NEMA’s 2020 Virtual Annual Conference is November 16-20
Originally scheduled for November 18 – 20 in Newport, Rhode Island, concerns for attendee safety caused the New England Museum Association (NEMA) to move this year’s conference to a virtual platform. The updated theme of the NEMA Virtual Conference, “Who Do We Think We Are NOW?” is an opportunity for our field to come together and share lessons learned, emerging best practices, and think tank solutions for the challenges ahead.
CT Humanities has sponsored scholarships so representatives from Connecticut organizations can attend for free.
The catch: applications for the scholarship must be digitally submitted by midnight on October 23, 2020.
If you’ve ever considered attending a NEMA Annual Conference, this is a great year to do so!
For directions on how to apply for a General Conference Scholarship, visit here.
Conference Theme: Who Do We Think We Are Now?
Museums are constantly evolving. Today, cabinets of curiosities often exist alongside high-tech interactives. Club-like reading rooms share space with community event spaces. Collections, once the centerpiece of most museum experiences, now sometimes play an adjunct, supporting role to programming, outreach, and social activism. And some museums have no collections at all.
The definition of “museum” seems to be evolving as well. At its most recent General Assembly, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) debated, and tabled for future consideration, a proposal that would define museums as “democratizing, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures” that aim to “contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality, and planetary wellbeing.”
Revising museum definitions raises questions. Do ideological definitions like the one proposed at ICOM cancel out more traditional definitions based on collecting, preserving, and interpreting? What exactly makes a museum a museum in our contemporary cultural sphere? Is there a one-size-fits-all definition or is it relative and contextual? What difference does it make anyway to adopt a museum definition? Does it impact our ability to advocate, communicate, and function as museum professionals?
Join us at the 2020 NEMA conference as we investigate how museums collectively and individually define themselves in their pursuit of relevance, audience, mission, and funding. For full information on the conference, visit here.