Digesting the American Alliance of Museum’s 2019 Conference

Earlier this week I had the great opportunity to attend AAM’s annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana this year. My first time attending the largest conference for the museum field.

Initially I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people (hello, I’m an introvert by nature) and the amount of booths in the expo hall to check out. The opening keynote speakers were inspiring and set a good tone for the conferences focus on DEAI (diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion). While this focus is something very needed in not only the museum field, but society as a whole, I was looking for more practical sessions to attend.

I was a bit disappointed that large numbers of sessions were scheduled during the same time period. I had to be selective on which sessions I would attend. The sessions I chose to attend focused on collections care and exhibition development. While I found a couple sessions to be incredibly helpful and provided resources that would be of great assistance to our organization, the other sessions were not quite as useful. Whether this was due to time constraints or various other reasons, the sessions seemed to be brief summarizations of case studies with little information that would be fruitful to my organization. Regardless this information could be useful in future positions, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the content in these sessions.

I did not spend much time in the expo hall, but I sure made use of the bookstore and stocked up on some more recent publications on collections care. I look forward to diving into them when I have the chance. The booths I did pass by had some enviable technology and equipment that I wish we had the budget for. Augmented reality and virtual reality equipment, fancy exhibit cases and barriers, fiber and LED lighting systems, etc. Hopefully one day!

I’m not so sure I will attend another AAM conference any time soon, but I certainly intend on trying to attend other more collections and exhibitions focused conferences that would hopefully lend more practical information and resources.

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