WMA 2019 Attendee Guide
You’ve registered for the Western Museums Association 2019 Annual Meeting! What’s next?
With so many great learning sessions, social events, and other opportunities, it might be challenging to decide where to start. Use this Attendee Guide to help navigate the 2019 Annual Meeting and maximize your professional development. The theme of the 2019 Annual Meeting is ENGAGE, and will focus on the ways in which museums engage with their communities, staff, and other museums. From booking a hotel room, planning transportation, and preparing for the 2019 Annual Meeting, there is a lot to think about. Here are some things to consider as you’re making arrangements for Boise.
Prior to the Annual Meeting
Getting There & Transportation
Hotel Reservations & Saving Money
What to Bring/Wear
Knowing that selecting conference attire can sometimes be a time-consuming process, we made WMA’s Annual Meetings 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.
The average high temperature in Boise in October is 65° F and the average low is 40° F . We recommend dressing in layers. However, it is best to check the weather the week of the Annual Meeting for more specific information.
Who Is Attending?
Business Cards, Elevator Pitches, & Resumes
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.
Yes! It is absolutely 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.
Yes! Bring printed copies, particularly if your are an EMP. You can provide them to potential employers, as well as ask your peers for suggestions about how to improve it.
Choosing Sessions to Attend
Connect with Colleagues
Do you have any peers that are interested in the attending same sessions you are? After you have thought about which sessions you would like to attend, think about connecting with colleagues who share the same interests before the 2019 Annual Meeting. Start an email thread about sessions you are personally excited about. Furthermore, the WestMuse blog will feature Program and Local Perspectives leading up to the 2019 Annual Meeting. Comment on those postsand join in on the discussions!
During the Annual Meeting
Networking can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. WMA Board and Committee members, as well as 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 stimulating information they have learned about, 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 live tweeting or Instagramming during sessions, posting pictures to our Facebook page, or joining in on deeper conversations. Make sure to use #wma2019 when discussing the 2019 Annual Meeting!
There are multiple free and paid events throughout the 2019 Annual Meeting. During the day there will be free coffee breaks and other networking events 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. The Grove Hotel has a full-service in-house resturant, Trillium, offering a New American menu, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, there are multiple resturants within walking distance of the hotel in Downtown Boise.
Selected events during the 2019 Annual Meeting will be provided to attendees, while other events will be ticketed; please reference the program for more information.
We offer restaurant suggestions and other Boise tips here.
While attending program sessions and various events, consider developing a running list of key takeaways from the Annual Meeting—these could be programs that you want to know more about, suggestions for new programs, or ideas for a conference session next year.
After the Annual Meeting
Write a Blog Post
Review Your List of Takeaways & Goals
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 2019 Attendee Survey! Your response matters as we use 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 2020 Session
Connect with Contacts
So you’ve got a stack of business cards from the 2019 Annual Meeting, what do you do next? Before you file them away, connect with all of your new contacts on LinkedIn and even keep a friendly, professional dialogue going. Look how your connections have grown, just from one conference!