By James G. Leventhal This year's Western Museum's Association annual meeting was a visceral reminder of the importance of our work as museum professionals. The WMA meeting was singularly inspiring, nourishing even. It was soul food fueling the good work we deliver to the audiences we serve and the missions we uphold. WMA Hawaii 2011 was a celebration of a widespread, international cohort of networked individuals whose gathering together was a stupendous act of signifying and reifying. Really?! What can I tell you? You had to be there. We all have a responsibility to carry the work forward and to strive to share the energy felt in Honolulu with as many colleagues as we can. Further, I think this meeting set a standard against which other conferences should measure themselves. And WMA needs to listen to itself. With no regard for boundaries - geographic or departmental - this meeting sought out a transcendent meaning, focused on asserting identity, rather than just trying to assess it. And the meeting and sessions did not shy away from the spiritual, but instead brought audience members to joyous tears in the keynote, and explored honestly the themes of forgiveness and anti-development movements in island cultures. Together we activated present day ritual and asserted each others' roles in the tribes we populate or identify with - from native technologists to born educators; from anthropology-trained administrators to museum-studies graduates; from Pawnee to Vanuatuan. Really?! What can I tell you? You had to be there. During the opening, there was a traditional Hawai'ian 'awa ceremony arranged by the Hawai'ian Museums Association and the 'Iolani Palace. (Thank you, Kippen!) And, so, their leaders sat and welcomed the tribal leaders from ATALM, WMA, PIMA and AAM. Nik Honeysett, Head of Administration at the J. Paul Getty Museum sat cross-legged on stage across from his other tribal representative from the AAM Eileen Goldspiel, Director, External Relations. Together they tasted the ritual waters. The way we create and explore ritual in our museums is timeless and necessary. I must say, at times, I am guilty of taking my work for granted. The meeting in Hawaii reminded me of the need to find oneself, and the integral role museums can play to help others - whether guarding and conveying cultural meaning across the Pacific islands to historical societies along the Oregon coast. The oh so human drama. I could go on, but then I might turn this from a blog post to an essay... which I might in time. But for now what I'd much rather do is elicit the endorsements, hallelujahs...or dissenting voices, if that's possible. Am I wrong? How was it for you?