This year Minnesota had the pleasure of hosting the annual American Association of Museums (AAM) conference. Here at GMD we participated in the conference not only by attending, but by volunteering and participating in group activities. One of the main benefits of hosting the AAM conference was the collaborative connection that developed between museums in order to showcase the entire community.
Lin Nelson-Mayson, GMD director and chair of the Minnesota Association of Museums, noted that Minnesota's museums each tell the stories of their communities. The collaboration required for the AAM conference reveals museums' commitment to partnerships that also benefits the public. The conference and the launch of Minnesota Museums Month are both evidence of an inclusiveness that facilitated conference attendees and other visitors' successful experience with museums.
It is a long standing tradition of the AAM Registrar's Committee to assist with a collections project in the city where the conference is held. This year, GMD was one of three museums whose registrars assisted with various projects in the Twin Cities Metro area. GMD's registrar, Eunice Haugen, worked with five registrars in town for AAM to re-house fans on muslin covered acid free boards. By placing delicate fans on boards, the objects themselves are no longer directly handled when viewed for study.
GMD's collections assistant, Caitlin Cohn, volunteered in AAM's Hospitality Lounge. Hospitality Lounge volunteers helped attendees from out of town find their way around downtown Minneapolis as well as to museum sites around the cities. Jean McElvain, GMD's assistant curator, also volunteered at AAM. Assisting at the registration desk and as a session monitor provided many insights into the broader museum community.
It is clear from our collective experiences that the AAM conference was not just about learning, but about participating, collaborating, and supporting local museums and their staff. We look forward to continuing these activities in future conferences!