So you’ve registered for the Western Museums Association 2022 Annual Meeting. What’s next?
With so many great learning sessions, social networking events, and other opportunities, it might be challenging to decide where to start. To help navigate yourself smoothly through the 2022 Annual Meeting and to maximize your professional development, we at WMA have created this Attendee Guide just for you. From preparing what to pack and planning transportation, to deciding what sessions to attend and how to successfully network, there is a lot to think about. To put your mind at ease, here are some things to consider as you arrange for Portland and make your way through the 4-days at WMA2022.
Prior to the Annual Meeting • During the Annual Meeting • After the Annual Meeting
Prior to the Annual Meeting
Getting There & Transportation
Below are transportation options for traveling from the Portland International Airport to the Annual Meeting location at the Hilton Portland Downtown hotel. The hotel is approx 10 miles from the airport.
Take the I-205 S from NE Airport Way. Follow I-205 S and I-84 W/US-30 W to SE Morrison Bridge. Take the exit toward City Ctr from I-84 W/US-30 W. Continue on SE Morrison Bridge. Take SW Washington St to SW Broadway. The Hilton will be located at 921 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204.
To view these instructions on Google Maps, click here
MAX Red Line Light Rail
Follow signs from baggage claim to the Portland International Station. Tickets may be purchased for either before you exit the airport, or on the train platform. One two-hour ticket is $2.35. Ticket kiosks accept cash or major debit / credit cards, and do not give paper change. At the station, look for the MAX Red Line heading to City Center and Beaverton.
Once you board the train, stay on for 16 stops and depart train at Pioneer Square North. The average travel time is 39 minutes. Once you reach Pioneer Square, walk west on SW Morrison St toward SW Broadway, turn left, and the Hilton hotel will be right there.
To view these instructions on Google Maps, click here.
Hotel Reservations & Saving Money
For WMA attendees, there is a discounted hotel rate of $185 per night. The deadline for this guaranteed discounted rate is August 26, 2022.
Another way WMA attendees can save money, is by sharing a hotel room. Connect with your fellow WMA 2022 attendees on the Hotel webpage
to find a roommate.
What to Bring/Wear
Clothing & Shoes
Knowing that selecting conference attire can sometimes be a time-consuming process, we made WMA’s Annual Meeting casual fun is one of our Core Values after all. That said, it is still important to make a good impression and business casual attire is strongly recommended. As for footwear, wear whatever shoes that are comfortable for you, but keep in mind that there will be quite a bit of standing and walking around the venue and at events.
The average temperature in Portland during the month of October is a high of 63°F and a low of 48° F. We recommend dressing in layers. However, it is best to check the weather the week of the Annual Meeting for more specific information.
Accessories & Other Gear
When out-and-about all day and all night at the Annual Meeting, it's recommended that you bring a purse, tote bag, or briefcase with you to stash some much-needed items. We suggest bringing the following items along with you: notebook or laptop, pens and/or pencils, reusable water bottle, phone charger/extended batteries, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and of course business cards and resumes! Please read to the next section below.
Business Cards, Elevator Pitches, & Resumes
“What about business cards?”
It is always a good idea to bring business cards—everywhere. These bits of paper gold are a great way to start initial conversations with your peers, or follow-up with additional dialogues. You do not necessarily need to have business cards related to a specific job, particularly if you are an EMP or between jobs. Consider creating a personal card that includes your name, contact information, and a vision statement about your museum work.
are great resources for economical cards. Also consider buying business-card-sized paper at your local office supply store and make your own!
“Is there any way to prepare for networking conversations?”
Yes! It is important to prepare for the personal and professional conversations that will arise during the Annual Meeting. Many times, the first questions when meeting people are, “Tell me about yourself,” or “What do you do?” It is best to have a prepared response, known as an elevator pitch
, as this will help increase your confidence to engage on a deeper level. Your pitch should briefly summarize who you are, what you do or are working on, as well as why you are passionate about museums.
