May 3 - Concurrent Professional Development Sessions
1:15 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Capital Campaigns: What's Working Currently and What's Not
Panel: This session will include perspectives from three children's museums of different sizes and regions that have recently undergone capital campaigns for expansion. These museum professionals will share what worked and what didn't—including a few horror stories. Topics addressed will include: feasibility studies, setting a campaign goal, volunteer leadership (Board and non-board), staff leadership, consultants, campaign plan, case statement and campaign materials, policies, prospects and prospect management, solicitation methods, cultivation events, campaign timelines, campaign budget and stewardship.
21st Century Public Squares: Community-Centered Museums and Libraries
Firestarter/Panel: More and more, libraries and museums are becoming our new "town squares," where diverse individuals gather to explore, discover, converse, and renew and reinvent their communities. This session will explore the need for placemaking and gathering and feature three enterprising, community-centered projects in museums and libraries: a vacant lot being transformed into a museum/community hub; an impoverished library reinventing itself to meet the needs of its immigrant population, and a children's museum expanding its community work for ages 10 to adults. Leave with an understanding of the methodologies and processes used to ensure their realization and success.
Cultural Competence: Lessons in Organizational Change and Inclusion
Workshop: Cultural Competence within museums is often addressed as a programmatic or exhibit initiative. The Cultural Competence Learning Institute takes an organizational change approach, encouraging participants to engage in institution-wide initiatives for change. Change efforts presented by past participants, activities from the institute, and evaluation data will make this an engaging session.
Where No Researcher Has Gone Before
Panel: Researchers and theorists have created a body of knowledge about how children develop and learn that underpins many of our industry best practices. Children's museums are experts at implementing sound theory while making experiences fun and engaging for children and families. As theorists and researchers continue to add to our collective understanding, the museum floor is often a perfect place to collect new data. This session explores a variety of ways children's museums are collaborating with researchers to support this important work. The panel will discuss how the collaborations work and share some of the results.
Knowing Your Visitors Well is at the Heart of Success
Panel: Mission fulfillment and audience development are based on reaching audiences and ensuring their visit meets expectations. This requires evaluating visitor audiences through the best quantitative and qualitative research methods. Presenters will demonstrate techniques to delve beyond a superficial idea of visitors' needs and create a deep understanding of current and potential audiences. Then, they will analyze this audience data through market demographic study techniques to evaluate the size, characteristics, and ability to pay of potential resident and tourist markets to create strategies to maximize attendance and visitor
Playwork: A Free Play Revolution for Children's Museums
Workshop: Playwork is a method of play provision practiced in the UK, Japan, and now, the United States. Join a group of artist-playworkers at the vanguard of the US playwork revolution to learn how playwork can transform your museum's relationship to and understanding of children's play. Playworkers from an adventure playground will join playworkers from The New Children's Museum to introduce playwork and discuss how it differs from traditional children's museum engagement strategies. Leave with The New Children's Museum's newly published "Playwork Toolkit," a critical resource on how playwork may (or may not!) fit your museum's mission.
Designing Maker-Inspired Exhibits for the Youngest Learners
Firestarter: How do we create spaces to engage our youngest visitors in design and making? This interactive session will explore early childhood exhibits that embody the maker mindset. Presenters from The Discovery Museums, Metcalfe Architecture & Design, Scott Family Museum, Opal School of the Portland Children's Museum, and the New York Hall of Science will highlight exhibit projects that foster creative nd critical thinking, share their experiences, successes and misteps in creating spaces for young learners and their families, and engage attendees in a discussion about brining learning goals to life in early childhood exhibits.
Not every museum has its own design staff and fabrication facility but those that do enjoy some special benefits that exceed the obvious advantages of being able to create their own exhibits. Supporting in-house design is an investment that pays invaluable returns by engendering creative thinking, modeling roles for professional Makers and opening a channel for diverse contributions throughout the institution. This session will examine the rewards of recognizing design and production capabilities as a core component of the museum's identity. Attendees will generate possible solutions to a fictional design challenge, and explore the dynamics and benefits of working within an institution to develop and implement them.
Beyond Books: Stepping into the Story, Children's Books as Muse
Workshop: Books open doors to new worlds of fun that inspire and delight. Multiply their impact by bringing them to life! The session will explore the way institutions can use children's books to create interactive experiences, exhibits, and programming. Explore how to integrate children's books into your day-to-day operations, with everything from partnering with an author or illustrator to participating in interactive story times.
Engaging All Learners: Partnerships and Programs to Reach Diverse Audiences
Panel/World Café: Partnerships are an effective way for museums to reach new audiences and better serve their communities. This interactive session will share results and resources from a project bringing museums and community organizations together to engage families and children in STEM. Presenters will identify strategies for creating mutually beneficial partnerships, describe model programs, and share ready-to-use tools and educational materials. In breakout discussions, work with peers to explore ideas, work through issues, and identify concrete next steps for planning local collaborations to leverage resources and increase impact.
You Can't Say I Can't Play: It's My Turn
Panel: While many museums provide sensory-friendly programming for children with autism, what does it look like when a whole community comes together to provide programming? The panel for this session will discuss their experience implementing "My Turn: A Sensory Friendly Sunday," its inception, success, and the immense impact of uniting multiple partner museums and community organizations. Panelists will include education and accessibility staff from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and project partners from Aim High School and The Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Development.