If I had to choose one word to describe what the 2015 New England Museum Association conference was like, it would be WHIRLWIND. In the best, most positive way possible, it was definitely a whirlwind. We had fantastic weather, a great location, beautiful and historic scenery, and just all around a great conference. A big congrats and thank you to the staff and volunteers at NEMA for working their butts off to put the conference together — you guys are amazing!
I feel lucky that I got to help Dan Yaeger run a pre-conference “Networking About Networking” session the Tuesday before conference started. It was great to see so many new faces, meet new folks and hear their stories, and most of all, hear how different people take the first leap into networking. Mary Case made a really great point of making sure if you bump into someone you want to have in your circle (your network), to be sure you bump into them again before conference is over. Make that connection. Keep in touch. Monika, Scarlett and I loved running the Conference Preview on Wednesday morning. It was so nice that the group was small enough that we could have everyone go around and introduce themselves to the group. I hope some of you connected again during conference!
Monika and I ran a session on Thursday called Redefining the Internship. It was a think-tank style session, where we asked our participants to take a deep dive into the problems inherent in today’s internship models, and come up with some creative solutions for how we as a field might start to fix these issues. Y’ALL WERE AMAZING. Seriously. This should be a separate post. The brilliance that came out of that session made us both so happy. We are so thankful to all of you that came and worked with us. It was so hard to make our small groups stop discussing the creative ways to fix internships, how to make them better for the intern and the host institution, how to help first-time supervisors…. Really, you all did amazing work. We are crafting a white paper using list of fixes our participants came up with, in addition to creating a follow-up session for the 2016 conference in Mystic, CT.
This post should be longer, but as it’s already way overdue, I think I’ll keep it short. But really, truly, I had an amazing experience up in Portland. Meeting new people and hanging out with old friends and colleagues is always a treat no matter the setting, but something about NEMA conferences always gives me excited butterflies in my tummy and a pep in my step. The New England museum community, as I know I’ve said before, is one of the friendliest and most innovative groups of people I know, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be growing in this career in this setting. I wouldn’t have it any other way.