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#AAM2022 General Session: Chevy Humphrey, Laura Lott, and Karen McNeely

Category: Alliance Blog
Laura Lott speaking at a podium in front of a slide reading "Museum Social Impact"

The General Session of the 2022 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo took place on May 20, 2022 with Chevy Humphrey, AAM Board Chair and President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago; Laura Lott, AAM President & CEO; and Karen McNeely, MSA Board President and Director of Retail, Milwaukee Art Museum. Watch the full video or read a transcript below.



Announcer:

Good morning and welcome to the American Alliance of Museums’ 116th Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo.

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Michelle Wu:

Hi, everyone. It’s Mayor Michelle Wu and I am so excited to welcome the American Alliance of Museums to our city. Thank you for choosing Boston to host this year’s Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo. I hope you enjoy your time here. Boston is a city for everyone. Whether you’re a visitor or a long-time resident, our unique and proud welcoming community will always be here for you. While you’re here, take some time to visit our iconic cultural institutions. I know there’s a lot to choose from, but I promise you can’t go wrong. Whether you enjoy arts and culture, science, history, there’s something for everyone here. If you don’t have time to see them all come and visit us again. Our businesses, neighborhoods and people are always ready to showcase our amazing city. I hope everyone has a rich and productive conference.

Announcer:

Please join us in thanking our visionary and lead sponsors for this year’s event. Every community owes its existence to generations from around the world who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy to making the history that led to this moment. Some were brought here against their will, some were drawn to leave their distant homes in hopes of better lives, and some have lived on this land for more generations than can be counted. Truth and acknowledgement are critical to building mutual respect and connection across all barriers of heritage and difference. We begin this effort to acknowledge what has been buried by honoring the truth. We acknowledge the ancestral lands of the Piscataway people, the lands on which the American Alliance of Museum’s office is located.

Boston, the city we celebrate during this annual meeting, is the ancestral Homeland of the Pawtucket, Massachusett, Nipmuc and Wampanoag Tribal Nations. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that bring us together here today. We welcome all of you in the work of continued uncovering of truths in the museum field and beyond. Now, please welcome president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago and chair of the American Alliance of Museums’s board of directors, Chevy Humphrey.

Chevy Humphrey:

Welcome to Boston. Oh, my gosh. We are here. It is so special. It is so special to be back in person for the first time in 1096 days since New Orleans. Now that was the science museum CEO and me right now. So it is such an honor to be with you all today and to serve the museum field as a board chair of your alliance. On behalf of the Boston local committee and the entire AAM board and staff, thank you for joining us. In the last few years, we have all experienced the darkest moments in our careers, the greatest challenges in our organizations and the difficult, difficult decisions that we’ve had to make. Many us of us saw the impact of COVID firsthand in the loss of life of our colleagues, family, and friends, shutdowns of cities, schools, loss of jobs, cuts and salary. But today I stand before each of you and say thank you for what you did as a member of the museum community and the community in which you serve.

You continue to educate, inspire, engage both in person and online as well as became places of vaccination testing, 3D printing of PPEs, polling places, and places of refuge. One of my dear museum colleagues in Warsaw, Poland has become an important resource by assisting refugees from Ukraine. We need to celebrate our resilience, collective resolve and the commitment of the communities we serve and the role we play to make our community stronger. I want to share my immense gratitude and say thank you for what you did as a member of the museum community. Every single individual in this room and back in your home museum have been the ultimate leaders through this pandemic and reflective of who we are as contributors for our communities. I’m thrilled to be back in person and to see so many friends and colleagues who share my heartfelt feelings of being able to connect, collaborate, and learn from each other in person. Over the next days, celebrate the success of what our museums accomplish and the role we play in our communities. I am so proud and humbled to be your colleague in the field.

Our president and CEO, Laura Lott, will soon share some of AAM’s impactful accomplishments of the past three years, but without saying, the incredible advocacy of federal funding for museums was profound. On behalf of the board, we are incredibly proud of Laura and the AAM team. We are so grateful that you kept all events and programming on track, whether it was the two virtual annual meetings and the two virtual museum advocacy days that drew record participants or the Facing Change programming, we know that you in the museum field looks to AAM to help in the good times and the bad times. From COVID toolkits and relief fund training to our efforts to diversify the museum field, I still remember when AAM sent the first pandemic related advocacy alert to the field on March 13th, 2020, and we haven’t stopped fighting for museums and the investments we’ll need to recover and rebuild.