“Should I bring a resume?”
Yes! Bring printed copies, especially if you are an EMP. You can provide your resume to potential employers or ask your peers for suggestions about how to improve it.
Consider setting some personal and professional goals before attending the 2022 Annual Meeting. The goals could be as simple as meeting three new people, or more complex like finding a strategy for a future program, exhibit, or policy, among other things. Think about discussing your goals with your friends, colleagues, or partner(s). Better yet, share your goals with one of your contacts also attending the Annual Meeting and you can help one another achieve them. No matter what your goals, being intentional about them will help you gauge how much you learned, determine if your experience was successful, and make the Annual Meeting more effective overall.
Connecting with Other Attendees
Prior to, and during the Annual Meeting, there are many ways for you to connect with other attendees and build your network.
Before the Annual Meeting, find out who in your personal and professional networks will be attending. Consider asking friends and colleagues directly or using LinkedIn or Facebook to investigate.
When it comes to connecting with other museum people outside of your networks, we suggest using our attendee list (coming soon). All registered attendees will be sent a pre-meeting attendee list prior to the conference, making it easy to find potential contacts. Once received, reach out to those peers via LinkedIn, or wait to connect in-person at the Annual Meeting. It's a good idea to make plans to connect with those peers at the Annual Meeting whether it be for meals, coffee breaks, or drinks—but be sure to allow flexible time in your schedule for whatever might come up!
If you know of some peers that are interested in attending the same sessions you are interested in, or who share similar interests, think about reaching out to those people via email, LinkedIn, or Facebook prior to Portland. This will help open the conversation before even meeting in-person.
Choosing Sessions to Attend
With so many exciting sessions at the 2022 Annual Meeting, it can be a daunting task determining which ones you want to attend.
When selecting programs to attend ask yourself: What information will benefit my institution, particularly if they are supporting my attendance? What information will help me reach my professional goals? What am I passionate about within the museum-field? Are there discussions that I want to start or extend into a future Annual Meeting session?
Our 2022 Program Key (coming soon) makes this task manageable. If you're interested in a specific topic – such as digital technologies or Indigenous studies – the Program Key can guide you as to which sessions fall under that topic. That said, it can be beneficial to attend sessions that are not in your direct discipline or interest to further expand your perspective. So, look through the Annual Meeting Program to see what other sessions might be worth attending.
Another way to select sessions is to see who's presenting. If there are any presenters or institutions you would specifically like to hear from, you can attend their sessions. And be sure to connect with them afterwards!
During the Annual Meeting
Here are some things to consider maximizing your time and experience at the 2022 Annual Meeting. Get involved, talk to your peers and of course, have fun!
Networking can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. WMA Board and Committee members and attendees are all friendly, responsive, and enjoy conversations with new and old colleagues. Whether it’s drinking coffee at a break or perusing galleries at an evening event, don’t be afraid to start a conversation! Remember, fun, collegiality, and inclusion are some of WMA’s Core Values.
The WMA Board and Program Committee also have special-colored tags on their conference badges. Feel free to start up conversations with them—they’re looking forward to it! Try asking a Board Member about the work they do for their own institution or try asking a Program Committee Member about the in-depth proposal review process.
It is also important to remember that WMA Annual Meetings are gatherings of like-minded people who are all passionate about the same thing you are: museums. As WMA Board Member Anne Rowe explains – “WMA Annual Meetings are intentionally constructed to provide a safe and fun space where the foundation for social interactions is well advanced of where you typically begin when meeting new people.” Take advantage of that. Introduce yourself to the people you are seated near in session rooms and even ask for their business cards. Remember, these people are in the same industry and chose to attend the same session; they probably have something in common with you. Make sure to join in on session discussions, and share what you found interesting with your fellow attendees.
