by columnist Tegan Kehoe
One thing I love about NEMA is the mix of perspectives you get hearing many voices and attending multiple sessions. In a session on partnerships to meet community needs, and another on shared authority in partnerships, I learned as much from questions and discussion in the room as from the presenters. The sessions I attended on games and the one on adults and play have sort of merged in my mind, although they were conducted fairly differently. A big message in each was that it’s important to find a balance between freedom and structure, and between concepts that are familiar enough to be intuitive and new enough to be exciting. In the former two sessions, I we talked about identifying needs, what you do well, and what others bring to the table. These concepts work just as well in the latter two sessions. It’s great how so many disparate topics can be united when museum professionals come together.
This was the first conference I have devoted any real time to Twitter. The #nema2013 hashtag was lively without being overwhelmingly busy. I am sure that tweeting can be a distraction for some, but for me it’s no more distracting than taking notes (in which I sometimes go on tangents in the margins about something at school or work related to the presentation topic). I was using Twitter to connect with colleagues, but I was surprised to find that tweeting about sessions can be a very useful thought exercise. In coming up with concise restatements of a session’s biggest takeaways as it was going on, I was synthesizing and sorting information on a level and speed I rarely do. #youlearnsomethingneweveryday