Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring museums, ideas, and conversation

Category: know your professional organizations (page 1 of 2)

Free Student Memberships to the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries

This is a GREAT offer, and one that all current Tufts students should sign up for immediately. I’m pulling this verbatim from the American Association of Museums LinkedIn page:

To kick off this academic year, the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries is offering FREE ONE YEAR STUDENT MEMBERSHIPS if you sign-up between now and October 15th.

AAMG acknowledges that students are one of the prime constituencies of all of our institutions as well as our future colleagues and leaders. We value the student voice and student participation.

Last time AAMG offered this special program over 400 students took advantage.

To apply on-line, visit http://www.aamg-us.org/registration/student-membership

BENEFITS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS — $50 a year (Students – Free!*)
•Access to our content-rich Members-Only Website, including job openings
•Free unrestricted access to AAMG-L and its 3,200 participating members to promote your traveling exhibitions, job openings and more
•Multiple First-Class Educational Opportunities to help you further your education and advance your career
•Eligibility to apply for transportation and scholarship funds to attend selected professional conferences and educational programs
•Multiple opportunities to network and virtually network with your academic colleagues at AAMG and AAM meetings and on the AAMG list serv, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
•Professional and Career Guidance on request from the board and regional representatives of AAMG
•Eligibility to serve on the AAMG Board or a standing or ad hoc committee
•Eligibility for travel support if you are a session presenter at Annual AAMG Meetings
•Invitation to the AAMG Annual Business Luncheon and Free Members’ Networking Reception if you attend the annual AAM Meeting

*(Students submit a copy of your current college/university ID with your membership application).

Know Your Professional Organizations: Visitor Studies Association

Up next is a very specialized, very important group: the Visitor Studies Association.

The VSA, in its own words,

is today’s premier professional organization focusing on all facets of the visitor experience in museums, zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings. We’re committed to understanding and enhancing visitor experiences in informal learning settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue.

There are a couple of different levels of membership: full is $100, basic is $60, and student is $30. The good news is, all three of those memberships receive the organization’s journal, Visitor Studies: Theory, Research, and Practice, as well as a bi-monthly email newsletter. The full membership gets a few more perks like a printed member directory and discounts on conferences and workshops.

The 24th annual Visitor Services Association Conference is being held in Chicago this July, and they’re very generous with financial assistance for students – check it out. At least one of the deadlines for a scholarship is coming up fast, though – March 1 – so you’ll need to hurry up if you want to take advantage of that.

They’ve got some great resources available on their website, including Evaluation Competencies, which is basically an online course for continuing education in visitor studies. It’s got a good bibliography for anyone who’s interested in learning more about being more responsive to visitors, and evaluating visitor experiences. There’s also a good collection of readings about ethical guidelines for evaluators, a good links page, and a fantastic archive of past VSA publications.

We learn a lot in our classes at Tufts about how important it is to constantly assess the impact museums have on visitors, both in the immediate and the long-term. This is an organization that’s doing great work to provide us all with more resources about best practices in that field – and who knows, it may be your calling within the museum field.

Know Your Professional Organizations: National Art Education Association

For the art historians among us: the National Art Education Association.

Here’s what the NAEA has to say about itself:

Founded in 1947, The National Art Education Association is the leading professional membership organization exclusively for visual arts educators. Members include elementary, middle and high school visual arts educators, college and university professors, researchers and scholars, teaching artists, administrators and supervisors, and art museum educators, as well as more than 45,000 students who are members of the National Art Honor Society or are university students preparing to be art educators.

We represent members in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, U.S. Possessions, most Canadian Provinces, U.S. military bases around the world, and twenty-five foreign countries.

Mission
The National Art Education Association (NAEA) advances visual arts education to fulfill human potential and promote global understanding.

Core Values
NAEA staff and members work to support professional growth, change, and leadership through:

Mentoring
Networking and collaborating
Participating in art education conferences
Developing and disseminating exemplary resources on art education
Building a professional community by contributing our time and talents to others
Valuing our diversity and committing ourselves to equity

They have a fairly complicated grid of membership costs by state; for Massachusetts, it’s $70 for full, active membership and $30 for a student membership. For those joining us from other states, you can navigate this PDF to find out your dues. In terms of benefits, you get a fairly robust series of publications, access to a members-only section of the website that includes lesson plans and gallery activities, discounts on all sorts of things, and access to grants and other funding opportunities.

