Professional Development

Updated April 9, 2021


Hosted by the American Alliance of Museums and other museum service organizations, this calendar lists opportunities for museum professionals.


WORKSHOP: INTRO TO THE PROTECTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY – APRIL 12 This is an introductory level workshop, presented by Trident Manor Limited and the International Arts & Antiquities Security Forum (IAASC). The course is designed for those professionals that have a need or desire to understand the threats that can impact their unique cultural property sectors, how various threats manifest themselves, and steps that can be taken to reduce the risks they pose. This will be a LIVE event, via Zoom, that will run approximately 4 hours.


WORKSHOP: NAGPRA GRANT PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT – APRIL 14 The National NAGPRA Program offers non-competitive Repatriation grants and competitive Consultation/Documentation grants to Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and museums. The grants fund projects that further Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) implementation. In this two-part webinar series, Part 1 (April 7) lays the groundwork for the development of a successful grant application project by identifying fundable projects through a needs assessment seminar. Part 2 (April 14) continues the process by covering the essential aspects of budget and project narratives.


UNDERSTANDING COVID-19 VACCINES: A REALM PROJECT WEBINAR – APRIL 15 The REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) project is hosting a webinar to explore the topic of COVID-19 vaccines and how they impact the reopening and ongoing operations plans for organizations. Presenters will provide information on vaccine education, including resources available to help address vaccine misinformation in the community. They will also share aspects of what is known and unknown in the scientific community about vaccines, along with a general update about the REALM project.


DESIGNING FOR EMPATHY DIALOGUE AND WORKSHOP – APRIL 15 Organized by the Glencairn Museum, this virtual event features Keynote speaker Elif M. Gökçiğdem, Ph.D, and expert panel guests Makeba Clay and Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Ph.D. as they discuss the importance of fostering empathy through intentional program and exhibition design. Philip Himberg will then engage participants in his informative and enjoyable “Creative Tensions” exercise, demonstrating what empathy-building can look and feel like. Registration is $25 and scholarships are available.


BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOR: AUTHENTIC AND EMPATHETIC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – APRIL 22 In this webinar, attendees will join Brigette Jones as she shares examples of work being done at various institutions, whether positive or negative, to gain an understanding of the importance of authentic and empathetic community engagement within sites' geographic areas. Attendees will have the opportunity to gauge and critique the community engagement work being done at other institutions in hopes of fostering new and strengthening old community relationships.


MUSEUMS ARE NOT NEUTRAL VIRTUAL BOOTCAMP – APRIL 28, MAY 19, JUNE 16 Museums Are Not Neutral co-producers La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski will guide a series of participatory “bootcamp-style” virtual workshops. Attendees will unpack oppression in museum practice, develop a collective support network, and learn key methods for taking action against the deep-seated structural problems that exist within museums.


IMPACTFUL GRANT WRITING FOR ARTISTS AND SMALL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS – APRIL 28 Many talented artists and important arts organizations stumble when trying to convey their impact through grant applications. Join Kim Tucker and Dr. Dene Starks as they help us navigate building a strong grant proposal.


AAMC ART CURATORS CONFERENCE – APRIL 29–30 & MAY 3–4 Held entirely on a virtual platform, this year’s Association of Art Museum Curators’ (AAMC) Conference will feature four days of panels, keynotes, workshops and breakouts alongside networking and socializing opportunities. This conference will focus on our visual arts community’s interpretation, promotion, and usage of, as well as its reaction to and impact on the concept of identity. Panels will investigate the appropriation of Native American and First Nation cultures, the identity of Islamic art, loss of self and history in assimilation, and a culture of silence within the curatorial community. Register to join the largest annual gathering of the curatorial field!


#AAM2021 ANNUAL MEETING & EXPO – MAY 24 & JUNE 7–9 The AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is the only event of its scope and scale. It brings together museums of all types and sizes—from art and history museums to zoos and botanic gardens—to share ideas and make connections that are transformative. It’s a place where all museum professionals learn from one another, create partnerships, and leave inspired to make an impact on their museums, communities, and the world.


ONLINE COURSE: INTRODUCTION TO FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – MAY 24–JUNE 21 Designed for staff and volunteers of all abilities and organizations of all sizes, this four-week course provides an accessible, clear, and even fun introduction to financial concepts. From understanding expenses and income to how to establish an endowment, this course will equip you with a toolkit to engage with finance on your terms and to your ability.


ONLINE COURSE: BASICS OF ARCHIVES – MAY 24–JUNE 27 The Basics of Archives online course is designed to give organizations and individuals who are responsible for the care of historical records an introduction to the core aspects of managing and protecting historical records collections, using appropriate principles and best practices.


