Help Juli get to the AAM Annual Meeting & Museum Expo

AAM Annual Meeting & Museum Expo(TM)

The American Association of Museums’ Annual Meeting & Museum Expo™ (whew, try saying that 5 times fast) is almost upon us — are you excited? I am! This year it’s in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and the theme is Creative Communities, dealing with questions like “in what notable ways is creativity a part of the museum mission?” and “what are the emerging best practices in developing and sustaining creative communities?” It’s my first year attending, and I can’t wait to meet other museum professionals and talk to them about their experiences, and see a few of Minneapolis’ museums to boot.

While I’m looking forward to the conference itself, there is one snag. I’m graduating from my Museum Studies masters program in May, but because I’m not enrolled in any more classes this semester, I’m ineligible for any of the AAM fellowships. This means I have to pay my own way to the conference, on my grad-student-looking-for-museum-work budget. And that means I need some help.

Why is it so important for me to go to this conference?

  • Having finished my coursework in my masters, I’m looking to get my foot in the door in the museum field to start having an impact on public science education. I went into museum studies because I’m passionate about improving science education for everyone — for kids and adults, for those who like science and those who think they don’t. To my mind, natural history and science museums are the only places where people, art and design, and scientific topics come together; the result is a very special personal and social experience. At this conference I’ll be able to learn about novel and effective ways of designing lifelong learning environments, and different ways of presenting concepts and material.
  • I’m always on the lookout for great new ideas for communicating with others and creating communities. They can be as low-tech as post-it notes on a wall, or as high tech as alternative reality games played on smart-phones. At AAM, I’d be able to share ideas, experiences, and stories of failures and successes with others. I’d be able to see what other museums, consulting firms and designers are doing, and learn about new practices that I could implement wherever I end up.
  • One of the great things about my Johns Hopkins University grad program was that it was all online, and while I feel like I got a great education (especially regarding museums in the digital age), I feel that I missed important face-to-face networking opportunities that can help me start my museum career. Conferences like this one are essential for exactly that reason.

Alright, so what exactly am I asking for? I’ve already bought my registration, and I’m now trying to raise $900 for travel expenses. But here’s the sweet part, what you get out of the deal: I’m going to be facebooking and tweeting the event, and updating this blog on the awesome things I’m seeing and learning. I’ve talked to others who have crowd-funded their way to a conference, and Jacquelyn Gill over at The Contemplative Mammoth had an excellent idea that I’m going to borrow: for every $100 dollars raised, I’m going to interview someone at the conference. Basically, I’ll be your eyes and ears at AAM, so you’ll be getting the experience without having to pay for the enormous registration fee. It’s a pretty awesome deal! You can even recommend people for me to interview (either in the comments or by tweet).

Ok, so I’ve come up with two ways of accepting donations (let me know if you can think of more):

  1. Amazon Payments: send your donations to
  2. PayPal: send a gift or personal payment to

Thanks in advance to everyone who can help me get to AAM’s Annual Meeting and Expo — you’re all beautiful wonderful fantabulous people!

ETA: We’re at $75, which is almost one whole interview! (Not sure if I should conduct a full interview and publish a truncated version, or somehow find 3/4 of a person. Perhaps another museum studies student, since they’re not a full-fledged professional yet…). In any case, I’m super pumped, so keep spreading the word!

ETA: Whoa, we’re at $300, which amounts to three whole people! Now’s the time to start suggesting types of museum pros you’d like to hear from.

ETA: Omigosh, it’s hit $420! We’re a little under halfway there, folks! Every little bit helps, so tell your friends and spread the word. Oh, and so far we’ve had suggestions to talk to people working with emerging technologies… I’ll see if I can make that interview holographic.

ETA: You guys, we’re more than halfway there! $520 down, and only $380 to go. Keep up the awesome work! Oh, and I’ll be posting options for various sessions you may like to attend vicariously through me, so keep checking in. Big thanks to everyone who’s helped so far, you’re all amazing!


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