The professional development section of their website is really fantastic: access to lesson plans, all sorts of resources for the practice of art education, book and material reviews, and a mentor program. They also maintain a robust “Research” section, with reports and tools for the thoughtful analysis of art education. Like AAM, NAEA is involved in advocacy for its professional interests, and they have some good advice that goes way beyond art education and is applicable to anyone speaking for a cultural cause.

So go, check them out!

(editor’s note: we’ve made a small correction to our previous post on the AASLH; student members aren’t mailed a paper copy of History News, but they can access back issues online.)

Know Your Professional Organizations: National Association for Museum Exhibition

Going with our specialization theme, here’s one for the aspiring exhibit designers out there: the National Association for Museum Exhibition.

NAME is actually sort of part of AAM; it describes itself as “one of the Standing Professional Committees of the American Association of Museums.”

For more from them:

Our mission

NAME seeks to enhance the cultural landscape by advancing the value and relevance of exhibitions through dialogue among individuals, museum leaders and the public. We promote excellence and best practices, identify trends and recent innovations, provide access to resources, promote professional development and cultivate leadership.

What we offer

NAME offers professional development opportunities through conference sessions and workshops at national and regional levels. We offer dialogue with exhibits colleagues through our professional journal Exhibitionist, other publications and this website. We offer networking through our Members Directory and social events. We are also the nationwide voice of the exhibits profession.

Who we represent

NAME represents over 800 museum staff and independent professionals. The membership includes designers, content developers, fabricators, evaluators, and others engaged in public programming and museums.

Because it’s part of AAM, if you’re already an AAM member, you can be a member of NAME. It’s that simple. There are some additional dues, which cover publications and a few other opportunities, but it’s only $25 for individuals and $15 for students.

NAME has one of the coolest professional journal names out there: The Exhibitionist. In keeping with that title, this is a great publication. Each issue is themed (last spring’s was about “Exhibition Frictions”) and then explores exhibitions or techniques that address that theme. Every article I’ve read – and you can read a lot of them, because many back issues are online – has been creative, thoughtful, and even if not directly useful or applicable to me at that moment, has given me something to think about. I would strongly urge spending some time reading through these articles.

They have a great collection of links to further resources, and a great lineup of awards and fellowships.

NAME makes a great case, in their comprehensive and creative thinking, for why everyone who works in museums should know about planning and producing an exhibition. So go check them out!

Know Your Professional Organizations: American Association for State and Local History

Next up in our continuing series is a more specialized organization. Don’t worry, we’ll be featuring organizations that cover all the wonderfully specific portions of the museum world as we go along!

So, for those historians out there: the American Association for State and Local History.

The AASLH, as it’s called, “provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans.” That’s a huge mission, and the AASLH really does a great job of addressing its tenets.

Membership is $70 for a basic membership, and $30 for a student membership, but be aware with the student membership that you will only receive the newsletter, not the subscription to the quarterly History News. (You will get online access to History News, though.) Other benefits are the usual ones: reciprocal admission, professional development opportunities, and discounts on publications such as those from AltaMira Press.

Here’s the thing: the professional development opportunities are fantastic. The AASLH goes above and beyond to think of ways in which history and museum professionals need help, and then address them. They have a great series of workshops, both online and onsite. Their Seminar in Historical Administration (an intensive four week program focused on preparing history professionals for leadership and administration) is celebrating its 51st consecutive year in 2011, and counts among its alumni some of the top people in the field. Right now, they’re piloting a new program on project management for history professionals – all paid for if you apply and are accepted. (I’m attending in March in Atlanta, and will be blogging here about the experience, so watch this space!) They also have an intensive mentoring program.

They also have some really interesting programs and national initiatives, among them:

Spend some time on their website, apply for some of their professional development programs (there are still spots in the project management workshops, which are free AND offer a small travel stipend), and consider becoming a member. Even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself an historian, there’s a lot to like at the AASLH.

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