA members have long been talking about digital media, and asking for more resources.  This workshop is our first effort to address the topic.  This is definitely not my area of expertise, but Matthew Patulski has worked with a number of museums and is excited to talk about workflows and digital assets with MMA members. 

    Pre-Conference Workshop
    Becoming a Champion for Museums
    October 17, 9-4

    When we decided the theme of our Lansing conference would be advocacy, we had no idea that there would be so many opportunities for mobilization on the horizon. But we did know that there is never a bad time to help more people be able to articulate the value and needs of museums to many people in in different kind of settings. I know Bob Beatty from working with him on the conference with AASLH, and I find his enthusiasm for any topic inspiring. This workshop focusing on the ABCs of advocacy will be helpful for those who are just getting interested in the issues, and those of us who have been doing advocacy for several years.  We’ll have many other chance at the conference to learn about, practice, and participate in advocacy, and this workshop will be a great way to get started!

    I hope to see many MMA members at our workshops throughout the rest of the year. But if you don’t see the one you really need, please let us know.  I’m already getting started on planning for next year!

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 The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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