May 4 - Concurrent Professional Development Sessions

2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

Using Data to Improve Your Operations
Panel: Data tells a story and all museums capture data every day. By studying, reviewing, and understanding the data, the better hidden costs and opportunities for revenue growth can be recognized. This panel of museum professionals will discuss how they use data to guide their organizations out of the trenches and onto a platform of increasing revenue by maximizing resources. Expect an honest dialogue as success stories and lessons learned along the way are shared. The presentation is meant to challenge the status quo of operating a nonprofit, mission-based organization.

Creating Positive Organizational Culture through Employee Engagement
Fishbowl: "What is it like to work here?" Employee engagement is about morale, productivity, workplace happiness, and a sense of inclusion and belonging. Connections between departments (horizontally) and interactions from entry level through upper management (vertically) can form an organizational culture that creates a high performing team and has a positive impact on the visitor experience. Join four CEOs as they kick off this inclusive discussion of staff engagement and how it promotes organizational and individual growth. Learn how fun at work is serious business when it results in a positive culture crucial to the growth and success of a learning organization.

Children's Play Culture and the Role of Museums in Asia
Workshop: With rapid social changes occurring in Japan, Korea, and Singapore, new trends in children's play culture have been observed. After an introduction of the trends and issues, presenters will discuss cases about how museums in Asia are using "play" as a mediator between generations to help parents, grandparents, and children communicate better. Learn about modern play in these countries, and engage in play experiences.

Teaching Coding in Museums
Workshop: Teaching coding to museum visitors presents unique challenges—from exhibits with short engagement times to facilitation-heavy school programs. In this interactive session, representatives from museums with coding programming will share their experiences, lessons learned, and provide hands-on demonstrations of various tools other museums can deploy. Attendees will learn how to train staff and volunteers on coding facilitation, and how to provide meaningful learning opportunities for children as young as five.

What Is a Play Facilitator? A Museum's Best Asset
Workshop: Museums of all varieties invest tens of thousands of dollars toward the creation of engaging exhibits throughout their growth. The Grand Rapids Children's Museum (GRCM) not only builds these exhibits from the ground up, but invests heavily in staff. While the word "facilitator" is infrequently used throughout the field, for GRCM, "facilitating play" is at the center of their practice. Facilitators ensure that every day the museum is open, its mission is celebrated and represented to the fullest. Presenters will emphasize the importance of having a diverse, well-trained and playful staff that make exhibits come alive, make every guest feel welcomed, and that manifest the museum's core principles and values.

Interdisciplinary Learning in Museums: When STEM Becomes STEAM
Panel: In informal settings, content and learning goals often cross disciplines. These interdisciplinary experiences are ideal for creating connections that build on existing knowledge and help visitors make meaningful connections between science and art. Children's museums have the unique opportunity to cross disciplines through exhibits and programs that focus on cognitive development, experiential learning, and immersive play. Panelists will explore different strategies for presenting dynamic, cross-disciplinary experiences that can keep pace with the demand for STEAM-rich content.

The 2017 Eclipse: Tools for Engaging Young Scientists
Workshop: On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the U.S.! This incredible astronomical event is an exciting opportunity for museums to convene their communities around Earth and space science. This workshop-style session will build enthusiasm for the many tools and resources available for planning and hosting an eclipse event, and for getting hands-on with science. In particular, focusing on ways to engage the youngest visitors. From NASA resources, to DIY tools for viewing, to activities that encourage visitors to play with and explore shadows, gain first-hand experience and take home ready-to-use resources.

Two Worlds Collide: Education and Development Collaboration for Positive Change
Firestarter: When education and development departments start working together, amazing things can happen! This firestarter takes a closer look at the benefits of cross-departmental collaboration and how to build a strong relationship between Education and Development staff by working towards a common goal. Two worlds collide when museum leaders allow the community's critical needs to guide both program and funding priorities. Professionals from both departments will share successes and failures, before discussing what works, what doesn't, and why it's important to play for the same team and create a powerful partnership
resulting in ambitious programs and increased funding.

Museums for All: Expanding Access
Talk Show: Attendees will hear from representatives of the organizations behind Museums for All (ACM and the Institute for Museum and Library Services) as well as three participating museums. Learn about what Museums for All is, why museums want to be a part of it, challenges they've faced and overcome, and how they have individually tailored and supported the program.

Signs on Trial
Mock Trial: This interactive, energetic session focuses on a topic all museums struggle to get just right: signage! Presenters will share real-life examples in a mock trial format to stir discussion on a number of decisions inherent in every sign created: legibility, language, layout, content, context, color, price, placement, and more. The session will look at a variety of signs, from wayfinding to donor recognition to parent education. Gain insight and perspective on "what works and why" in this fun, interactive session.

Children's Museums as a Strategy for Children's Rights
Town Hall: Children's museums are unique community institutions where children are valued citizens