In closing, I want to express by deepest appreciation to all of you who have made this gathering in Boston and the work of American Alliance and Museums possible. Firstly, thank you to the AAM’s incredible board of directors. Would you please stand?

Thank you to the dedicated professional network leaders who provide invaluable networking and focused learning opportunities for everyone here at the annual meeting and year round online. Would the professional network leaders please stand so that we can give you a round of applause?

Thank you to all of you who are speaking on panels, sharing your expertise and ideas with others, and to the hundreds of volunteers, without whom this meeting could not happen. Thank you to our incredible sponsors, vendors and exhibitors. Thank you to the staff of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, our host hotels and our host museums for everything that you do to make this convening possible. We see you, we appreciate you, and we are grateful to you. Thank you to the Local Host Committee for your warm, warm Boston hospitality. I’ve already had my lobster role, thank you. Chaired by am board member and president and CEO of the Boston Children’s Museum, Carole Charnow, the Local Host Committee has worked hard to make sure our time in Boston this week is special. Carole, can you stand up so we can just say thank you?

Finally, thank you to the talented and dedicated AAM staff, almost all of whom are here this week, wearing their staff badges and ready to help. Now it is my honor to introduce you to your president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums, Laura Lott.

Laura Lott:

Good morning and welcome to the 20:22 AAM annual meeting in the great city of Boston. I never thought I would be so happy to be in dark session rooms, shivering, drinking, lousy coffee, but I for one am thrilled.

At the beginning of the pandemic, my daughter and I started a habit of writing in a gratitude journal most evenings before bed. I realized I am grateful for so many things. After the last few painful years, I’m especially grateful for science. I’m grateful for vaccines. I’m grateful for doctors, nurses and for first responders and frontline workers. Without any of those amazing people and scientific breakthroughs, we’d probably be meeting by Zoom again. While I’m truly grateful and proud of the AAM staff team’s determination to organize important virtual convenings throughout the last few years, there is unparalleled power in being together in person. Yes.

AAM is working to plan more virtual programs as we continue to see record engagement online, but I’m tremendously grateful we are here together in Boston. I recognized how privileged we are to be here and what a responsibility it is and I will never again take it for granted that we’re able to gather. Throughout the pandemic, my mantra has been two words; hope and bold. Your being here is a sign of your hopefulness and your boldness. I appreciate that this event takes you away from home and work and that it comes at an expense. It takes courage to step back into a professional conference, to travel again for the first time in several years. It takes courage to think boldly about the future that we get to build together. So finally, I’m grateful for you.

Now, I know many of us have not been around a lot of people the last few years. We might have forgotten how to act in public, or we may be feeling a little awkward. We are all in this together. Let’s start breaking the ice right now. I’m going to give you a minute. It’s going to go by quick. Please turn to your neighbor, introduce yourself and ask your colleague a simple question. Something like, “What have you been doing the last three years?” Just kidding. Why don’t you ask them, “What gives you hope?” Please.

All right. I told you it would go by quickly. I hate to interrupt this wonderful noise, but gosh, you make a lot of noise together.

Love that, and wow, did we make a lot of noise together these past few years activating and advocating for our museums. While we haven’t been together in person for several years, our Alliance has never worked harder together to support the museum field. Our advocacy success gives me hope, our real progress towards becoming more equitable and inclusive gives me hope, and our strategic plan for the next few years of rebuilding gives me hope. Those are the three things I’m going to talk about today. Let me take you back to March of 2020 when nearly every museum in the country closed to the public and stayed closed for an average of 28 weeks, some for much longer. Despite the uncertainty and hardships that immediately struck museums, you stepped up to prioritize your communities. Museum professionals leapt into action to round up and donate PPE to hospitals, to grow food in your gardens for hungry community members and to serve as classrooms for the children of first responders and others who had to go to work while schools were still closed.

At the time, the public was very worried about restaurants and local shops. Most people had no idea that museums were also in grave danger. But that’s exactly what our data told us; one third of museums were in danger of closing permanently. The American Alliance and Museums … and I mean that collectively all of our partners and allies stepped up to support museums, to make a lot of noise about what museums were doing for their communities and what they needed to survive. We went to government leaders. We put out the call to let legislators in Washington DC know that museums had to be included in relief funding. This was far from a guarantee. After all, museums have left out of stimulus funding in the past. You responded to our call with 62,000 messages to Congress, and Congress heard you. All told, museums so far have received over $3 billion in federal relief funding. Yeah.

