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News & Press: Annual Conference

So many sessions, so little time…How to get the most out of the UMA Conference

Tuesday, September 23, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jessica Weiss
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Planning to join us in Cedar City next week? Have you glanced through the Conference Program yet? It can be a bit overwhelming when you first look at how many fantastic sessions are being offered.

But never fear! Here’s a handy guide to help you begin sorting through the (many) great sessions being offered at the conference, and some suggested session schedules, based on whatever your preferences may be. Bear in mind that many of these sessions cross over into other areas as well, and be sure to read the full session descriptions as you finalize your plans.

Do you oversee a whole museum or staff of employees?

Whether you are trying to motivate your staff, recruit the best people to work with, or improve board relations, there is always room for strengthening your own communication and leadership abilities! These sessions are based both on research and on successful experiences at other museums.

Suggested Schedule:

Tues, 2:15pm     Non-Profit Board Assessment Tools

Tues, 4:00pm     To Thine Own Self Be True: Institutional Self Worth and Confidence

Wed, 10:30am   Should We Stay or Should We Go: Volunteers

Thurs, 9:00am    David and Goliath:  What Small Museums can Teach Large Museums

Thurs, 10:15am Hiring: a Catalyst for Change

Are you working to better understand and connect with your audience?

These sessions have been designed to help you learn who is visiting your museum and why, and how to communicate with them more effectively and efficiently!

Suggested Schedule:

Tues, 2:15pm     John Falk’s Museum Visitor Identities 101

Wed, 3:00pm     Social Media 101

Thurs, 9:00am    Survey Best Practices for Any Sized Institution

Are you concerned about fundraising?

We are offering two different grant writing sessions, both on Wednesday afternoon. Designed to complement each other, these two sessions will work in tandem to help you identify new funding sources and strengthen your grant writing skills.

Suggested Schedule:

Wed, 1:45pm     The Zen of Grant Writing

Wed, 3:00pm     Telling Our Story to Funders: A Grant Writing Workshop

Are you passionate about education and programming?

If you throw parties, host workshops, and organize events, check out these sessions to help strengthen your practice and give you some new ideas. See how your efforts in programming can strengthen other areas of your museum, and build overall sustainability.

Suggested Schedule:

Tues, 2:15pm     Building the Future: Museum Ed for the Next Generation

Tues, 4:00pm     Unleash the Secret Weapon: Exhibit Openings

Wed, 10:30am   Building Museum Support through Outreach Programs

Thurs, 9:00am    Community Partnerships

Have you been tasked with improving exhibitions and collections?

This is a large task, but there are a few things you can focus on to help sustain and stabilize your practices. Find inspiration, and get some practical tips to recharge your work!

Suggested Schedule:

Tues, 4:00pm     Pows, Panels, and Pedals: Museum Inspiration

Wed, 10:30am   Embracing the Failure: Lessons Learned

Wed, 3:00pm     Harnessing the Power of Play

Thurs, 10:15am The Good, the Bad, and the Infested

Do you work for a smaller museum?

There are a host of sessions (beyond what is listed below) crafted especially for you! Join your small museum colleagues as you tackle some issues unique to your organizations.

Suggested Schedule:

Wed, 1:45pm     Telling Our Stories through Creative Use of Multimedia

Thurs, 10:15am Make It Work! Making the Impossible Possible in Small Museums

Are you an EMP?

An Emerging Museum Professional is someone who is in the first decade of their museum career, or someone who has undergone a shift in the field and is re-emerging in a new way. Consider your career options as you join us a session created just for you!

Suggested Schedule:

Wed, 1:45pm     Education and Career Paths for the Emerging Museum Professional

Remember, this is only a suggested roadmap to help you sort through all of the options. Many of our attendees fill several roles at their institutions, and you will probably want a smattering of different things offered on this list. Look carefully through the Conference Program at check-in to help you find the best schedule for your unique needs.

Do you have a suggestion for next year? Please let us know what sorts of things you would like to see at future conferences in your evaluation, or by posting it on the boards provided in the conference hall. Better yet, think about what you could contribute by presenting a session at next year’s conference.

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you all in Cedar City!


Jessica Weiss is the Head of Education at the Springville Museum of Art and serves on the Professional Development Committee for the UMA, where she works to organize trainings and workshops such as the Annual Conference.

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