Members of the Collective Wisdom LAM Conference Exchange cohort embarked on their first investigation of a major sector conference —the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), examining it through a cross-sector lens. Fourteen cohort members, representing library, archives, and museum institutions, attended the AAM 2016 Conference & Museum Expo at the end of May with the intention of increasing our understanding of the museum sector culture, discerning difference and finding intersection and possibility for connection and collaboration.
This first reflection on the experience comes from Susan Irwin, Director of the Library & Archives Division of the Arizona Historical Society.
As part of the Conference Exchange cohort I attended my first American Alliance of Museums annual meeting. I am a practicing archivist with a Library Science degree, so AAM was an unknown world to be explored. All the sessions I attended provided insight into my own work. I found that once you step back from the differences in collections, LAMs are engaged in very similar discussions regarding digitization, data management, educational and public programming, facilities management, fundraising, data analytics, and changing demographics, to name just a few. These discussions focus on the day-to-day practice in LAMs, on what is not learned in graduate school but is needed in order to build successful and engaging LAMs. Graduate programs provide a foundation with the history and theory of the respective professions. Expanding the community of practice to all three professions provides opportunities for new insights, collaboration and CE/PD efforts.