Now, we don’t get to talk about billions much when it comes to federal support for museums in the U.S., but thanks to your hard work, thanks to your data, your stories, your voices, we accomplish something unprecedented; billions of dollars of federal funding for museums. This historic federal funding went to 10,000 museums and supported over 200,000 museum jobs. It supported countless education programs for school children and beyond and, frankly, many of you told me that it helped to save your museum from closing together. Many more dollars were provided by private philanthropic sources. Our partners by at national foundations such as Mellon and Wallace and Getty also came through for museums, and we saw unprecedented show of support from local philanthropy and local government. Why? Our years of speaking up for museums together resulted in support when it was needed the most. Inviting decision makers and community leaders to your museums not just for the annual gala, but to see museums at work made the difference.

Museums stepping up to serve their communities in unexpected ways made the difference. We were building on more than a decade of museum advocacy days and inviting Congress to your museum events to make the case for museums. The data collection we’ve prioritized to reinforce that museums aren’t just nice to have, they are essential. Museums aren’t just recipients of government and philanthropic dollars. They are economic engines that contribute $12 billion in taxes annually and $50 billion to the U.S. economy. That data made the difference. In our shift as a field to focus more on museums’ impact more than just the number of objects and artifacts we care for, more than the number of people who walk through our doors, it is explaining why we matter that is making the difference. How our museum professionals are out in the communities, how we’re contributing to the resiliency and equity of our communities and how we’re working toward a more just and sustainable world.

Thanks to IMLS, the Utah division of Arts and Museums and Thanksgiving Point for leading the way with the measurement of museum social impact initiative. You should all be proud and hopeful about what we accomplished during some pretty scary times, but let’s remember that we still lost too many museums during the pandemic. There are many museum workers still out of work, many who aren’t here with us in Boston due to continued financial challenges and understaffing in their museums. There are colleagues, many women and people of color, who had to leave the museum field to make ends meet. We think about these colleagues every day and won’t ever stop working to build a more sustainable, stronger museum field.

The museum field will take years to recover to pre pandemic levels of visitorship and revenue. A McKinsey report estimates it will be 2025 before the arts entertainment and recreation sector fully recovers. Investments are needed to not just return our museums to normal as economic engines and community infrastructure, but to rebuild our museums anew based upon all that we learned over the last few years, to meet the changing needs and expectations of our diverse audiences, to tell more and more inclusive stories to serve our communities in new ways. This investment in and rebuilding of our museums will take time and thoughtfulness and courage, and each one of you has a role to play. This is a pivotal moment. The choices we make in the coming months and years about what and how to rebuild will set our field’s course for decades. It is not a time to just rush back to the familiar, to the comfortable spaces. It is a time for deep introspective, active and inclusive listening and thoughtful old steps to help build a more just and equitable world and a more just and equitable museum field.

While we continue to contribute to the resilience and equity of our communities, we must also look in the mirror and continue improving ourselves, the structures and operations of museums. The last time I addressed this assembly in New Orleans in 2019, I announced an unprecedented three year initiative focused on building diverse and inclusive museum boards. Three foundations came together to support our field in this critical work. The Andrew W. Mellon, Alice L. Walton and Ford Foundations all stuck by us through all the ups and downs and pivots and retoolings that are unnecessary element of DEAI work typically, and especially during the past two years. I’m truly grateful for their trust in AAM and further willingness to stay nimble and flexible with us over the last three and a half years.

But this work didn’t just start three and a half years ago. Building on the decades long work of many people, six years ago, AAM convened a group of DEAI leaders from the field to examine why the field hadn’t made more progress becoming more diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and to begin developing an actionable strategy. This group’s strategic insights included prioritizing individual work by each museum professional to confront our unconscious bias, finding ways to make systemic change and ensuring ownership of DEAI at all levels of museums. The next year, our inaugural 2017 Museum Board Leadership Report became the first ever comprehensive look at the people, the work and the culture of over 850 museum boards. The data was tremendously valuable, but also pretty disappointing. Among many findings, we learned that nearly half of all museum boards were 100% white, not a single person of color on them, fewer than 10% of museum board members and museum directors identified as people of color.