ONLINE COURSE: CARING FOR MUSEUM COLLECTIONS – JUNE 7–AUGUST 1 This eight-week course will deal with the physical care and preservation of your museum collections. This practical course will cover how collections age and deteriorate, handling collections, storage requirements, environmental considerations, housekeeping, and risk management.


ONLINE COURSE: DEVELOPING EXHIBITIONS: DESIGN – JUNE 7–AUGUST 1 Developing Exhibitions: Design is an online course about how to design exhibitions. Guided by an expert instructor and supported by cooperative student learning, participants will design an actual exhibit. Participants will decide what their exhibit will be about and why, identify its storyline ideas and organizing concepts, and decide on its look and feel.


ONLINE COURSE: LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION FOR HISTORY ORGANIZATIONS – JUNE 7–AUGUST 1 History museum leadership is more complex and demanding than ever before, requiring updated and innovative ways to meet mission and keep organizations healthy. During the eight weeks of this course, modules addressing governance and administrative structures, nonprofit status and the public trust, mission and vision, the relationship between board and staff, including their roles and responsibilities; strategic planning, human resource development and management, and leadership will be covered.


RESOURCE: THE INCLUSIVE HISTORIAN'S HANDBOOK This reference source supports inclusive and equity-focused historical work in public settings by sharing a knowledge base that invites more people to engage in history projects. This handbook provides concrete examples of how to make history work more relevant. It centers on equity, inclusivity, diversity, and public service while offering accessible windows into the many ways public historians work.


TOOL FOR CHANGEMAKERS: BAY AREA EQUITY ATLAS The Bay Area Equity Atlas is a comprehensive data support system to track the state of equity across the region and inform solutions for inclusive prosperity as well as policy solutions and stories.  


FREE DOWNLOAD: TRANSGENDER INCLUSION TOOLKIT FROM AAM LGBTQ ALLIANCE TASK FORCE The AAM LGBTQ Alliance’s Task Force for Transgender Inclusion recently released the Gender Transition and Transgender Inclusion in the Museum Workplace: A Toolkit for Trans Individuals, Institutions, and Coworkers. This expansive set of guides approaches trans inclusion from various perspectives in an approachable and easy-to-understand format.


Peer reviewers are museum professionals who volunteer their time to support AAM's Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs (MAP). They review museum self-assessment materials, conduct site visits and facilitate the institutional planning process. Their service is the critical backbone to the success of both programs. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis.


POLARIS MUSEUM MENTOR NETWORK Serve as an online mentor or to reach out for support as a mentee during this time of physical distancing by joining POLARIS: The Museum Mentor Network (free to all museum professionals).  


DOWNLOAD THE AAM RACIAL EQUITY AND INCLUSION PLAN PRIMER Advancing racial and ethnic diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion on boards can be a daunting task for any institution. No matter where you are in the process of creating a racial equity and inclusion plan for your museum, learn more from this new resource, including questions to help guide you and links to additional resources.


CULTURE TRACK INTERACTIVE TOOL NOW LIVE This interactive dashboard provides compiles data from over 120,000 respondents who completed the Culture & Community in a Time of Crisis survey this spring. The comparisons included in the tool currently highlight members or subscribers to any arts or culture organization. In the coming weeks, it will be further enhanced to include splits by genre of cultural attendance as well as race and ethnicity to further aid cultural organizations in planning and implementation towards increased relevance, equity and sustainability.      


NEW REPORT: CHILDREN'S MUSEUM SURVEY – VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING FOR YOUNG CHILDREN  Rockman et Al (REA) in collaboration with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) recently shared the results of the report, What Do Parents Want Now? Children’s Virtual Programming During the Pandemic. The survey summarizes responses from nearly 1300 members and visitors from thirteen children’s museums across the country— including California-based museums: the Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito), the Children's Creativity Museum (San Francisco), the Sacramento Children's Museum (Rancho Cordova), the Children's Museum of Sonoma County (Santa Rosa), Habitot (Berkeley), and KidZone (Truckee).


NEW REPORT: 2021 MEMBERSHIP INSIGHTS Cuseum released their first 2021 report: 100+ Membership Leaders Share Their Priorities For Digital Transformation in Museum Membership. With never-before-seen data and insights, this report breaks down five modes of virtual membership and why membership leaders at premier cultural institutions have made them a priority for 2021.


PILOT PROGRAM: PROFESSIONAL ALLIANCE FOR CURATORS OF COLOR  The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) Foundation is hosting a pilot program, "Professional Alliance for Curators of Color " (PACC), a new initiative designed to support curators of color around the globe. Leveraging the AAMC Foundation’s experience and networks, the PACC program seeks to address issues of isolationism, racism, inequity, and lack of access that are far too often the experience for black, indigenous, and people of color curators.