Attending a huge conference like the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo can be overwhelming! With the plethora of session and poster offerings and a limited amount of time, how can you tell what will be most engaging and enriching to you? While I can’t tell you exactly what your conference experience will look like, I can point you to some sessions that might appeal to you based on your astrological element. Scientific? No. Actually serious in any way? Also no. But the following sessions and posters are sure to interest, whether or not you’re the type to sneak peeks at your daily horoscope.
(Aries, March 21–April 19; Leo, July 23–August 22; and Sagittarius, November 22–December 21)
The fire signs are like fire itself: bold, passionate, and potentially intense. Like a campfire, you love for people to gather around you and give you lots of attention (your confidence and charm will warm everyone in return!). “TikTok For Your Museum” on Saturday, May 21, at 2:10 p.m. would be right up your alley. These presenters will walk you through how to set up an account for your museum and tell stories through TikTok that will let your collection (and you?) shine online. Don’t be shy, and turn on that front-facing camera!
To get an idea of how visitors enjoy your offerings, you center of attention you, check out the poster “Don’t Stop the Party! When Social Experience and Evaluation Converge” (hear the talk on Friday, May 20, at 1 p.m.). These presenters will show you how they used questionnaires, voting, and gameplay to get rich feedback from visitors on their programming. You, charismatic fire element, can use these techniques to tweak your own presentations to get even more engagement from your beloved audience.
(Taurus, April 20–May 20; Virgo, August 23–September 22; and Capricorn, December 22–January 19)
It’s no surprise that earth signs are grounded and, well, down to earth. Practical and patient, earth signs are the ones you want around when an institution is tackling complicated challenges. “Measuring Social Impact for Strategic Change” on Friday, May 20, at 2 p.m. will help your conscientious mind quantify your institution’s social impact into data that can be measured and compared, making it easier for those non-earth signs to understand where your institution is at and where it needs to go.
Similarly, the “Building and Sharing a Toolkit for DEAI Assessment at Your Institution” poster (talk at 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 21) looks at the relationships institutions build among their staff and with their visitors and shares a toolkit you can use to create supports and goals for your own institution’s DEAI efforts. There are few things that earth signs love more than clarity and stability, and these sessions will bring that to two important issues that can be opaque in their definition and development within a museum.
(Gemini, May 21–June 21; Libra, September 23–October 23; and Aquarius, January 20–February 18)
Air signs bring the winds of change in their proclivity to make things happen. They don’t get hung up on emotions, because they want to keep the ideas flowing and the action moving. Air signs are the ones you turn to when you need things to happen quickly, so “ENACTing Collective Impact to Better Serve Our Immigrant and Refugee Neighbors” on Friday, May 20, at 4 p.m. will show you how to offer support at your institution to groups who could use help right away: new American refugees and immigrants.
Another crisis in need of immediate attention is our climate, and the poster “Youth Lead the Way: How Museums and Youth can Collaborate to Advance Climate Justice” will show you how to support and empower young people in your community to become leaders in the fight to save our climate. Using your institution’s resources to provide knowledge and a foundation for local youth and encouraging the younger generation to take an active stand in calling out the planet’s need for serious environmental change? Air signs will be sure to keep those winds of change flowing.
(Cancer, June 22–July 22; Scorpio, October 24–November 21; and Pisces, February 19–March 20)
Like the unknowable depths of the ocean, water signs can be enigmatically internal with their emotional, sensitive, and intuitive personalities. Water signs can make deep connections with others, as in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History Smith Center’s project to hear and preserve the stories of Black families throughout the United States. Hear all about it in “Our Families, Our Communities, Our Histories: Documenting Social Change from Local Perspectives” on Friday, May 20, at 2 p.m.
Water signs will find a similar sensitivity to visitor experiences in the poster “Design to Disrupt: Positioning Museum Practitioners as Catalysts for Change” (talk on Saturday, May 21, at 11:50 p.m.). Many aspects of museum foundations are rooted in practices that can cause pain and withdrawal in our visitors. This poster hears those stories of grief and anxiety and imagines what we as museum workers can do to change those frameworks and create spaces that shift those ideas and experiences. Just like a water sign, this poster delves into those things that are often left unsaid.Skip over related stories to continue reading article