May 3 - Concurrent Professional Development Sessions

2:45 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Moving from Nice to Necessary: Social Justice Work in Children's Museums
Workshop: Inclusion and access have always been among the children's museum field's core values. However, understanding our role in social justice has been more challenging. In this session, presenters will describe some of the major impediments to productive social justice work and introduce a number of concepts to help the development and maintenance of an anti-oppressive practice. Join this session for a dynamic discussion of the fundamentals of social justice, anti-oppression, and how they can be applied in children's museum practice.

Playful Engagement through the Universal Language of Art
Firestarter: How does a museum strategize to meet the needs of its community while maintaining growth? Developing meaningful and memorable visitor experiences goes a long way. Professionals from three museums in different cultural settings will discuss collaborations with artists that foster play and learning, what it means to be audience-driven and the benefits of this strategy, and how arts programming helps empower disenfranchised communities. Apply these lessons to your museum's current programs, mission statement, and strategic vision by participating in a prompt-driven exercise.

Managing Guest Expectations
Firestarter/Panel: Effectively communicating with museum guests is essential to ensuring a high-quality experience. This session will share how to successfully communicate what your programs are about, from the first brochure blurb to the final hour of the actual program. Authentic and engaging marketing copy not only drives attendance, but also ensures visitor satisfaction, including through in-depth communication with guests during the program experience. Using marketing best practices and education techniques, learn how program and marketing team members can combine their "super powers" within an institution to ffectively communicate with guests and instill realistic, accurate expectations while simultaneously inspiring positive experiences.


Playfully Professional: Hiring, Training, and Retaining a Playful Team
Panel: A committed and talented team is the creative engine that powers play every day. When fun is fueled with a playful team, every guest and team interaction is ensured to be mission based. In this session, four museums share tools and techniques for hiring playful personnel, training for play, and retaining a high-functioning team with a playful culture. Leave with knowledge of specific tools that will help strengthen hiring, training, and team retention practices at your museum—all in the name of play!


Cha-Ching 2.0: Generate Revenue by Hitting the Road
Talk Show: Back for another round! This Q&A game show is all about generating revenue through outreach programs. Hear from outreach "high rollers" and others who are growing their programs by leaps and bounds with lessons applicable to your museum.


On-the-Spot: Making Something from Nothing
Workshop: How can something be made from nothing? The session group will explore how to build new exhibits and programs to match any budget or space inside or outside of the museum by stretching your mind with an on-the-spot interactive exercise. Create unexpected experiences for your museum and sharpen your powers of observation by participating in a hands-on exercise that shows how limitations can be freeing and inspiring.


Quick Hits of Marketing Wit
Panel: Back by popular demand, this session briefly touches on numerous aspects of the field of marketing and communications while offering insights, highlighting best practices and exploring new trends, all in a fast-paced and engaging format. A panel of marketing professionals will discuss signage, branding, media options, websites, social media, and more. Bring your questions and insights to the table.


The Accessibility Games
Game Show: Participate in three games that have been used for training staff at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh in basic Disability Etiquette: The team trivia game "Keepin' it Legal" builds understanding of Americans with Disability Act laws and regulations that apply directly to visitor interactions. "Matching Accommodations" introduces symbols and accommodation strategies through a memory challenge game. "Let's Clean Up Our Language" also uses a matching strategy to build skills in person-first language. There will be prizes for the winners of each game! The session will also explore the process of developing new games.


Changing Museum Practice through Research (and Evaluation)
Workshop: This session will provide a framework for thinking about how to build both internal and external capacity for conducting and applying research and evaluation in museums. Featuring case studies from three institutions, the workshop will offer practical examples and then facilitate idea-sharing and working sessions for participants. These case studies will describe the range of ways that research and evaluation influence museum practice, including on exhibit design, programming, and facilitation. Work with peers to identify research and evaluation questions, and discuss ways of gathering information and building your capacity for conducting research.


Upping Our Math Game: Outreach, Exhibits, and So Much More
Talk Show: Who says math isn't fun? Representatives from four children's museums will share how they are using increased early math funding in unique ways. Each museum's outreach, programming and exhibits are tailored to the specific communities it serves. The talk show panelists will provide a wealth of early math programming that can easily be tailored to meet the needs of children's museums looking to increase their focus on early mathematics. Try out some of the math programming as talk show panelists get everyone up, moving and doing some foundational math! There will be ample time for audience questions and comments.