Attending the Western Museums Association (WMA) 2018 Annual Conference in Tacoma, Washington proved to be an inspiring experience. Receiving the Wanda Chin Scholarship provided me with opportunities that will advance my work as a Grants Coordinator at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and as the Board President of the Oregon Museums Association (OMA) – as well as inform my next steps as a mid-career museum professional. Looking back on my time in Tacoma, I see three overlapping themes:
After brushing the desert dust off myself, I was promptly anointed with enthusiasm by the splashy drive from Seattle airport – inspiration sparkled as we arrived at the glistening Murano Hotel. The streets aligned with trees of fiery tones illuminated through the shrouding fog, their autumnal hues and aromas began to feed this Jersey girl hankering for fall’s change – absent from my life in the arid southern California desert for the past many years.
While it wasn’t the first movie to do so, Night at the Museum (2006) helped popularize the imaginative concepts of nighttime magic and mayhem in the museum for current generations of museumgoers. In the movie, the museum comes to life because of a curse. In Tacoma, the museums came to life because of the WMA conference! With a packed program filling the daytime hours, Tacoma’s museums took turns hosting evening events that proved they are full of life in various ways.