If you ask me if I’m connected, I might at first think, well, I have a smartphone where I can access my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, my family and I share a Google calendar, so sure, I guess I’m connected. But what does it really mean to be connected? With all of these devices, apps, and programs, I find that it is becoming increasingly easier to never leave the comfort of my home or desk in order to feel like I’m an active part of a community – whether it be my neighborhood, my family, or the conservation field.
But nothing replaces the experience of connecting with other people face-to-face. Our field is experiencing some big changes, and making the effort to go to conferences each year, and even venturing a bit outside of our close-knit community, may be more valuable than ever before. By attending allied professionals meetings, I believe that we will find that this not only benefits us as individuals, but our field as a whole.
Last week I spent 2 very full days at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) annual meeting in Baltimore and I returned feeling inspired and energized with new ideas.
This was my first time attending this meeting, and as Chair of the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN), I went on behalf of our group in an attempt to promote ECPN to the wider museum community, to connect with the AAM Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP) network, and to seek ideas and ways for ECPN to collaborate with other emerging museum professionals. In the interest of supporting the significant work of ECPN, The University of Delaware generously supported my participation.
I was fortunate to have a meeting buddy – ECPN Vice Chair Eliza Spaulding also attended the conference, and between the two of us, we sought out as many opportunities to take in all AAM had to offer. Some of the highlights included:
- A first-time attendees orientation meeting
- A one hour speed-networking event
- The Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP) reception
- One-on-one career coaching
- One-on-one resume review
- The Alliance opening party at the American Visionary Art Museum
- Keynote talk by Freeman Hrabowski, III, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) about the role of museums in inspiring future generations
And of course we attended several interesting sessions, met many new people, and had a chance to visit the booths at the MuseumExpo.
Eliza and I are excited to share some of our experiences at AAM, and how these have given us ideas for future projects, at the ECPN informational meeting during the AIC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis this week. The ECPN meeting will take place on Friday, May 31 from 5:30-6:30 pm in the JW Marriott Meeting Rooms 201-203.
We hope to see you there!