I’m in Los Angeles for the annual meeting of the American Association of Museums. I’m not only attending programs, I’m also a presenter, which comes with a degree of anxiety.
My session, “Cultivating Communities: Museum Outreach in Healthcare Settings,” was among those offered in the first time slot. That’s not all bad; I had less time to stress in anticipation.
Joining me on the panel were Anna Kichorowsky from the Austin Museum of Art, Texas, and Sheri Levinsky from the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in New York City.
Anna chaired the panel, and her excellent organizational skills kept us on track as we prepared for the trip to LA. Before meeting face-to-face, we had two conference calls and jointly edited and merged our three Power Point presentations online (thanks to a way-cool program). Once in LA, we met to review our presentation and then got together again the next morning. Our meetings and preparations contributed to our camaraderie and also to the success of our panel program.
Anna’s remarks focused on the Austin Museum of Art’s ARTventures program at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas; Sheri talked about the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s partnership with the New York City Department of Education Hospital Schools; and I presented the Woodson Art Museum’s Treasuring Memories program, offered with Aspirus Hospice & Comfort Care, and SPARK!, cultural programming for people with memory loss.
A receptive audience appreciated our commitment to deliver information that could be put to use to create sustainable, effective, and inspiring museum-healthcare partnerships in their own institutions and communities. Attendees asked excellent questions and also shared experiences.
Since presenting on Sunday, many colleagues have thanked us and also let us know that they can’t wait to get back to their museums to make contact with local hospitals and medical centers to start collaborating. Knowing that we created a spark made the planning and even the stressing worthwhile.
I head back to Wisconsin as this blog entry is posted. I’m confident that the messages Anna, Sheri, and I delivered will resonate with those who attended our session. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with talented and caring colleagues from other parts of the country who share my passion and commitment for outreach programs that touch and serve those in the healthcare system.