Call for Proposals

The California Association of Museums invites YOUR  ideas and expertise. The 2017 CAM conference will be held March 29-31, 2017 in Sacramento, California. Inspired by our State's capitol and the history that is made there daily, the Program Committee is particularly interested in conference programs that inspire museum professionals to stand up for causes and solutions that strengthen our field and explore the power and influence of museums.

The deadline for session proposals has passed for the 2017 Conference.  We'll open a new call for proposals in the Spring of 2017 that will be for the 2018 Conference.  In the meantime, please check out the Creative Station  page.  A call for Creative Stations is now open through November 1, 2016.  

To prepare for 2018, please see review the program formats, review process and Program Committee Goals.  


The Program Committee’s goal is to produce interesting, useful, thought-provoking, relevant and interactive programs that:explore/discuss internal trends or external factors that affect the future of California museums;explore/discuss “best practices” in museums and strategies for achieving excellence; and/or
present model strategies to explore/discuss how other museums can learn from these experiences.The most successful sessions and workshops at CAM conferences delve deeply into issues or trends and explore real and scalable solutions; use multiple case studies that are candid, relevant to museums of varying sizes, and honest about lessons learned; feature compelling, organized, and knowledgeable presenters; and actively engage and involve the program participants (not just “talking heads”).
Proposers are encouraged to represent the diversity of the museum field in their proposals. This diversity includes the geographical region, size, discipline, and age of the institutions represented on the panel as well as the race/ethnicity, ages, and genders of the presenters.


The Program Committee evaluates proposals on the following criteria to ensure the conference program offers a comprehensive, objective, and diverse treatment of issues:

Quality of Content (comprised of Proposal Title, Description, & Learning Outcomes)
Field Relevance
Engagement Strategy
Speaker Lineup

Please review the proposal outline to better understand the review criteria.  Proposals will be reviewed by CAM’s Program Committee in the summer preceding the annual conference. As the proposer, you will be notified of proposal status in mid to late August.



There are five traditional formats for conference programs, however the Program Committee welcomes new models. Please select the format below that best fits your topic and desired outcomes—or create your own.
Session (60-75 minutes): A session can be facilitated as a dialogue or as a panel. Traditionally, sessions have a moderator or a facilitator and a maximum of three speakers, often with contrasting perspectives, institutions, or experiences. The moderator or facilitator introduces the topic and helps create discussion or introduce the various presenters and their perspectives. The moderator may also serve as one of the presenters. The session concludes with a general question and answer period or other type of interactive experience.  
Roundtable Discussions (1 hour): Roundtable Discussions are highly participatory programs in a small group setting that focus on sharing ideas on a specific topic, trend, or case study. They feature only one facilitator who will introduce the topic and lead the discussion with five to 10 participants. Roundtable discussions proposals may be selected as topics for dinners (see below) and/or as sessions during the conference. 
Individual or Institutional Case Study: An individual or institutional case study is a 15-20 minute spotlight of a program or activity and are typically presented by a single individual who led the activity.  They offer opportunities to get specific with details while keeping the content concise but interesting.  

Dialogue Dinner (2 hours, Wednesday March 29, 2017): These highly participatory dinners are in small group settings that focus on sharing ideas on a specific topic, trend, or case study.  Dialogue dinner facilitators take the lead on the discussion among a group of 8-10 individuals who sign up in advance to participate in a selected topic. Facilitators for the dialogue dinner are responsible for registering for the conference and paying for the event on Wednesday evening.

Workshop (1/2 day or full day): A workshop is a hands-on, participatory learning experience. Pre-conference workshops are offered as full or half day experiences on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, and are most often hosted by museums in the area. They usually require a separate fee to attend, set by the workshop organizer. CAM will help arrange a site with the local museums. The proposer/organizer will need to make arrangements with the host of the workshop and CAM staff for set-up, lunch, and/or other necessary logistics. If you select a workshop format in your proposal, CAM will contact you with additional questions, such as anticipated length of time, cost, etc.
Other/Create Your Own Format: If you have an idea for another format, we encourage you to propose it. There is a "Create Your Own Format" option on the proposal form. Our Program Committee is eager to help you experiment with new ways to engage museum professionals.