AAM: My Professional Support Group

Last year marked my AAM conference debut. And I found that AAM and its professional branches was all about helping me. AAM and PRAM (Public Relations and Marketing) are like career support groups. When I arrived in Denver last year, I had been working in the museum world only five months and the AAM conference experience was invaluable. As the director of communications for the Honolulu Academy of Arts, a mid-size encyclopedic art museum, I attended every communications-related session I could. PRAM members were welcoming and generous with information. The connections I made have been invaluable as I learn and grow into my position. I was particularly fired up by a session on rebranding. So much so that I made a proposal for the 2009 conference as a follow-up. And it was accepted—and I was asked to chair it.

Then a few months later a little financial crisis hit the planet, and the travel budgets at our museum were wiped from the slates. But thanks to the Emerging Museum Professionals program, a fellowship allowed me to make it to Philadelphia.

When I checked in at the conference on Thursday, AAM President Ford Bell was working his way down the line I was standing in, saying hi to conference attendees. When he got to me I was able to thank him for the opportunity the fellowship allowed me.

That in a nutshell is AAM—it’s a big organization with members stretching coast to coast, yet its core staff is accessible and hellbent on helping museums and their employees work toward a bright future. There are a lot people at this conference, and the big cheese personally introduced himself to me. It’s kinda incredible.

A little advice: If you’d like to get more involved in AAM, I highly recommend chairing a session. I learned so much working with the four panelists I rounded up. I was totally schooled on rebranding by Mark Minelli (Minelli Inc.), Beth Tuttle (Met Strategies), LeAnne Ruzzamenti (Crocker Art Museum) and Bernard Uy (Wall-to-Wall Studios). And they’re just really nice people who generously shared their expertise with attendees at “Extreme Makeover 101: Rebranding Museums” on Thursday.

It’s Saturday morning and I’m off to find out how to attract YoCos!—Lesa Griffith, director of communications, Honolulu Academy of Arts, PRAM member


One response to “AAM: My Professional Support Group

  1. I really enjoyed my first AAM conference this year! (And I even chaired a session to boot on inexpensive website design for Small Museum Day) Thank you for all the interesting entries. I put a couple of thoughts on the blog for the Jewish Museum of Maryland: http://www.jewishmuseummd.blogspot.com, if you’d like to check it out. Thanks!

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