We have a special bonus post today, as we continue to gear up for the AAM conference. This submission comes from Laura Hoffman, one of the co-Vice Chairs of the DC EMP group, in charge of planning the group’s events. Laura currently works as at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, as the Web Project Coordinator. This past July she graduated from The George Washington University with a M.A.T. in Museum Education, and also has a B.A. in Art from Connecticut College. In addition to her work, she serves as a member of Education Innovators at Smithsonian Institution’s EdLab, which is a cohort of educators and museum professionals working together to identify best practices for the use of new media in museums and other learning environments. Today she brings us a post about her preparations for making a presentation at the conference in two weeks, something we always love to see an EMP involved in!
At last year’s AAM conference, I found most all sessions were led and attended by mid or upper-level museum professionals. I remember speaking with other EMPs and fellow graduate school classmates, and although we found these sessions insightful and interesting, there weren’t many sessions targeted for EMPs.
After the conference, two former classmates and a close creative community of mine, Amy Homma and Emily Kotecki, discussed the possibility of leading our own session. As recent graduates of the Museum Education Program at The George Washington University, we wanted to share our experiences as EMPs who successfully landed jobs after graduating, as well as provide a forum for other emerging museum professionals to problem solve and connect. In our brainstorming, we kept coming back to how our open attitudes in embracing technology (even when we were not completely comfortable with the particular technology at hand) helped us move forward in our budding careers.
Take Amy, for instance: As an ARTLAB+ Mentor at Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., she creates innovative programming for teens using technology. ARTLAB+ provides state-of-the-art visual and audio technology—including a recording booth, green screen, DSLR cameras, image editing software, and animation program —all of which Amy has learned throughout the year.
Emily, on the other hand, had the greatest working knowledge of technology before starting her job as Associate Coordinator of Teen and College Programs at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC. Previously working as a multimedia producer at The Washington Post, maintaining an active food blog, and being an avid Tweeter, Emily is very comfortable jumping into new technologies. She has transferred these skills to working with distance learning technology in developing curriculum for high school students.
Unlike Emily, I always considered myself a technophobe before landing my current job as the Web Project Coordinator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Though I was originally hired to handle the organization of the website’s redesign, when our Digital Media Manager left, I quickly learned that someone would need to fill that role as well in the interim. While in this position, I have immersed myself into the local tech scene and taken over all responsibilities as the web administrator. I am pleased to report that the website just launched earlier this April, and we are very happy with the result: www.nmwa.org!
Lastly, I asked Susan Diachisin, The Kelli & Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, TX, to be our session chair. As my first museum mentor, Susan showed me firsthand the possibilities of introducing technologies in educational, interactive spaces when I interned for her at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. Since her arrival at the Dallas Museum of Art, she has expanded the different interactive technologies and remained a mentor for me throughout the years.
I hope you will join us for our session on Sunday, April 29, at 4:15. We will share what we have learned as well as open up the room for intimate, small group discussion to create our own creative communities.