Sadly, decades of investments in diverse pipelines and fellowships and alternate pathways to museum work had made little progress in our goal to have a more racially and ethnically diverse leadership in museums. At a time when the demographics of our communities are changing rapidly, the lack of representation at the top of our institutions and too few museums doing deep introspective work meant little substantive progress and becoming more truly equitable and inclusive. AAM saw an opportunity in the data. The vast majority of museum directors believed expanding racial and ethnic diversity was vital to their museum’s missions, and they were dissatisfied with the current diversity of their boards. However, only a small percentage, 10% of those museums, had developed a plan of action or allocated resources to doing the work. AAM saw an opportunity to address this gap with a focus on boards. After all, the boardroom is where values and tone are set, where culture starts, where strategic decisions are made and where budgets and resources are allocated, but sustained large scale cohort based board work had never been tried before and many thought it was impossible.

In 2019, AAM launched Facing Change, advancing museum board diversity and inclusion. The goal was to work with museum boards to reflect and learn, create action plans to become more inclusive board cultures, and recruit and elect more diverse board members. In most cases that meant more people of color. We created cohorts of museums that broadly represented the diversity of our museum field. Big and small museums, different types, history and art museums, science centers, and zoos, and in several very different regions of the country. DEAI and racial equity is the work of all museums, not just one type or size or region. In the fall of 2019, we held a dozen border retreats across the country. The work seemed difficult then, but none of us had any idea what was about to hit us in 2020.

Amid divisive national politics, numerous natural disasters, the very public murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many other black and brown people and a global pandemic that shuttered museums enforced budget and staff reductions, I’m proud to say that we, AAM, the museums, the funders, our fellows, we persisted and we achieved some amazing results. 1400 museum leaders and trustees took the intercultural development inventory, the IDI, and participated in multiple trainings to face their unconscious bias. I should mention AAM staff and board also joined museum trustees in these steps. It was powerful for us and for the participating museums. So far, 42 of the participating museums have added more than 120 new racially and ethnically diverse candidates to their boards during a pandemic. Yeah.

The museum boards developed and are implementing measurable DEAI goals and plans, and nearly all of the participants reported increased knowledge and understanding of DEAI issues in their institutions during their time in the Facing Change program. This was a bold and very imperfect pilot project, one that showed encouraging results during difficult times. There is plenty of work left to be done, and it is ongoing. But what makes me most hopeful for the future is the tremendous commitment of all the participants. Each museum’s journey has been its own and yet we have found power in the cohorts, in the communities of practice that are being built. I’d like to recognize the 50 museums who participated for courageously leading our field in this vital work.

There’s another group of people who were essential to this program. As we sought to build capacity for this work across the sector, we engaged 10 talented DEAI senior fellows. I’d like to welcome AAM senior manager of DEAI programs, Grace Stewart, to the stage to be recognized and to help recognize and thank each of our fellows. Grace along with Andrew Plumley on our staff was also integral to this work. Fellows, please join us on stage as I call your name. Sandra Bonnici, Eric Carpio, Makeba Clay, Omar Eaton-Martinez, Ann Hernandez, Danielle Linzer, Azuka MuMin, Cecile Shellman, Levon Williams, and Aiko Bethea, who I think can’t be with us today. But this is a group of superheroes.

We have learned so much with you and from you. No one could have predicted all that this fellowship was going to require of you over the last couple of years, but we are tremendously grateful. Thank you all for going above and beyond, truly. For those of you who call me sometimes and ask me who can help with your museum’s DEAI work, these are your people. Call them. Thank you all.

What’s next for facing change in our DEAI work? While, while we’re wrapping up this pilot phase, we’re only getting started. First, we’re working hard to share as many of the resources and model DEAI plans developed as part of this program with all of you in the coming months, so stay tuned. With thanks to another incredible task force led by Cincinnati Museum Center’s president and CEO, Elizabeth Pierce, and Smithsonian Secretary, Lonnie Bunch, we are about to release a paper called Excellence in DEAI with eight key indicators, measurable actions museums must incorporate to demonstrate excellence in DEAI. Our new strategic framework calls for these concepts to be embedded into our field standards and best practices, starting with an overhaul of the Professional Code of Ethics beginning this year.

