Navigating the AAM conference can be a daunting task. At any given minute you usually have to choose between 5-10 different things to do, and if you don’t know many other people in attendance it can be a very isolating experience. Today I want to talk about where you can find other EMPs at the AAM conference, and some of the members of the EMP Advisory Council (EMPAC). This will be my third AAM conference, and my second as a member of EMPAC, and I can say with confidence that these sorts of connections can make the 4-day conference a much more cheerful, fulfilling experience. We’re more than happy to connect and help orient other EMPs, and so we’re providing a list of a few of the places you can find EMPAC (and EMPs in general) during AAM 2012 -
- On Twitter: I mention this one first because it’ll quickly become the easiest way to find many of us during the conference. Several of us were prolific tweeters at last year’s conference, announcing what sessions we were at, evening events, and even where we were meeting once sessions were done (dinner, drinks, etc). Our two most common hashtags will be #aamemp and #aam2012.
- “Navigating the annual meeting for first-timers”: This Sunday morning session (from 11:45am-12:30pm) is the perfect time to get oriented to the conference if you’ve never been, and to meet a few friendly faces that can help support you throughout the event.
- The AAM Opening Party: Pre-registration was required for this event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, but I know several of us will be there. It may be a little hard to find us, given how big this event is. But if you’re interested in connecting and hanging out (or dancing!) twitter will be the best way to get in touch with other EMPs.
- The Skills Lab: It would be impossible to list all the events taking place in the Skills Lab, but a quick scan through the program showed sessions on budgeting, resume writing, project management, public speaking, personal branding, decision making, communicating with your board of directors. The sessions are highlighted by bright blue “Skills Lab” labels in the program. It’s likely that these sessions will have high numbers of EMPs in attendance, and you’re likely to be sitting with people you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and start a conversation!
- The Museum Expo: The AAM showcase usually includes a booth for Emerging Museum Professionals, and members of EMPAC have previously staffed it to talk to other EMPs and those interested in starting their own EMP group (also see the Dine and Dialogue description below). I know I’ll be there for a few hours on Monday, and I welcome anyone who’d like more information about contributing to the blog to join me during the Open Hour on Tuesday from 3:30-5:00. There’s also the new Expo “Happy Hour” on Tuesday at 5pm, which should be fun! We’ll be sure to make an additional announcement when other EMPAC members know when they’ll be available in the Expo.
- The EMP Event: Another event that required pre-registration, it may still be possible to get tickets through the “Exchange Booth” outside the MuseumExpo. This year it’s being hosted at the Guthrie Theater overlooking the Mississippi River falls, on Monday night from 6-8pm. Bus transportation is provided from the convention center, leaving at 6:15.
- After the EMP Event: Had a conflicting event, or couldn’t get a ticket for the official EMP one? Never fear! The EMP event ends at 8pm, but that’s not when the networking stops. Last year we went out for dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant, and we’ll do that again this year as well. Follow us on twitter for details, and we’ll use the #aamemp and #aam2012 hashtag simultaneously to announce where we’re heading.
- Meet and Greet Signings: On Tuesday from 1-2pm, Greg Stevens (Assistant Director of Professional Development at AAM) and Wendy Luke (The HR Sage), along with other contributing authors, will be signing copies of their new book “A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career.” This is an exciting publication with strong applications in the EMP community, and we invite all of you to join us in checking out the book and meeting the authors and editors!
- Tuesday Night Dine and Dialogue (6:30-9:30 pm): “Starting an EMP Group in Your Area” is a new offering we’re trying, in response to how many people ask us how to start EMP groups. This informal dinner conversation will focus on the growing momentum for AAM Emerging Museum Professional (EMP) groups to develop in cities across the country. Come explore what it takes to start a group and learn from EMPs who have taken the plunge! Visit the Restaurant Reservations Desk at the Minneapolis Saint Paul Hospitality Lounge in the Minneapolis Convention Center to sign up and get dinner locations and directions.
If there are any other EMP events you can think of, please be sure to leave us a comment. Otherwise, we’re hoping to see many of you in Minneapolis!