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An End-of-Year Message from Laura Lott, AAM President and CEO

Category: Alliance Blog

Hello AAMers,

I’m sending this video today to reflect with you on this historic year. It has tested us in ways few of us could have imagined. Probably like you, I have uttered a few four-letter words this year.

And while it’s clear the pandemic still has a grasp on our country, I am finding two new four-letter words as we end this year and enter into 2021.

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The first is hope.

Hope in science, medicine, and technology.

Hope in the confrontation and reckoning with our country’s past and addressing the impacts that history continues to have today.

Hope in our democratic process and our capacity for bridge-building.

Hope in you: museum professionals across this country who have not only weathered this tremendous year, but have done so while continuing to serve your communities in remarkable ways.

However, don’t misunderstand my optimism.

Having hope does not mean that I am saying everything will be fine in the end, or that things will go back to “normal” in a few months, or even years, from now.

This year has witnessed incalculable loss. Recovery is certain to be slow. And we will not, fully at least, ever return to the way things were.

But, with determination, and the abundance of creativity that exists within our field, I know we will find a wealth of opportunities for positive and lasting change.

Our museums have the opportunity to be leaders in rebuilding, to be the promise for recovery, and catalysts for reimagining our communities.

We can foster understanding, empathy, and belonging. We can illuminate and elevate the voices and histories of those whose stories have not been told. And we can help to fill critical education gaps for our nation’s students.

There is no place for hesitation or fear in the next steps we, as a field, will take.

And therein lies my second four-letter word for 2021: bold.

We need to boldly challenge the status quo, rethink outdated models, and lift up the many brave individuals in museums across the globe who are leading us into new frontiers.

AAM is going to be with you every step of the way through recovery and rebuilding.

From all of us at AAM, thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make the world a better place.

Thank you for being part of the Alliance. There is no Alliance without you.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy new year.

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  1. Some museums may find fostering “understanding, empathy, and belonging” fits their missions, but if there’s any one issue that has become crystal clear over the past year it’s been the nation’s shortcomings as a LEARNING society. Museums definitely can play major roles in helping people access facts (as opposed to beliefs) about nature, science, the past, present and even the future. We’re suffering in large part due to the enormous learning deficit in the US.

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