Our team is also working to embed DEAI into the museum assessment program and into accreditation because DEAI is an integral part of museum excellence, and we need to take it as seriously as collections care and interpretation. These steps are working. We are changing the field together. It’s certainly not happening as fast as any of us would like, and you will never hear me proclaim mission accomplished, but real measurable progress takes time and thoughtfulness, and it is happening. It makes me incredibly hopeful for our collective future. One last comment about the future of AAM and our field.

When I started as CEO seven years ago, I prioritized two things; AAM’s organizational culture and strategic planning with a few specific focus areas on which our broad alliance could make measurable change. Those are still my priorities, and I’m excited to share AAM’s recently released 22 to 2025 strategic framework. You can find plenty of background and details on our website, but in short, the plan was inspired by you, the tremendous impact museum professionals have had on their institutions and their communities over the past few years, and it was inspired by our commitment to supporting you. Our strategic framework refocuses on our commitment to helping you connect with and learn from one another, to helping you better define measure and communicate your museum’s impact as an essential part of the community infrastructure, and to advocate for the value of museums and their power to change the world.

Social and community impact will be our theme for the next 2023 AAM annual meeting in Denver, starting one year from this week. Yesterday, I think. Mark your calendars. We’ll look to support museum professional skill building and efforts to identify and address societal and community needs and to measure and communicate the impacts museums have; why we matter. Building on our momentum is a driving force for DEAI. The alliance will engage partners, allies, and experts to champion an anti-racism movement across the museum field. We’ll catalyze and support change makers in museums and efforts to create more equitable outcomes in all aspects of museum structures and programming.

Following the tremendous disruptions of the last few years, expect us to critically review the field-wide programs and initiatives. We operate from accreditation to awards to this convening. Equally important as what we do, AAM is critically reviewing how we work to ensure equity is at the core of our culture, that we are agile and responsive to our rapidly changing world, and that our business model facilitates a vibrant financially sustainable future to support the museum field for another 116 years. Finally, I want to bring us back to what’s happening this week. The AAM team has worked hard, first and foremost, to prioritize your physical safety this week. Science has showed that wearing a well-fitted, high quality mask is one of the best things we can all do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We highly recommend you wear a mask while indoors. Please pick one up at the registration desk if you need one.

We’ve paid careful attention to capacities for our events and room setups that allow for a bit more space and you should have a color coded sticker for your badge to indicate your social distancing preferences. Please be sure to observe these on your colleagues’ badges and abide by their preferences. We’re also cognizant of our collective mental health. Personal losses and global events have impacted us all in different ways caused not only by the pandemic, but also the crisis in Ukraine, the racially motivated murders of black community members, including in Buffalo just last weekend, and the seemingly constant barrage of difficult and discouraging news. We know that museums can help to bring communities together to process, heal and take action to build a brighter future. That’s what motivates us to keep moving forward. We want you to leave the annual meeting reinvigorated and ready to move you, your museums and your communities into a brighter future.

With yesterday’s welcoming event, before jumping into the conference, we took a moment to honor all that we’ve been through, the millions of lives lost and to thank those who protected and served us and our museums over the last few years. From a touching performance by the Longwood Symphony Orchestra comprised of local medical professionals here in Boston to the inspiring sound of the Boston Children’s Chorus, it was a time to reflect and to reconnect. I left that event feeling grateful and hopeful as well as wanting to remind all of you to take care of yourselves and take care of each other. For the next few days, we’ve added an extra time for reconnecting and for breaks. New this year, look for neighbor hubs around the convention center and on the expo floor to find and just hang out with your colleagues. We’ve worked hard to focus on what makes meeting in person so special, to create a more intimate, highly interactive meeting where museum professionals come together to tackle the most pressing issues facing our field.

The Content Advisory Committee, led by AAM board member Nathan Richie, has put together a stellar program, one of the best, most thoughtful and engaging programs I can remember. Thank you to Nathan and to all the committee members, speakers, and panelists. We have four great keynotes, one around each of our four focus areas, beginning with journalist, author and three time Pulitzer prize winner, Tom Friedman, who will give us some food for thought as we consider museums and society in just a few minutes. Tomorrow, we’ll continue with discussions on financial wellness and innovation and will end Sunday morning with an incredible panel and sessions about the important topic of organizational culture. I hope you will stick around for what I know will be a highlight of this conference. Nearly half of you here today are attending your first ever AAM annual meeting in museum expo. Welcome.

