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Top Museum Leaders Will Gather in Washington, DC for AAM’s Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Set for May 26-29

Category: Press Release


January 14, 2016

ARLINGTON, VA–More than 6,000 professionals from the museum field will convene at the American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) 2016 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, set for May 26-29 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. This year’s meeting explores how the themes of power, influence, and responsibility shape the work of museums in the U.S. and around the world.

David J. Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, is serving as General Chair of the annual meeting and will address attendees at the general session on May 29. “We are honored to welcome our professional colleagues from across the country and around the globe to learn from and with each other, and to enjoy the museums, monuments and sites,” said Skorton. “The doors of the Smithsonian are open to everyone and it is a special privilege to welcome so many museum professionals at a time of enormous change in our field; there’s a wealth of art, science, history and culture to experience here in Washington.”

Keynote speakers include:

  • David M. Rubenstein, museum philanthropist and Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms;
  • Mo Rocca, a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, who will interview Rubenstein; and
  • Robert M. Edsel, World War II historian and author of The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.

Confirmed speakers also include:

  • Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, opening in 2016;
  • Mae Jemison, the first African American woman astronaut and a passionate advocate for the integration of science and the arts;
  • Ralph Nader, former U.S. presidential candidate, author, political activist and founder of the American Museum of Tort Law;
  • Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, director general of the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, the institution established to manage The al-Sabah Collection of Islamic art and the cultural activities that have evolved around the collection;
  • Emily Zimmern, former president and CEO of the Levine Museum of the New South who envisioned the Latino New South initiative to address the changing demographics in her community; and
  • Stephanie Cunningham, co-founder of Museum Hue, which encourages diversity in patrons, professionals and cultural producers in the creative economy.
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Attendees will connect and share practical advice with fellow museum professionals at more than 180 interactive sessions, on topics ranging from collections management and curatorial practice, to education and audience research; from exhibit planning and design to marketing and community engagement. The session topics were crowdsourced from the museum field and then chosen by AAM’s National Program Committee of 30 experts from across museum disciplines.

“The Alliance is excited to host the annual meeting in one of the world’s leading cities for museums,” said Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Laura L. Lott. “We look forward to creating a stimulating environment for attendees to engage in substantive conversations, learn about trends and innovations in museums, and network with colleagues from across the museum field.”

In addition to sessions at the Convention Center, attendees can gain experiential learning through “On-Site Insights” visits to more than 20 museums in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.

“We are delighted to welcome our colleagues from across the nation to Washington for this important gathering,” said Dorothy Kosinski, Chair of the Host Committee and Director of The Phillips Collection. “In a rapidly changing world, museums are a glue that binds communities together. This is a tremendous opportunity for lively discussion among a group of accomplished museum professionals on the issues facing our industry, against the backdrop of our culturally-rich city.”

MuseumExpo showcases the latest in technology, exhibit design, lighting, security and countless other innovations critical to the museum field. More than 300 exhibitors will display and demonstrate cost- and time-saving solutions and cutting-edge technologies.

The largest gathering of museum professionals in the world, the annual meeting attracts leaders and decision makers from a wide range of cultural institutions that include art, history, and science museums; military and maritime museums; children’s museums; aquariums, zoos, arboretums, and botanical gardens; and historic homes and sites.

The 2016 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is made possible with generous support from Aon | Huntington T. Block, Blackbaud, the Getty Foundation, GEICO, Imagine Exhibitions, Northern Trust, PGAV Destinations, Saudi Aramco, and Travelers Insurance.

The Alliance also acknowledges the support of the Smithsonian Institution, The Henry Ford, and The National WWII Museum for their role in securing the keynote speakers.

More details are available at, and you can follow the event on Twitter at #AAM2016.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance is the only organization representing the entire scope of the broad museum community. For more information, visit


Press Contact:

Joseph Klem
Phone: 202-218-7670

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