Monday, October 19, 2015

Staff Attend Museum Conference in Wichita

At the end of September, museum professionals from all over the Midwest met for a joint conference between the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA) and the Kansas Museums Association (KMA). Held September 27 through October 1, the MPMA/KMA Conference was located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Wichita. Several of the staff from Museum of World Treasures (MOWT) attended the conference and each left inspired to make the MOWT even more educational, entertaining, and inspiring for its visitors.
To promote MOWT to other museum professionals around the country, Tim Howard, Curator of Exhibits and Research, and Steven King, Curator of Collections, created and presented an academic poster together during the poster presentation session of the conference. Their presentation discussed the extensive changes that have been made to the design of exhibits and the care of artifacts at the Museum over the past ten years. “Since the meeting was local, it was easy to talk about who we are and suggest that people come down and see us,” said King. “There were a lot of people from the meeting who visited our Museum and had positive things to say.”
Steven King, Curator of Collections    
There are many benefits for the Museum and its guests by having MOWT staff involved in the MPMA/KMA conference. Being in attendance lends opportunities for professional development, which in turn can increase the quality in all areas of the Museum. From educational programming development to improved and more engaging exhibit design, to ensuring the artifacts entrusted to the Museum are properly protected and cared for, there are many advantages to having been involved. 
  Mike Noller, President and CEO
Mike Noller, President and CEO, was chair of the transportation committee for this year’s conference. This unique opportunity allowed him to work with both the MPMA and KMA leadership. “The joint MPMA/KMA conference provided many opportunities for learning and relationship building,” said Noller. “From breakfast and lunch meetings with specific functional groups to workshops and sessions covering a multitude of important museum topics such as grants, security, education, and building projects, the conference both informed and inspired its attendees.”

Kristin Martin, Education Director   
The Museum’s Education Director, Kristin Martin, was a fortunate scholarship recipient from the conference and had the opportunity to attend the conference free of charge. Registration, transportation, and more were provided to Martin. “Because of the scholarship I received through KMA, I was able to meet professionals from ten different states and learn more about what it means to support the community as a museum professional,” said Martin. “It provided an excellent opportunity to meet other young professionals, like myself, and to make connections with seasoned professionals in the museum field.” 
According to Lisa Dodson, KMA Executive Director, “KMA is proud to honor our scholarship recipients, who are responsible for the care of many of the state’s historical and cultural assets.  These dedicated professionals preserve our history, art, science and culture.  KMA is pleased to be a part of helping promote best practices in Kansas museums.”
Tim Howard, Curator of Exhibits
and Research
Howard said, “[Hosting the conference] in Wichita is a great honor. It shows that the museum world recognizes the great museums in the Wichita area. It gives us a chance to show off the great cultural attractions that we have here.”
The MPMA was founded in 1953 and provides services to museums in its ten-state region. Its central office is in the Denver area and its governing structure includes a board of directors and committees. MPMA advocates on behalf of museums through the Council of Regional Associations (CRA).  The KMA, founded in 1969, is the statewide organization for museums, historical societies, art galleries, nature centers, zoos, convention and visitor centers, and libraries. In 2016, the KMA conference will be in Leavenworth, Kansas, and the MPMA conference will be in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

Museum professionals from other organizations around the country visited MOWT during the week of the conference. 
The Museum of World Treasures staff will continue to take part in learning opportunities, such as this conference, to inspire and inform our work of providing a gateway to the past which educates, entertains, and inspires lifelong learning. 

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