This past year has continued to show that our new normal is a precarious one. Our communities have been facing massive challenges on a daily basis, whether due to the impacts of the climate crisis, issues of equity and identity-based violence, risks to democracy, or many of the other crises we’ve experienced over the last twelve months.
We’ve also seen how museum professionals are actively responding to these crises in inspiring ways by moving outside of their traditional models into ones that are driven by community need. We know this to be true by hearing directly from those doing the work. With the 2023 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo’s focus on Social & Community Impact, the wealth of session proposals we received—and the tremendous number of volunteers who applied to help review them—utterly wowed us. It reinforced what we already know to be true: that when our field is at its best, we can come together and change lives, communities, and the world.
As we reflect on the past twelve months and continue to build for a brighter future, we need to embody these same values in our leadership. How can we create workplaces and structures that recognize the humanity in, and needs of, all our colleagues? How can we forge workplaces that make everyone feel safe, valued, and supported, during a crisis and during the best of times? These questions are not distinct from our social and community impact; they are inherent to it. Without our people, our museums aren’t possible.
In the new year, and year-round, I am challenging you to continue to adapt to meet the needs of your communities, and the people who make up our entire field. As your Alliance, we will continue to provide you with the tools, resources, and inspiration you need to further these conversations and strategies; and be your champions on Capitol Hill as we move into a critical Museums Advocacy Day season.
From all of us at AAM, thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make the world a better place; and thank you for being a part of our Alliance. There is no Alliance without you. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.
—Laura L. Lott