Engage with Social Media
Another way to network and join in on discussions is through social media. We want to hear what you say whether it’s Tweeting, sharing photos on Instagram, posting pictures to our Facebook page, or joining in on deeper conversations happening across social media. Make sure to use #WMA2022 and tag WMA when sharing content from the 2022 Annual Meeting!
There are multiple free and paid events throughout the 2022 Annual Meeting. During the day there will be free coffee breaks and other networking opportunities in the Exhibit Hall. We recommend attending the free Opening and Closing Receptions in the Exhibit Hall, as well as the free Shippers' Party, as they are fantastic gathering events that many participants attend.
Did we mention the free food? On Friday there will be a free Networking Lunch immediately after the General Session & Keynote, while on Saturday there will be ticketed Affinity Luncheons. On each night of the Annual Meeting there will be ticketed Evening Events. We encourage attendees to join as many events as possible, as they maximize potential networking opportunities and are the places where many meaningful conversations occur.
There will be limited tickets for Evening Events and Affinity Luncheons available to purchase at the Registration Desk during the Annual Meeting. Please check with staff for availability. Additionally, there will be a message board in the registration area where attendees often post tickets to exchange.
Food During the Annual Meeting
“Where will we eat?”
is always a looming question when traveling. At the Hilton Portland Downtown, you'll find the full-service HopCity Tavern serving locally sourced American gastropub cuisine, and the HopCity Market offering grab-and-go items perfect for any time of day. Additionally, there are and endless number of restaurants, bars, and cafes surrounding the hotel in Downtown Portland. You'll find a list of some of our top favorite places to wine and dine on our Portland page
Additionally, WMA's 4 Evening Events will feature a variety of small plates for munching and drinks to enjoy!
While attending sessions and events at the Annual Meeting, consider developing a running list of key takeaways—these could be programs that you want to research to find more about, suggestions for new programs back at your own institution, or ideas for a session at WMA's 2023 Annual Meeting.
After the Annual Meeting
So, you've left the 2022 Annual Meeting with lots of stimulating ideas that you want to share and discuss with your friends and colleagues. But now what? There are multiple ways to engage with both WMA and attendees after the Annual Meeting.
Write a Blog Post
Did you learn something interesting during WMA 2022? Were your perspectives changed? All museum professionals need to listen, learn, and lead the way—how did your WMA 2022 experience change your methods of engagement with colleagues and communities? These are just a few questions that you can write about it in a blog post for WMA's WestMuse Blog
. You're welcomed and encouraged to share your thoughts with the Western Museum community and museum professionals! Plus, writing is a great way to develop your communications skills while getting your name out there!
View the WestMuse blog Submission Guidelines here
Review Your List of Takeaways & Goals
Remember that list of takeaways you developed during the Annual Meeting? Review it and determine your next steps. Check in on your goals—did you achieve everything you intended at the conference? Why or why not? Consider sharing that feedback in the 2022 Attendee survey, or by writing all about it in the WestMuse Blog
Fill Out the Attendee Survey
Did we do a great job? Are there areas that we can improve upon? Do you have a great suggestion for future Annual Meetings? Let us know in the 2022 Attendee Survey (coming soon)! Your response greatly matters as we use the survey results to help plan our future Annual Meetings—please be sure to provide your honest feedback. The Attendee Survey will be sent out to all attendees after the Annual Meeting, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!
Propose a WMA 2023 Session
Did you have an amazing discussion or attend a session at WMA 2022 that you think the Western Museum community should know more about? Proposals that build on the conversations and offerings of the 2022 Annual Meeting will provide future attendees at the next 2023 Annual Meeting with a rich, engaging diversity of sessions. Submit your proposal for a WMA 2023 session by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2023 Annual Meeting Request for Proposals will open in late October 2022.
Follow Up with Your Contacts
Exchanging business cards is great practice but collecting them is only the first step. Before filing those business cards away, it's essential that you follow up and connect with all your new contacts on LinkedIn. Establish a relationship and keep the dialogue professional, open, and friendly. Use these tips and tricks on how to follow up after a networking event.