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Museum Leaders to Shine New Light on Learning Opportunities at 2018 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in Phoenix May 6-9

Category: Press Release


January 9, 2018

ARLINGTON, VA – The world’s largest gathering of museum professionals, the American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo planned for May 6-9 in Phoenix, AZ, is set to provide a unique opportunity to bring together leaders from the museum and education fields in order to find new ways to bolster the country’s education system.

Museums spend more than $2 billion a year on education, based on recent surveys, and the typical museum devotes three-quarters of its education budget specifically to K-12 students. US-based museums receive more than 55 million visits every year from students in school groups and are constantly creating new and innovative programs in every subject, tailored to the needs of state and local curriculum standards.

“Museums are fundamentally educational institutions, with hands-on, inquiry-based learning at the heart of our missions,” said Laura Lott, president and CEO of the Alliance. “Museums are uniquely suited to better connect students to their communities, as well as to culture, to history—and to the world. It’s time to close the gap between the museum and education communities and forge new partnerships and programs to help our students learn in new and different ways.”

More than 5,000 professionals from the museum field will tackle the big questions facing our education system and more when they convene at Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo at the Phoenix Convention Center. This year’s meeting explores the theme, “Educate, Engage, Elevate! Museums on the Rise.”

Scheduled keynote presentations will feature leaders and experts in the areas of education and equity, including:

  • Donovan Livingston, speaker on social inequalities in America’s school system whose 2016 Harvard Graduate School of Education convocation address “Lift Off” went viral;
  • Kevin Jennings, president of the Tenement Museum in New York City and former assistant deputy secretary of education from 2009 to 2011 under President Obama.
  • Ericka Huggins, human rights activist, poet, educator, Black Panther Party leader and former political prisoner;
  • Frank Waln, award winning Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop artist and music producer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota;

Attendees will connect and share practical advice with fellow museum professionals at more than 160 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 34 professionals from across many museum disciplines.

In addition to sessions at the Convention Center, attendees can gain experiential learning through “On-Site Insights”─visits to museums in the Phoenix metropolitan region.

“We are so proud to showcase the amazing cultural landscape we have in Phoenix, and our museums serve to reflect the diversity of landscapes, history, science, art and peoples that call Arizona home,” said Tina Marie Tentori, executive director of the Arizona Public Service Foundation and Phoenix host committee co-chair. “Our city will be a great backdrop for the very important issues that will be addressed.”

The AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo 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.

MuseumExpo showcases the latest in technology, exhibit design, lighting, security, and countless other innovations critical to the museum field. More than 250 exhibitors will display and demonstrate cost- and time-saving solutions and cutting-edge technologies.

“At the heart of every museum is a mission to stimulate creativity, impart knowledge, and provide context whether it be art, science or history. Our museums celebrate the ways that learning and innovative educational practices can bring people together, and this meeting serves as the perfect engine to unite us in our common mission to educate, engage and elevate the status of museums,” said Chevy Humphrey, The Hazel A. Hare president and CEO of the Arizona Science Center and Phoenix host committee co-chair.

The 2018 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is made possible with generous support from many contributors, led by APS, Arizona Science Center, Blackbaud, Cook Ross, Desert Botanical Garden, the Getty Foundation, GEICO, Huntington T. Block, Imagine, Northern Trust, Phoenix Zoo and Travelers Insurance.

More details are available at, and you can follow the event on Twitter at #AAM2018.

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 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit


Press Contact:

Joseph Klem
Phone: 202-218-7670

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