CAM Annual Conference Justification Toolkit
The California Association of Museums (CAM), one of the largest and most active state museum associations in the nation, is committed to providing networking and professional development programs that help realize a vision of “stronger museums for a stronger California.” For over a decade, the association has invested in field leadership in California by supporting networks of museum professionals interested in strategic foresight, environmental sustainability, the diversification of the museum workforce, and collaborative learning. For many museum professionals, CAM’s annual conference provides significant professional development and networking opportunities to advance their practice and careers. CAM recognizes how important it is to make and maintain connections with other museum professionals throughout your career. We also understand how difficult it can be to ask your employer for support to attend annual conferences. Below you will find tools to help you justify the significance of attending CAM’s annual conference and the benefit it will have for you and your employer.
Benefits of Going to the Conference
Below are a few benefits of attending CAM’s annual conference. We recommend using some of this language in your email to your employer. Pay close attention to the points that would directly benefit your institution.
Conferences are a great place to network with other museum professionals. You can meet people who work in a similar position as yourself or someone from a completely different department from whom you can bounce ideas. There are so many options on who you can connect with and the possibilities beyond that connection are endless. Networking builds bridges for your institution, leading to collaborations and knowledge-sharing that go beyond the few days of the conference.
During CAM’s annual conference, there are many different learning opportunities including workshops, roundtables, case studies, creative stations, and panel sessions. Throughout the conference, you will be able to directly engage with presenters and exhibitors, and hear about practices to take home to your institution and that you can use for your professional development.
Hearing from fellow California museum professionals gives us space for creativity and dialogue. When you attend a CAM annual conference you get the opportunity to learn about what others are doing. Interactions at CAM can open many doors, and offer insights about what you could bring back to or develop at your institution. Attending a CAM conference might just inspire you to determine where you see yourself in the field.
Staying in the loop
The California museum field is constantly evolving. As museum professionals, it’s important to stay up-to-date with what is happening in the many areas of museums. CAM’s annual conference is a great way to learn about updated museum best practices and explore new ideas that are transpiring across the field. The learnings you gain at the conference can be shared with colleagues at your home institution (consider doing a brown bag meeting to share out about the sessions you attended!), ensuring that practices are aligned with the innovations and latest developments in the field.
Asking for Institutional Support
There are different ways someone could ask for support from their institution. It is primarily a request for time off to attend a conference or assistance in paying for the conference. Either way, we want you to be prepared for your situation. The reason for attending a conference can be deeply personal; when you request their support, you should relay what you hope to gain from the experience. It is key to emphasize that the tools you take away from the experience benefit the organization just as much as it does to you. If you are unsure how to draft an email to your manager, CAM is providing a template for your use.
View and download a Template Justification Letter to your Manager
Image Above: CAM 2023 annual conference attendees at the Exhibit Hall Happy Hour in Oakland, March 2023.