SIUE sponsors IAM conference

Workshop presenter, Peter Ael from Northern Illinois University conducted a workshop attended by several SIUE students, including Jennifer Turner.

From Wednesday, September 19th to Friday, September 21st, the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) held its Annual Fall Conference, with SIUE as the Conference’s presenting sponsor. This year’s theme for the conference was “Museums in a Time of Change: The Dynamics of Opportunity.”

IAM is an organization that serves the Illinois museum community through education and advocacy. The conference included workshops and sessions that were of interest to museum directors, curators, and other museum employees as well as educators from all over the state of Illinois.

The conference was primarily hosted at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Collinsville, Illinois, although many events were held in different locations in the Metro East and St. Louis areas.

Keith l. Magee, Executive Director of the National Museum of Public Housing in Chicago presenting a session on "Building Upon a Difficult History."

IAM began its scheduled events on Wednesday with pre-conference workshops at the SIUE campus about how to start a traveling exhibit and how to utilize social media for the benefit of museums and tourist organizations. Several SIUE students were in attendance at the workshops.

After the workshops, Dean Romero spoke to the attendees to welcome them on behalf of the University at the opening reception, hosted at the Cahokia Mound State Historic Site.

Various sessions were held at the Doubletree hotel all day on Thursday. Topics included how to successfully direct a small museum, how the use of technology enriches visitors’ experiences at the Cahokia Mounds, putting the Common Core curriculum into practice, and how to build a museum cafe, among many others.

Heidi Moisan, School Programs Manager at the Chicago History Museum presented information on working with schools towards shared objectives in a session on "Common Core--What does it mean for you?"

SIUE’s University Museum Director Eric Barnett hosted a session entitled “Collections–What’s the Cost?” on Thursday. His session gave attendees helpful tips on the cost factors that are involved with maintaining museum collections.

His session was just one of the many topics, and as a member of the Board of Directors for IAM, he helped ensure that the conference sessions and workshops encompassed a great many topics.

“There is a wide variety of topics that people have interest in. Because we have a wide variety of museums and a lot of variety in the professions within museums, the conference topics are very broad,” Barnett explains.

Also on Thursday, the conference featured its keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Archibald, the President of the Missouri History Museum. Archibald has been president of the Missouri History Museum since 1988 and has published two books: The New Town Square: Museums and Communities in Transition and A Place to Remember: Using History to Build Community.

The last activities of the conference included roundtable discussions and forums as well as an awards ceremony that presented competitive and non-competitive awards for best exhibits, superior education programs, well-constructed social media and websites, and high-achieving museum studies graduate students.

Next year’s conference will be held in Peoria, Illinois, and Barnett, along with others on the IAM Board of Directors are already busy making preparations to ensure that it will be as successful as this year’s.

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