Virtual Happy Hour: Nightmare at the Museum!

7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CNT/5:00 PM MTN/4:00 PM PAC

We all have that nighmare-ish story from work—
Maybe it was the time you had to talk someone down from the abyss of a 300-word intro
Or the Big Idea that mysteriously crept up to five increasingly convoluted
Or the (possibly possessed) colleague who said, “I don’t see why the target
audience can’t be visitors with a PhD in art history.”

Tune in to our virtual happy hour with your favorite beverage and your most chilling museum nightmares. But beyond the jump scares, we want to hear about the creative twists you used to save the day—as a community, we learn and grow from each other’s experiences. No story? No problem—you can just listen in. This is an informal event, and a safe and judgment-free space.

The event will not be recorded. Costumes encouraged!

Have a great tale you’d like to keep a bit mysterious? Fill out this form and we’ll share your story anonymously.

Past Convenings

Check out our YouTube channel to access content from past virtual convenings.

To Touch or Not To Touch

June 5th, 11 am – 12:30 pm EST

To touch or not to touch? Museums are wrestling with this question among others as they make plans to reopen their galleries to the public. Join interpretation colleagues to share strategies for adapting a range of in-gallery audience engagement tools to meet new safety measures/expectations during the COVID-19 crisis.  In this interactive session, participants will break into smaller groups for discussion and then be brought back together to share with the larger group. Results will be compiled and shared through the AAMI blog.

Read the recap of the convening here.

Can Interpreters Change How Museums Work?

Friday, August 7, 2020 | 9 am Pac/10 am Mtn/11 am Cent/12 pm East

Amidst massive layoffs in the field, a global pandemic, and a historic racial justice movement, the need to move beyond statements of support for change is clear. While calls for equity and sustainable, community-centered museum practice are not new, the present moment may offer a rare chance to make major inroads. As staff who work across departments, how can we help create alignment so that change lasts? This will be an “in the weeds” conversation on how anyone with interpretive responsibilities can leverage interdepartmental work as a means of ensuring change isn’t left to the realm of one person, exhibition, or program. Micro presentations by staff from Philbrook Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, and Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center will be followed by break out sessions where participants will share ideas on how we can face challenges and make change possible.

Presenters: Tracy Truels is Assistant Director, Interpretive Engagement at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tasia Johnson is Manager of Interpretive Technology at Seattle Art Museum; and Adrienne Lalli Hills is Associate Director of Studio School at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and EdD Out-of-School Learning Student at the University of Pittsburgh.

AAMI Session: Digital Engagement in the age of COVID-19

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 12 Pac/1 Mtn/2 Cent/3 East

The coronavirus pandemic has forced museum interpretation professionals to re-examine our strategies and practices for visitor engagement. Most of our standard in-gallery engagement tools are rendered at least temporarily obsolete, forcing a shift in outreach activities to digital platforms to provide low- or no-touch access to content and experiences. 

This panel explores a few of the ways Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art continues to adapt to our new professional landscape by highlighting a few projects, both virtual and in-gallery, where collaboration among the interpretation, communication, and education teams are creating new kinds of digital engagement opportunities for our guests in an age of uncertainty.

There will be time at the end of the presentation for discussion and collective sharing.

Presented by: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Moderator: Robin Groesbeck, Director of Exhibitions and Interpretation

Participants: Neal Johnson, Digital Media Director; Stace Treat, Head of Interpretation; Brittany Johnson, Interpretation Specialist

Bringing people together, 6 feet apart: Fostering Social Experiences in Museum Galleries in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

Thursday, September 3, 202012 | Pac/1 Mtn/2 Cent/3 East

Interpretation staff from Newfields will briefly discuss experiences with balancing social distancing guidelines and reduced touch interpretive tools with the goal to create active, social encounters in art museum galleries. Newfields staff will share how visitors have engaged with adapted interpretive tools in Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

After the brief presentation by Newfields staff, we will split into breakout sessions for participants to discuss the following questions:

  • How can we create human-centered experiences when people aren’t at the museum?
  • How can we create human-centered in-gallery experiences when we’re following safety guidelines?
  • What tools have you used to achieve either of these goals? What has worked well or hasn’t worked as well? What tools would you like to try?

Presenters: Tascha Horowitz, Director of Interpretation, Media, and Publishing, Newfields, Indianapolis, IN; Maggie Ordon, Interpretation Planner, Newfields, Indianapolis, IN; Wednesday Rees, Interpretation Planner, Newfields, Indianapolis, IN