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Concurrent Sessions

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1. Big Data in Museums – What We Have, What We Still Need
Molly Pitcher

Museums have managed large amounts of information for over forty years primarily through disparate systems in “siloed” departments. It is, therefore, hard to see the connections that would logically be present in managing information about people or objects. This session looks at the systems in use in museums to explore the relationships that may be present. We include the obvious connections between fundraising and membership to attendance and social media. We also take a deep look at collections management systems to see patterns of giving that may be leveraged if connections were made to other “people” data.

Chair: Katherine Burton Jones, Assistant Director of the Museum Studies Program, Harvard Extension School, MA

Speakers: Cathleen Coyle Randall, Manger of Education Services, Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, MA; Lauren Vargas, Director of Social Media and Community Strategy, Aetna – Digital + Community Strategy Consultant, MA

2. Creating a Successful Homeschool Program
Thomas Paine

Museums of all sizes and genres have seen field trip numbers drop in recent years. Homeschoolers are one audience that could fill the void. This session will present a roundtable discussion with educators who have successfully created museum homeschool programs. Table leaders will present the format of their programs, how often they run, how many children/families they attract, how they reach homeschooling families, features that work well and not so well, and why their program is sustainable.

Chair: Kaleigh A. Paré, Program Coordinator, Buttonwoods Museum, MA

Speakers: Meredith Lamothe, Lead Educator, The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire; Deb Friedman, Senior Vice President, Old Sturbridge Village, MA; Kathleen Hirbour, Education Coordinator, American Textile History Museum, MA; Kara Mahoney Robinson, Student Programs Supervisor, New England Aquarium, MA; Lauren Monroe, Director of Worcester Think Tank, MA

3. Fundraising with your Board: an Essential Partnership
Paul Revere

Museum sustainability requires some level of fundraising and your board plays a key role in your success in this area. Learn concrete strategies to train and motivate your board in annual and special project strategic revenue generation. What are the roles in the staff/board partnership and who should do what? Formal, grass roots, and guerrilla methods will be shared by directors and development officers from museums in various specialties and budget levels. We’ll touch on raising funds for special events and thinking about capital campaigns in this comprehensive session.

Chair: Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Executive Director, Fruitlands Museum, MA (NEMA Board)

Speakers: Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, President & CEO, Abbe Museum, ME; Kent dur Russell, Curator and CEO, Museum of Russian Icons, MA; Van Shields, Executive Director, Berkshire Museum, MA

4. Listening to Art and Culture: Making the Visual World Accessible through Description
Crispus Attucks

Utilizing audio description samples and hands-on exercises, this session will introduce the variety of ways in which museums of all types, as well as other cultural institutions such as parks and visitor centers, can use description to create better accessibility for individuals who are blind or have low vision. We will also discuss the benefits to sighted visitors. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of what audio description is and how it can be used in a museum setting, as well as information and inspiration to pursue using more description in your own museum. Presented by Cultural Access New England (CANE).

Chair: Hannah Goodwin, Manager of Accessibility, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Speaker: Bryan Gould, Director, Accessible Learning and Assessment Technology, The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH, MA

5. A Museum and Occupational Therapy Collaboration for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Cambridge

Learn about a partnership among two urban public school special education programs, a university occupational therapy program, and a science museum. Over six weeks of field trips, occupational therapy graduate students, teachers, and museum educators collaborated to enrich the science education and social participation of middle school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This session will focus on the outcomes and successes of the pilot program, outline next steps, and provide resources.

Chair: Diana Deluca, School Visit Coordinator, Museum of Science, Boston

Speakers: Ellen Cohn Occupational Therapy Professor Boston University, MA; Gael Orsmond Occupational Therapy Professor Boston University, MA

6. Pop-Up Programming and Exhibits in the Community
Haym Salomon

How do you engage with people who don’t know about or aren’t coming to your museum? How do you communicate your “big idea” to a broader audience? How do you demonstrate you are integral to the fabric of the community? Four museums share how they have used “pop-up” programming and exhibits to address these concerns. Engage in lively discussion with peers and leave with pop-up planning tools for your own institution! 

Co-chairs: Cathy Saunders, Director of Education, Providence Children’s Museum, RI (NEMA Board); Dr. Michael J. West, Director, Maria Mitchell Observatory, MA; Meg Winikates, Art & Nature Programs Coordinator, Peabody Essex Museum, MA; Ron Kley, Curatorial/Archival Contractor, Vaughan Homestead Foundation, ME

7. Time for the Treasurer’s Report: What My Financials are Trying to Tell Me
William Dawes

It’s no secret that most people volunteering to serve as trustees do not have experience or familiarity with financial statements in their standard presentation forms. This can pose a challenge for the proper exercise of oversight and governance responsibilities. In this session, you will learn what to look for in the standard presentations produced by accounting software, and discover how such presentations can be edited, reformatted, and combined with dashboards to make the financial stories more “accessible” to the typical trustee. A question/answer period will further reveal best practices. 

Chair: Eric Hertfelder, Trustee, Newport Restoration Foundation, RI

Speakers: Karen Kent, Principal, Kevin P. Martin & Associates, P.C., MA; Dennis Stark, President, Preservation Society of Pawtucket, RI

8. Worst. Job. Ever?: How to Create a Positive Work Culture on a Limited Budget
Empress Ballroom

Keeping your workforce happy should be the top priority of every museum. Happy and engaged museum workers will have a deeper commitment to a museum’s mission and will strive for a higher quality product for the public. This session will explore what being happy at work means, why it is important, and how it can be accomplished in our often resource-challenged field. You’ll will leave with new skills to put into play back at the office on Monday.

Chair: Marieke Van Damme, President, Board of Directors, Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club, MA

Speakers: Elaine Clements Executive Director Andover Historical Societ, MA; Diane Hessan Chairman Communispace, MA; Nancy Routh Chief People Officer and Senior Vice President City Year, Inc., MA