Insiders and Outsiders: Creating Exhibitions Together
Sunday, May 7, 1-2:15 p.m.
The Our Museum Players use theater to spark honest conversation about the challenges of personalities and process in exhibition development. This year’s skit illustrates familiar challenges and power struggles within teams, highlighting the underlying biases that determine who is included-and excluded-from the process. The audience will discuss challenges and consider whether the exhibition development process itself is a barrier to creativity. The program will end with a Second Act” that plays out ideas from the audience to resolve these too-often chronic dilemmas.”

Changemaker Lightning Talks
Sunday, May 7, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
In the summer of 2016, 100 creative activists from museums, libraries, theaters, and social movements convened at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History to explore their identities as changemakers. Get inspired by their raw, intense, and authentic stories of hustling for change in the cultural sector. From the personal to the professional, the individual to the institutional, these changemakers are fighting for transformation in our museums and our world.

Planning the Digital Museum
Sunday, May 7, 4-5:15 p.m.
“Museums are going digital” to reach and engage with new global audiences, explore new and more effective business models, and leverage collections as platforms for creation and co-creation of knowledge and ideas. Successful digital engagement requires holistic planning and an “omnichannel” approach that adapts global technology trends to the cultural environment. This session will present models and methods that museums might use to make decisions, evaluate current practice, and integrate digital methods into their work. Panelists are contributors to the forthcoming Manual of Digital Museum Planning.

Not One Size: Designing Interactives for S, M, or L Museums
Sunday, May 7, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
When it comes to developing and maintaining interactive exhibits, your museum’s annual attendance and operating budget are very real constraints. Veteran exhibit professionals will lead a workshop and sharing session about the realities of effectiveness, durability, and safety at different scales. A fun activity will help participants anticipate potential pitfalls, problem-solve based on others’ experiences, and learn how to adapt interactive techniques for their institutions.

Designing Emotion
Sunday, May 7, 4-5:15 p.m.
In this session, four authors from the spring 2017 issue of Exhibition-“Designing Emotion”-will discuss how exhibit design and interpretive techniques can be used to evoke a feeling, establish a mood, create connections, spark revelation, enhance learning, and encourage action. It will also explore the responsibilities in designing for emotion: does emotion lead to new insights or cloud our thinking? Can too much emotional content run the risk of being manipulative?

Democratizing the Museum: Breaking Barriers to Participation
Monday, May 8, 8:45-10 a.m.
Using a storytelling format, each of four presenters will talk about a project that reached beyond the walls of the museum to gather participation and insights from the community. Hear from a diverse array of history museums and an exhibit developer about innovative strategies to engage new audiences and build community. Learn techniques to promote inter- and intra-community participation and dialogue beyond museum walls, into the virtual plane, and then back into the museum. Panelists share successes, challenges, and the strategies they employed.

The Accidental Exhibit Writer
Monday, May 8, 1:30-2:45 p.m.
If you’re surprised to find yourself writing content for exhibits, or if you just want to expand your skill set and learn how to write more effective labels, come and discover tips and techniques to make your writing more engaging and accessible to a broader audience. Practice your skills with colleagues, and, if you like, bring some of your most troublesome content to work on with the group.

Design Trends: Phygital” to Pokemon”
Tuesday, May 9, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Hear five perspectives on key trends that are challenging and changing the way we design museum exhibitions. Speakers will share their experiences and perspectives on trends that they’re wrestling with and excited about, from physical/digital mashups (Phygital) to multilingual experiences to virtual and augmented reality. They’ll share examples from the field to spark ideas, conversation, and debate.

The Room Where It Happens: Content and Design Come Together
Tuesday, May 9, 1:30-2:45 p.m.
It requires a successful give-and-take of content and design to create seamless opportunities for visitors to interact with information in dynamic and meaningful ways. Yet, exhibitions and experiences often become unbalanced, because of either an inflexible design vision or unrelenting content, and visitor engagement suffers. Join a creative, diverse group of museum professionals who will share stories of projects that started to become bumpy “sausage-making” scenarios. Bring your problem-solving ideas, and brainstorm ways to smooth out the process.

Struggling Toward Visitor-Centeredness
Wednesday, May 10, 9:45-11 a.m.
Many professionals agree that museums need to be visitor-centered. But some of the “best practices” museums have developed over the years can actually impede our efforts to engage visitors on a variety of levels. Conservation dictums, design processes, staff assumptions, and security procedures can, even with the best of intentions, get in the way of creating more compelling and accessible experiences for visitors. Join four museum colleagues to discuss the difficult and sometimes messy process of shifting our practices toward more visitor-centered programs, exhibitions, and overall values.