Why Attend

“This conference is the best professional development experience of my life.”

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AAM’s 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.

During a time of constant change and experimentation, we are planning for the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (#AAM2021) to be a hybrid event with a robust virtual program and an optional in-person add-on. The virtual meeting will take place on May 24 and June 7-9, while the in-person add-on is scheduled to take place May 9-12 in Chicago, IL.

Registration for #AAM2021 will open in early 2021. Learn more on our FAQ page and sign up to receive updates as they become available below.

Top 3 Reasons to Attend

The Content

Our new normal is filled with uncertainty and disruption caused by the confrontation of two pandemics: COVID-19 and the systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries. How can we come together now, embrace the change offered by the current crises, and build greater individual, community, organizational, and field-wide resilience? Leading up to and during #AAM2021 we will explore questions around resiliency and how it intersects with systemic racism and equity work, fiscal instability and economic security, climate crisis and environmental sustainability, societal divisions and community partnerships, and more. Becoming resilient requires examining the complexities of these topics, mapping paths to a more inclusive and equitable field, and adapting so that when we do bounce back, we do so with new vigor, together.

The Community

Never before in AAM’s 115-year history has it been more critical to come together for our field’s future. Immerse yourself in your community at virtual events designed to foster connection and collaboration with over 4,000 museum professionals.

MuseumExpo

The MuseumExpo is experiencing a new and improved virtual environment, too! Make connections, exchange ideas, and discover innovative products. It’s the best place to find cost- and time-saving solutions from dozens of exhibitors.

#AAM2021 Theme: Resilient, Together

Never before in AAM’s 115-year history has it been more critical to come together for our field’s future. By the time the AAM Annual Meeting takes place in May of 2021, it will have been over a year since COVID-19’s first cases appeared, claiming over one million lives and jobs worldwide, and broadly illuminating the inequities in our society. The impacts on museums and museum professionals have been dire. Many museums are striving to meet the needs of their communities through education, psychological respite, humor, and joy. Many are also facing the painful prospects of job loss, substantial budget cuts, and permanent closure.

Our new normal is filled with uncertainty and disruption caused by the confrontation of two pandemics: COVID-19 and the systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries. How can we come together now, embrace the change offered by the current crises, and build greater individual, community, organizational, and field-wide resilience? Which aspects of traditional practice left museums fragile and vulnerable to disruption? What is the role of museums in bridging divides, bringing communities together, and building empathy and understanding to build community resiliency when confronting crises?

Resiliency is defined by the ability to recover quickly from crises, to learn from mistakes, and in doing so, to find enrichment. It is a triumphant act to be resilient in the midst of a health pandemic, social and political upheaval, and economic and financial uncertainty. But what does resiliency mean for a community, a museum, or the field at large? How do we examine the challenges that create an uneven pattern of resiliency in the field? How do we fortify and adapt varying forms of resiliency to meet not only the present crises, but also determine and embrace what our future will hold?

Leading up to and during the AAM 2021 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo we will explore questions around resiliency and how it intersects with systemic racism and equity work, fiscal instability and economic security, climate crisis and environmental sustainability, societal divisions and community partnerships, and more. Becoming resilient requires examining the complexities of these topics, mapping paths to a more inclusive and equitable field, and adapting so that when we do bounce back, we do so with new vigor, together. What’s next starts now at #AAM2021.

Chicago is one of the cities best fit to explore the theme, Resilient, Together. Following the devastation of the Great Fire of 1871, Chicago residents, and supporters across the country and internationally, joined together to help the city rise from the ashes. They rebuilt a newly imagined and stronger urban landscape that touted innovations such as the modern skyscraper. This incredible example of large scale recovery efforts supported by communities from the hyper-local to the global serves as inspiration for the recovery efforts of our field.

What Our Attendees Are Saying

“AAM never fails to amaze and delight.”

“Amazing work…It’s been great so far!”

“Great job! And hot damn! Giving us some Hamilton [cast member appearance during a moment of joy] love! Great experience on #AAMvirtual today!”

“This experience is so great and all of your hard work at adapting to COVID-19 shows with every click!! Be so proud! Loving every minute so far!”

“Thanks for the opportunity to see who else is participating from home. The social reconnection is such a HUGE part of why I come back each year. I learn, reconnect, I return with ideas.”

“Hello team AAM- thanks for all your hard work in bringing everyone together not just today in Virtual form, but throughout the year!”

“I have been inspired to Radically Reimagine! Thank you Presenters, AAM & Sponsors.”

“I am a member of AAM and just attended the Annual Meeting kickoff yesterday. Thanks so much for transitioning the conference to virtual; I’m really enjoying it so far!”

“The meeting sessions all ran so smoothly, my telecommuting team really enjoyed, what was for many of them, their first AAM.”

“This live chatroll feature/virtual Museum Expo experience is very neat so far. Thank you AAM, et al. for working so hard to deliver this experience.”