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Your Guide to the Future at the Annual Meeting 2015

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
This is your futurist’s guide to our upcoming conference. There are loads of great sessions, so you will have to make some ruthless choices. Here are a few of my picks, tagged both for their connection to themes I’ve explored in the TrendsWatch reports, and for the wattage of the presenters.
But before I list those, here’s what I’ll be up to in Atlanta:
Remember the 2013 demo of 3D printing and last year’s telepresence robots? This year CFM will encourage you to explore wearable technology at CFM’s “Museum of the Future” in MuseumExpo (booth 853).  I will be joined by the Met’s inimitable Neal Stimler to help you try out Google Glass and solicit your feedback on how this or other wearables may shape the museum experience in coming decades. I’ll tell you more about the demo in next week’s blog post.
(Another MuseumExpo exhibit you may want to check out, not instigated by CFM but featured in the TrendsWatch 2015 report: The artists collective Not An Alternative is parking their installation “the Natural History Museum” in MuseumExpo, booth #1741. You may already be following their provocative exploration of museums, governance, funding and ethics on the web, Twitter or Facebook.Take this chance to drop by and chat with museum director Beka Economopoulos and her colleagues.)
I’m in two sessions on Tuesday, April 28. In the 8:30 — 9:45 AM slot (B406) I’ll present “TrendsWatch 2015: Your Annual Glimpse of the Future.” Rather than just recapping the report (which I encourage you to download and read before the meeting!) I’m going to focus on recent news stories that illuminate the trends, and on the challenges and opportunities these trends present to museums.
From 1:45 – 3:00 PM I will be joined by two local educators for “Beyond Field Trips: Museums and the Next Era of Education.” Katherine Kelbaugh, director of The Museum School and founder of the new Association of Museum Schools, and Andrea Rombauer, manager of family programs at the Atlanta History Center will help me explore how programs such as theirs, capitalizing on museum-based learning, could scale up to create a new learning landscape in the US. I’ll share more details on that session in a future post as well.
Now on to sessions (all rooms in the Georgia World Congress Center—when you get onsite, check room numbers in the meeting app to make sure nothing has changed.)
Sunday April 26
For a briefing on our field’s other major forecasting initiative—the NMC’s Horizon Report—check out The Museum of the Future Through the Museum of Today from 2-3:15 p.m. (B207), guided by the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Suse Cairns, NMC’s Alex Freeman and Nik Honeysett of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative.
Then from 3:30 – 4:45 p.m., Creating a Personalized and Shared Museum Experience (B314) explores how the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta is using cloud and RFID technology to help visitors create and share tailored content.
Monday, April 27
If you want to follow a “future of museums & education theme” throughout the meeting, kick off with Beyond the Walls: Innovative Museum-School Partnerships (8:30 – 9:45 a.m., B302) with staff from the Autry National Center of the American West, the Museum of Fine Arts, Petersburg and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Harking back to a theme from Trendswatch 2014, you can join staff from the California Academy of Sciences and the research firm Nielson to address How Can Museums Leverage Big Data to Optimize Marketing Mix? (1:45-2:15 p.m., B207).
The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behavior was “Takin’ it to the Streets” (TrendsWatch 2012) with their street-front exhibit in London. Maria Mortati shares what they learned about mounting Exhibitions Outside the Museum (also at 1:45-2:15 p.m., in room B211).
If you were intrigued by the telepresence robots featured in CFM’s demo last year, visit the Technology Innovation Stage in MuseumExpo from 2:45-3:15 p.m. for Beam Me In! Remote Access to Museums—a presentation on how a variety of museums have implemented remote access programs to increase accessibility.
Tuesday, April 28 
I’m hoping you’ll join me at 8:30 in room B406 for an exploration of this year’s TrendsWatch report—please come armed with examples of how the 2015 themes are playing out at your museum.
From 10:45 a.m.-12 p.m. (B209), more on how technology can fuel the creation of personalized experiences: You Are Here: Navigating Location-Based Technology with staff of the Tech Museum of Innovation, Museum of Science, Boston, and tech consultants JCA.
If you’re jazzed by the demonstration of Google Glass in CFM’s Museum of the Future in MuseumExpo, drop in on Creating Tours with Google Glass, 1:45-3 p.m. (B209), with staff of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and Antenna International.       
On the other hand, you could spend that 1:45-3 p.m. time slot with a bunch of great folks addressing 50 Years from Now: Training the Museum Staff of the Future, a topic near and dear to my heart (B314).
If you decide to join me at 1:45 for my education session (Beyond Field Trips, B302) you’ll hear more about an EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT being made at the conference. I’ll leak a spoiler here on the blog the week before the meeting, so stay tuned.
Wednesday, April 29
For the past few years CFM has tracked how museums are “Feeding the Spirit,” so of course I’m drawn to Food 4 Ways: Trends, Messages, Programs and Management with perspectives from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Atlanta Botanical Garden on addressing food safety, access and healthy eating (9:15 – 10:30 a.m., B407).
Also in this time slot, in room B405, more “Takin’ it to the Street” style programs are featured in Meeting People Where They Are: Pop-up Engagement Experiments (with staff from the Museum of Modern Art and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.)
The session Art + Science + Preschool: Building Engagement and Access (10:45-12 p.m., B406) looks like a great place to explore one way of creating the “vibrant learning grid” envisioned in CFM’s “Building the Future of Education” report. It explores a collaborative “whole community” approach between museums and early childhood learning centers in Atlanta.
And Wednesday afternoon some lucky folks get to try out a “personal museum oracle” profiled in TrendsWatch 2015 via the Onsite Insight “Solve Your Personal Problems with Art-o-mancy” at the High Museum of Art. While preregistration for that event has closed, starting April 13 you can check the Ticket Exchange Forum in the AAM events app to try to snag an available slot. If you want to read more about Art-o-mancy before you go ticket-hunting, check out this post on the CFM Blog.
Have you flagged other futures-oriented sessions from the online program? If so, please share them in the comments section to help your fellow attendees plan their agendas. And see you in Atlanta!
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  1. Beth –

    Thanks for sharing this! FYI we are not participating in the Pop-Up session – not sure why we are listed there.

    I will be speaking on Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday on different MAH topics, but not on pop up museums.


  2. Thanks for your correction, Nina. MAH is listed in the session description: I'll see if I can get that corrected in the Program. (And I will correct it in this post.)

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