For immediate release
Arlington, VA – The AAM team is thrilled to launch a $1 million investment in an expanded Museum Community professional development and networking program. Beginning as early as this summer and over the next several years, this investment will deliver new AAM member benefits including expanded opportunities for the museum community to connect and learn from each other, obtain professional training, and participate in national leadership and volunteer opportunities for personal and professional growth.
“The Alliance’s Strategic Framework prioritizes investment in the hard-working museum professionals who make their museums, communities, and our world a better place,” said Laura Lott, AAM President and CEO. “AAM is excited to begin the rollout of expanded member programs, which will be accessible to all of the Alliance’s 35,000 museums and museum professionals who are eager to grow and make new connections.”
We have received feedback from thousands of you over several years about how to celebrate, strengthen, and connect the museum community in all its diversity while centering our commitment to equity and inclusion. Three areas of focus were consistently cited by museum professionals as top needs:
deepening the ability to connect with peers across the field
expanding professional development programs
broadening access to volunteer opportunities through the Alliance
Over the next few months and years, you can expect massive improvements to the AAM member experience and the benefits you receive as a part of our Alliance. Below, you’ll find a preview of what’s to come in the months and years ahead.
Deepening Connection: Many museum professionals have expressed that they often feel like they’re working on an island—a sentiment only deepened by a period of pandemic isolation—and don’t always have the knowledge and resources within their organizations to help them get through daily challenges. After a time of radical disruption and many changes facing the museum field, our community needs opportunities for connection now more than ever before.
This year: We plan to expand our current platform, Museum Junction, to serve as a thriving hub for the field; providing connection 24/7, 365 days a year around job functions and topics that are critical to the future of our field. You can expect a few of these expanded virtual communities to be piloted in the coming months.
What’s ahead: We know that every connection can make a huge difference in your career. We’re exploring opportunities to expand connection and networking beyond the chatroom as well, including developing communities of practice and expanding mentorship opportunities.
Expanding Professional Development: The AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is one of the most critical opportunities for our field to come together and learn from one another. While it remains the largest annual in-person gathering of the museum field in the world, most of our members are not able to participate in any given year. To help close that gap, we’re investing in year-round, accessible professional development programming to help museum professionals grow, expand their skills, and address the most challenging issues facing our field.
This year: Expect some major upgrades to our member resources in the coming weeks including a redesigned resource library and a few new on-demand programs. Plus, later this year, we’ll be piloting our first fall virtual event and building a team committed to your professional development. More information coming soon!
What’s ahead: Using data and feedback from over 10,000 people across the field, we are creating a robust year-round professional development program supported by an intuitive learning management system. Additionally, we are experimenting with badging so you can show what you’ve learned to prospective employers.
Broadening Volunteer Opportunities: Our volunteers are museum professionals who go above and beyond, engaging in opportunities to select Annual Meeting sessions and book proposals, conducting Accreditation site visits, and building professional networks. Volunteers have told us time and again how, through their volunteer service, they develop and grow new personal connections, enhance their job prospects, and demonstrate leadership in the field. However, we’ve also been told that volunteer opportunities with AAM feel opaque; many members don’t know how to engage or feel welcome in existing structures; and volunteers often don’t feel adequately recognized for their service.
We are creating a comprehensive volunteer program that prioritizes transparency, equity, and inclusion, allowing all members to tap into volunteer opportunities in a way that is authentic and meaningful for you – and recognizes you for your national leadership and service.
This year: This past year, we piloted our first open call for Content Advisory Committee members, the volunteer group that selects session proposals for the Annual Meeting. We were floored by the number of responses we received to this call, demonstrating the need to continue expanding these opportunities. Over the next few months, we’re using the lessons we learned as part of this process to build out a new volunteer program and are hiring a dedicated Volunteer and Member Engagement Manager to provide the expertise and guidance needed for a robust and sustainable program.
What’s ahead: Opportunities for volunteering and contributing to the field’s thought leadership will be seamlessly integrated into the member experience. In the coming year, you will be able to express your interest in volunteering and areas of expertise directly into your membership profile. Plus, every volunteer deserves recognition for their contributions, and we’ll be looking for ways to celebrate them among their peers.
Have any suggestions as we’re working through these changes? Send them our way using this form!
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About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, we have been championing museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward.