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News & Press: Annual Conference

Annual Conference: A Friendly Recommendation

Monday, May 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
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By Ryan D. Paul, 2017 Program Committee Member


Recently, a close friend of mine sent me a book which she thought I would really enjoy. For me, friends recommending books is always a tenuous proposition. I never know what to say if I just don’t have the time, interest, or desire to pick it up. At the time, I was reading a fascinating book about Hollywood directors who worked with the U.S. armed forces during World War II to provide film footage for movie theaters back home, and really enjoying it. However, driven by the strength of my friendship and my fear of disappointing her, I began the novel she sent. I loved it! She was right and I am grateful that she knew me well enough to send it my way. In that same vein, I as your friend am recommending something to you. It will require you to put aside what you are doing, maybe change some plans, and take a journey to place you may not have been to in awhile, or at all. I strongly suggest that you attend this year’s Utah Museums Association Conference in Vernal, Utah.  To make it even easier on you, I will even give you the dates, October 11-13. Also, because I know you so well, I will also give you three reasons to attend:

  1. A Professional Palette Cleanser: Let’s be honest. Sometimes in our regimented work lives we need to step outside our operations and see what others are doing.  Whether we work for a large or small institution, taking time to cultivate our mental gardens can not only improve our work product, but our lives as well.
  2. A Professional Development Experience: Aside from the varied sessions, covering topics such as collections management, education, exhibit design, programming, and all levels of museum operations, Eliot Wilcox, the Executive Director of the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute will be our opening speaker.  And, there is more. One of my cultural heroes, Colleen Dilenschneider will be the keynote. If you are unfamiliar with Dilenschneider, check out her blog Know Your Own Bone and you will become a geeky fan like me.  Check out the preliminary program for planning your own learning journey.
  3. A Professional Networking Adventure: I have been attending UMA conferences for over 15 years and one of the things I enjoy the most is personally connecting with my friends and  colleagues.  In our vast digital world, physical connections have become more important and relevant.  While I enjoy consulting with other museum professionals through electronic means, the UMA conference gives me a greater opportunity to learn and grow by discussing ideas at a more personal  level.

This year’s conference is all about how your institution impacts your community. I would argue that this conference is also about how you can impact your institution. I have always seen the UMA Annual Conference as means to improve the greatest resource any cultural organization has, its people.  Your dedication to your craft is evident in our vital and growing cultural landscape and I sincerely hope that you accept my invitation to attend the UMA Conference.  Finally, if you are interested in the title of the book my friend recommended, ask me in Vernal.

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