2023 Conference Affinity Meals

Have you been waiting for…AFFINITY MEAL SIGN UPS?

You’re in luck then – because we are ready to go! See the list below of options and if you’re wanting to sign up for one, email aacademicmg[at]gmail[dot]com right away with the title of the meal you’d like to join – these slots are first come, first serve, and each meal only has 12 seats available.

All meals are scheduled for Tuesday, June 13th at 7:30pm with the exception of the Solo/Small Museum Directors’ Meet-Up, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning breakfast). After signing up – you will receive a confirmation email holding your spot for that meal and then will receive restaurant details early next week.

1. “Building Student Pathways / Building Pathways for Emerging Leaders”
This affinity dinner will open and invigorate dialogue on building pathways for the next generation of leaders in the arts through fellowships and internships. Join Alana Ryder, Director of the new Art Bridges Fellows Program, to identify and reflect on barriers to cultural participation and what it will take for institutions to build more equitable, inclusive, and just futures. Art Bridges works with over 215 partner museums across the country to increase access to American art, and its recent listening tour will inform the conversation. Together, we will gain a holistic view of the pathways to be repaired, built, and nurtured for BIPOC professionals across cultural and academic landscapes. Participants will explore how mentorship, cohort models, and access to resources, professional development, and support systems can fundamentally alter opportunities for future leaders. We will discuss how to be responsive to the needs of the next generation and innovate in the face of massive social, political, and cultural shifts. The conversation will examine how to center young professionals’ perspectives in our long-term goals and strategies. All will leave with fresh approaches and inspiration to catalyze systemic change.
2. “Queer Visibility in the Museum”Meet with colleagues working toward increasing queer visibility in academic museums in a discussion facilitated by Michelle Sunset, Curator at the University of Wyoming’s Art Museum. After AAMG’s 2022 session “Increasing Queer Visibility in the Academic Museum: Case Studies and Action Items” it became clear that we needed more spaces within AAMG to share about these projects, the support we are (or are not) receiving from supervisors and administrations, and the important impacts this work has on our relationships with our student communities. Here, we will informally continue these candid conversations to learn from each other and build networks of support to in turn support our students and local queer communities.
3. “Serving K-12 Students & Teachers by Taking Advantage of the University Context”By leveraging the strengths of an academic museum to facilitate meaningful experiences for K-12 students and teachers, museum professionals can build rich and durable connections to their communities, establishing the museum as a dynamic civic institution. This session will offer an opportunity for university museum educators and other interested attendees to share and discuss the unique challenges and benefits of facilitating K-12 student and teacher engagement in the context of an academic museum, including but not limited to interdisciplinary collaborations with other academic units, university recruitment opportunities, and institutional priorities and oversight.
4. “Emerging Museum Professionals Meet-Up”FULL AS OF 6/9/23 – EMAIL AACADEMICMG@GMAIL.COM TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST.
Are you an Emerging Museum Professional? Come join us for fun dinner and discussion and get to network with other folks figuring out museums. Hosted by two folks who were once student tour guides and five years later are trusted with managing our own student staff. Together we will share the triumphs and trials of this work and explore the nature of teaching others and being considered an “expert”, while still learning and growing in the field.
5.”Curating Student Success”Students are a unique and essential facet of academic museums. In many ways they define our work, and we help lay the foundation for their future careers. Join us for a discussion on curating their success. Together we will explore topics such as providing creative and meaningful projects, training practices, handling turn-over from semester to semester, establisihing paid internships, and approaches to mentoring our future peers.
6.”Bilingual or Multilingualism in Museums: Labels, Tours, Programs”Let’s talk! Hablemos! Parlons! Does your museum provide labels, tours, or programs in languages other than English? Or does it aspire to? This affinity group provides an opportunity to share creative ideas you’ve seen or implemented, learn what others are doing (and how), and get inspired to take the next step to make your museum more inclusive for non-English speakers.
7. “Museum Accessibility, Extending Access Beyond ADA”FULL AS OF 6/11/23 – EMAIL AACADEMICMG@GMAIL.COM TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST. Join colleagues to discuss the important topic of accessibility and how it is evolving in museums, both in-person and online. Do you have questions, successes to share, or pitfalls you’ve learned from? Join colleagues to explore making our museums, websites, and virtual programs accessible for individuals with visual and hearing impairments, neurodivergence, mental and neurological conditions (e.g., memory) in museums. How can we go above and beyond to be accessible and inclusive?
8. “NAGPRA Community of Practice”This affinity dinner is a time to share experiences, concerns, and successes with others who are addressing the important topic of repatriation through facilitation or education.

9. “All-aboard! Community Building & New Audiences”
Emerging from a global pandemic brings new challenges and opportunities for reaching audiences and providing quality visitor experiences. Our conference theme is ripe with inspiration for discussing community building and making our museums safe places for connection, growth, learning, and enjoyment for individuals and groups. Let’s keep the conversation going. Join colleagues to discuss how we continue to reconnect with our old audiences while building interest, trust, and community with new ones too!
10. “Virtual is Reality”Virtual tours, digital exhibits, webinars, and even virtual experiences within our museums are central to museums now. Let’s talk about the myriad virtual facets of our museums and learn from and inspire each other in this exciting arena. What’s working and what’s not? Have you had a surprisingly successful virtual program to share? How do we incorporate accessibility in virtual projects? And more!
11. “Mid-Career Meet-Up”Are you a Mid-Career Museum Professional, working in the field for at least five years? We welcome a wide-range of years and experience for this mid-career professionals meet-up. Ready to take on greater leadership roles at your museum or in professional organizations? Happily assimilating several years of museum experience at this stage? Or just trying to keep up with current roles and responsibilities? We will share resources and advice, network, and reflect together. What is most fun and rewarding at this point of our career, what is most pressing, how we are continuing to grow, learn, and take on issues such as equitable pay and inclusion, and what’s on the horizon?
12. “At Risk: Freedom of Speech in the Academic Museum”As our country grapples with “culture wars” and their resulting legislation, some academic museums are being forced to remove items from exhibits and other are facing scrutiny. Let’s join together at this meal to discuss what we are doing and can do in the face of restrictions to freedom of speech and expression in some of our museums and the potential for it in others.
13.Directors’ Meet UpFULL AS OF 6/11/23 – EMAIL AACADEMICMG@GMAIL.COM TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST. Academic museum and gallery directors are invited to share a meal and discuss the unique opportunities and challenges of their leadership positions. What contemporary issues are most prevalent? What does leadership look like in your role – within your museum, on your campus, and in your community?
14. Running Solo or Super Small? Directors’ Meet-UpAre you operating a museum solo? Have only a very small staff doing “it all”? This breakfast affinity session provides time to connect with your fellow lone-directors. Topics to be explored may include prioritizing work demands, efficiently engaging a small staff or student crew, or advocating for more resources. Start your conference day with colleagues who are in the same boat. This meet-up is especially for directors who are operating alone or lead a very small staff, but all are welcome.