I have three challenges for you first timers, and for everyone, here over the next few days. First, as I said, please take care of yourself. Find time to get lost in a museum exhibit. Second, reunite with some old friends and also grow your network. Try to meet two new people this week. Finally, while I hope you’ll find resources to help you do your job better, I challenge you to also learn about one new area of museum work you don’t know much about, to broaden your perspective and push through traditional boundaries and silos. The true value of the alliance and this meeting in particular is that it brings everyone together. That exchange can be so rich if we’re willing to break out of our comfort zones.

Speaking of breaking out of our comfort zones, I have one last charge for all of us in the weeks and months ahead. Let’s not try to return to normal. Normal should not be our goal post. We can, we must, do better than we’ve done before. This is a time to be bold. In the midst of a lot of continued struggle around the globe, we must remain hopeful to do the difficult work that’s required of us. While we continue to be an uncharted territory, none of you is alone. That’s the power of an alliance. Together, we are a force. Thank you.

Next, I want to extend a warm welcome to the leadership and attendees of the Museum Store Association’s 67th annual MSA Forward Retail Conference and Expo. Our organizations have co-located our conferences this year for the first time ever and we are thrilled to partner with MSA to enhance the learning and connections here in Boston for members of both of our communities. Please join me in welcoming to the stage the president of the Museum Store Association and Director of Retail Operations of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Karen McNeely.

Karen McNeely:

I’m going to say it’s a lot brighter out here than it is back there. Good morning. As president of the Museum Store Association, I couldn’t be more thrilled to not only be here in person, but also to see our MSA members coming together alongside our colleagues at AAM conference. The first thought that comes to mind is why haven’t we done this before? When planning our first co-located conference, I was drawn to what makes our organization similar. What shared values have brought us together in Boston? The obvious answer is that we share a passion for our museums and our careers. Whether that passion is for science, history, art, botanical gardens, or even planes, trains, or automobiles, we approach our work with determination to support our museum’s missions, and that shared value is the common denominator that has made our dual conference possible today.

But there’s so much more to this conference than simply holding our conferences next to each other. Within the frameworks of our conference is a landscape of discovery and the most relevant question is, “What can I learn and take away from this new and unique opportunity?” For me, I will be networking with colleagues, attending educational sessions and finding relevant merchandise from my store. But I will also use this time to get a greater understanding of AAM and who you are. So why is a pursuit of mutual understanding such a worthy goal? Seeking a greater understanding of your museum colleagues will require us to step outside of our silos that often control our daily routines. By standing outside of our silos, each of us encounter new ideas and different perspectives. From this new lens, our professional knowledge and empathy towards peers will grow. Our museums will reap the benefits.

For the next few days, we have the chance to step outside of those boundaries that define our work. The expo floor, the educational sessions, and excursions all offer opportunities to discover and explore. Today, we are outside of our silos. How do we make the most of it? Through a greater understanding of each other, we will discover more opportunities to collaborate. Collaboration is a vital tool that allows museums to attain goals that otherwise would’ve been impossible if we had remained solely focused on our own routines. An excellent example of collaboration is the global initiative known as Museum Store Sunday. Celebrated the Sunday after Thanksgiving by over 1800 museums in 24 countries and on five continents, Museum Store Sunday calls to the communities and our museum members to shop with purpose by patronizing our store’s unique offerings, continuing our stories and providing financial support toward achieving each organization’s mission. The success would not be possible without the collaboration with the Association for Cultural Enterprises, also known as ACE, which is MSA’s UK counterpart, as well as the support of AAM. So thank you.

In closing, to share for consideration my view that AAM and MSA represent the yin and yang of a museum’s operation, with AAM more closely aligned with those who preserve a museum’s mission and MSA more closely aligned to those who share a museum mission with our visitors and members, working together we create a greater whole. The pursuit of knowledge never includes complacency. Today I encourage you to cross the boundaries of your own specialty, to engage in a session outside your expertise, to visit exhibitions that have nothing to do with your job and to connect with a colleague whose focus is different than your own. By learning more about each other’s roles and how they fit our missions, we will become more well-rounded and better museum professionals, and ultimately isn’t that why we are all here? Thank you.

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