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Keynote Speakers Announced!

Join Priya Parker, Bryan Stevenson, Sandra Cisneros, and thousands of museum professionals around the world virtually for the field’s largest event, #AAM2021, May 24 and June 7-9.

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The 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is your opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and connections you need to take your career to the next level.

About #AAM2021

The AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is the only event of its scope and scale. It brings together museums of all types and sizes—from art and history museums to zoos and botanic gardens—to share ideas and make connections that are transformative. It’s a place where all museum professionals learn from one another, create partnerships, and leave inspired to make an impact on their museums, communities, and the world.

The 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (#AAM2021) is taking place virtually May 24 and June 7-9.

Registration for #AAM2021 is now open! Get the answers to all of your registration, exhibitor, and sponsorship questions on our FAQ page.


#AAM2021 Keynote Speakers

Priya Parker headshot

Priya Parker

in conversation with Julissa Marenco

Priya Parker is helping us take a deeper look at how anyone can create collective meaning in modern life, one gathering at a time. She is acclaimed author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters and the host of the New York Times podcast, Together Apart. Trained in the field of conflict resolution, Parker has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India. 

During a time when museums have been challenged more than ever to address issues of racial equity in their institutions and communities, Julissa Marenco, Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer for the Smithsonian Institution, and Parker will discuss how to have complicated conversations about community, identity, and vision at moments of transition. This keynote is generously sponsored by Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency.

Bryan Stevenson headshot

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama.

He is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned.

Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge inequality in America. He led the creation of two highly acclaimed cultural sites which opened in 2018: the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. These new national landmark institutions chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, and the connection to mass incarceration and contemporary issues of racial bias.

In this keynote session we’ll explore the responsibility museums have in playing a leading role in the nation’s truth and reconciliation, including the confrontation of museums’ own troubled pasts, the colonial and racist foundations upon which many were built, and the resulting structures that endure.

Sandra Cisneros headshot

Sandra Cisneros

in conversation with Carlos Tortolero

Sandra Cisneros is a Chicana writer and artist whose work explores the lives of the working class.

Her classic, coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street, has sold over six million copies, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation.

The Chicago native has won numerous awards including NEA fellowships, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Medal of the Arts, the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship, and the PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature.

Following her keynote on June 7, Carlos Tortolero, Founder and President of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, will join the virtual stage for a Q&A with Cisneros.


About the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

The AAM Annual Meeting first started in 1906 in New York with under 200 museum professionals and has grown to over 5,000 attendees, becoming the largest museum conference in the United States.

The AAM Annual Meeting is the only event of its scope and scale. It brings together museums of all types and sizes—from art and history museums to zoos and botanic gardens—to share ideas and make connections that are transformational. It’s a place where all museum professionals learn from one another, create partnerships, and leave inspired to make an impact on their museums, communities, and the world.

Together, we tackle topics ranging from innovative revenue streams, crisis recovery, and governance to community engagement, fundraising, tech, and beyond. Join us in 2021 as we explore the theme “Resilient, Together.”

Contact Information for AAM’s Meeting

  • Email

    membership@aam-us.org

  • Phone

    202-289-1818

Revisit #AAMvirtual and #AAM2019