WMA 2023: Pre-Conference Tours & Workshops


Before the four days of informative sessions and networking events begin at WMA's Annual Meeting, WMA provides attendees with a unique opportunity to engage with one another during Pre-Conference Tours and Workshops. This year, a handful of attendees will go behind the scenes of some of Pasadena’s most iconic cultural institutions, and others will participate in hands-on workshops led by inspiring museum professionals and experts. Please keep in mind, each Tour and Workshop does require pre-registration, and space is limited.



All take place at the specified institution, on Thursday, Oct 5, 2023 @ 1:00pm - 4:00pm


Autry Museum of the American West's Resources Center

In 2022, the Autry Museum of the West opened its new Resources Center which houses its unique collection focused on the historical and contemporary American West. This includes, over 230,000 cultural materials that represent the diversity of Indigenous cultures across the Americas. The Resources Center also cares for artwork, saddles, clothing and costumes, and a vast archaeology collection and archives. Participating WMA visitors will be treated to a behind the scenes tour of the facility that will feature various collections care spaces and a carefully designed Ceremonial Garden and Community Room. 

Tour conducted by Joe Horse Capture, Vice President of Native Collections and the Ahmanson Curator of Native American History and Culture, Autry Museum of the American West; and LaLena Lewark, Vice President of Collections and Conservation, and Exhibitions, Autry Museum of the American West.

Cost: $50, includes transportation and a guided tour

CAP: 25 people



The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Conservation at The Huntington! Tour The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens’ conservation lab where books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, paintings, and sculpture, are assessed and treated. Then, tour the Herbarium, a depository of plant specimens used in research and teaching. Herbaria around the world exchange specimens to help preserve and aid in the conservation of plants. The Huntington is a research institution with more than 42,000 art objects, 11 million library holdings, more than a dozen themed gardens, and 16,000 plant species across a 207-acre site.

Cost: $50, includes transportation and a guided tour

CAP: 25 people



NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a leader in robotic space exploration, sending rovers to Mars, probes into the farthest reaches of the solar system, and satellites to advance understanding of our home planet. JPL’s first spacecraft, Explorer I, helped lift America into the Space Age. Our spacecraft have flown to every planet in the solar system, the Sun, and into interstellar space in a quest to better understand the origins of the universe, and of life. Stops on the tour include Mission Control, Visitor Center/Museum, and Spacecraft Assembly. U.S. citizens must present government-issued photo ID; non-U.S. citizens must present a passport or resident visa.

This tour involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing. Wheelchair access can be accommodated with advance notice; however, wheelchairs cannot be provided.

Cost: $50, includes transportation with JPL providing a complementary guided tour

CAP: 20 people



All take place at The Hilton Pasadena, Thursday, Oct 5, 2023 @ 9:00am - 1:00pm

Sharing Our Human-Centered HR Practices Will Uplift Us All!

This workshop will focus on how sharing our human-centered HR practices will uplift us all. Specifically, it will: (1) explore what human-centered HR practices are and why they are so important; (2) offer up concrete examples of the development/implementation of human-centered HR practices; and (3) help attendees understand how to advocate for human-centered HR practices within their own organizations, no matter their role. Attendees also will have an opportunity to share with one another human-centered HR practice shifts taking place in their own organizations.

Presenter: Micah Parzen, CEO, Museum of Us

Cost: $25 (includes all materials)


Story Time: Embedding Story into History-based Museum Exhibitions

Stories are powerful. They engage visitors on a personal level, fix ideas and details in their memories, and encourage empathy with unfamiliar historical people and events. This hands-onworkshop will help you understand and use story elements and genres to discover the most compelling connection between your exhibition content and audience for your next history-based exhibition.

Presenters: Paul Gabriel, Education/Diversity Consultant; Lisa Manter, Professor of English, Saint Mary’s College of California; Katherine Whitney, Principle, Katherine Whitney & Associates

Cost: $50 (includes all materials, a story design review of interpretive plan drafts, and advice on generic approaches)


Disaster Preparedness Training: Damaged Paper Recovery

In this hands-on workshop, we will remediate damaged paper-based items (books, photographs, and archives). After a brief training, the group will dry drenched books and photographs, remove soot from smoke-damaged paper, and triage damaged archives. We will end with a discussion of best practices and what was learned in the training, options for other paper-based risks such as pests and mold, and create preliminary disaster plans for paper-based items in individual collections.

Presenters: Ariel Hammond, Director of Research Library & Archives, San Diego Natural History Museum; and Juliana Clark, Archives Assistant, San Diego Natural History Museum

Cost: $25 (Includes all materials)


CSI: Registrars Workshop

Each year, in conjunction with the Western Museums Association Annual Meeting, the Registrars Committee - Western Region organizes its members to volunteer their professional skills at a museum near where the meeting is being held. Join us for “CSI: Registrars” (Collections Services Initiative), an all-day event of giving back to our collections community!

Presenter: Beth Sanders, Vice Chair, Registrars Committee - Western Region WA

For more information on participating or to submit your project for consideration, go to www.rcwr.org or contact RC-WR Vice Chair Beth Sanders at rcwrvicechair@gmail.com.


Interested in attending a WMA 2023 Pre-Conference Tour or Workshop? Please create an account to register here (or) log back in to your WMA 2023 registration account add them to your existing cart.


Photos courtesy of:

Visit Pasadena