Announcing the WMA 2014 WestMusings

The Western Museums Association (WMA) proudly announces the second installment of WestMusings | 10 Minute Museum Talks featuring innovative museum topics. Modeled after TED Talks, WestMusings is an unconference program of short, engaging presentations by forward-thinking museum leaders.

WestMusings is happening during the Afternoon at Springs Preserve at 2014 Annual Meeting. This FREE event for WMA 2014 attendees is on Wednesday, October 8. 

Not registered? Register today and join your Western museum colleagues in thought-provoking sessions, in-depth workshops, and fabulous Evening Events. More info HERE
The FINAL PROGRAM is now available!


WestMusings 2014 will be MC’ed by James Leventhal, Deputy Director for Development at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and WMA’s Vice President of Membership & Development, and includes the following presenters:

Paul Gabriel, Educational Consultant/Educational Therapist, Independent
Paul Gabriel is an educational therapist in San Francisco, assisting children and teens with learning and processing differences. From 2000-2003, he was the Exhibits Director of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, and has served on the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and WMA Program Committees, the WMA Board of Directors, and on the DIVCOM and LGBTQ Alliance steering committees for AAM. Paul’s WestMusing explains how, “Sex drives human behavior. It is at the core of our survival as a species…Museums need to honor and celebrate this aspect of our humanity—not just in directly displaying the sexualized context and use of many of the objects we display, but also in how we allow our visitors to play with us, as well as our objects. Let’s talk about sex! Let’s do it!”

Sven Haakanson, Curator of Native American Collections, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington
Sven Haakanson recently joined the faculty at the University of Washington as Associate Professor of Anthropology and Curator of North American Anthropology, Burke Museum after having served, from 2000-2013, as Executive Director of the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, Alaska. As a native Sugpiaq, archaeologist and artist, Haakanson straddles worlds in an effort to resuscitate, preserve and give contemporary meaning to Indigenous histories and traditions. During his WestMusing, Sven looks at the century-long museum tradition of collecting, studying and keeping objects from around the world. However, what is the purpose behind all this collecting? Hording? Preservation? Ultimately we hope that purpose is to preserve objects' histories…but how can we do this?

Wendy Meluch, Visitor Studies Consultant, Visitor Studies Services
In the museum world, Wendy Meluch is known as a busy evaluation and visitor studies consultant. For 17 years she has enjoyed working with a wide range of institutions including the Exploratorium, the Bishop Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Outside the museum world, Wendy, AKA Leyla, has enjoyed over 20 years as a professional belly dance performer, instructor and director. Wendy has reflected on her three developmental phases as a dancer—an Activist, Hostess, and Priestess—and noted the many similarities between those and the phases of museum careers, including Emerging Professional, Mid-career Professional, and Leader. Wendy's WestMusing explores how leadership and belly dance performance are similar, and describes those three phases of development, replete with dance moves that embody them. Where are you in the dance of your museum career? Are you prepared to lead dance?

Michael Wall, Vice President of Research and Public Programs, San Diego Natural History Museum
Dr. Michael Wall is Vice President of Research and Public Programs at the San Diego Natural History Museum and sits on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Museums. With a background in systematic entomology, Michael is most interested in collections-based research, science communication, and engaging the public in discovery and scientific epiphany. Reflecting on his many interests and experiences in the museum world, he explains, “If you are like a lot of folks in the museum world, then your trajectory into the business was less than linear…We all have different origin stories in our business. Some are linear, but the beauty is that most are pretty complicated with twists, turns, sidebars, false starts, broken dreams, and newfound futures.” Michael’s WestMusing contemplates museums as a multi-entry business, which has upsides and pitfalls for both us as individuals and as a field.

You can view the WestMusings 2013 here.
Not registered? Learn more about the 2014 Annual Meeting here, and get registered here!
To add additional events to your WMA 2014 registration, please follow these instructions:

  1. Email a list of events to add to your registration.
  2. Please include your full name, phone number, and if you will be paying with the credit card that was used for your registration. You will receive a call or email to confirm your payment.


 WestMusings is sponsored by Wells Fargo 

Underwriting provided by Springs Preserve and Solstream Media



Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Just want to see if you are a robot.