#AAM2021 FAQ

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.

AAM’s 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.

Registration for the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (#AAM2021) is now open! We are excited to be creating an exceptional virtual Annual Meeting experience May 24 and June 7-9. Please review the FAQ below for more information. We look forward to seeing you at #AAM2021!

General Questions

What are the dates for the 2021 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo?

The 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo will kick off on May 24 and resume June 7-9.

Why did you select these dates for #AAM2021?

Just like with a convention center, we need to book space on the virtual platform to accommodate over eighty sessions, networking events, and more. In addition to our June dates, we wanted the opportunity to gather the field for an early kick-off day, as we did last year, that would allow our attendees to refresh and reflect before coming back together in June. Additionally, this gives you more time to spend in the MuseumExpo and with session recordings from the kickoff, all of which will stay open to you between May 24 and June 9.

What is the theme for the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo?

The theme for the 2021 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is Resilient, Together. You can learn more about the theme on our website here.

What’s new at #AAM2021?

As part of #AAM2021, we are excited to introduce a host of new functions, features, and events that will bring the energy of our in-person meeting to a virtual conference and create an incredible experience for all participants. You can learn more about them here.

What steps are being taken to make #AAM2021 accessible?

The #AAM2021 virtual platform is 508-compliant and fully accessible for screen readers. CART Captioning will be available on all sessions. All session recordings will be transcribed. We will also provide guidance to presenters on accessible virtual presentations. If you have additional accessibility needs, please contact accessibility@aam-us.org.

Is the in-person component in Chicago still possible?

While planning #AAM2021, our top priority is always to ensure the health and safety of our staff, attendees, and partners. Given this priority, the continued spread of COVID-19, and Illinois state-wide orders, it is impossible for us to move forward with an in-person component in Chicago. We are excited to be focusing our attention towards creating an exceptional virtual Annual Meeting experience May 24 and June 7-9.

#AAM2021 Registration

When will registration open?

Early bird registration is now open! Register through March 3 to take advantage of these discounted rates.

How much does registration cost this year?

Registration rates can be found on our website, here. Individual members, as well as Tier 3 museum members, receive discounts on Annual Meeting registration. If you need to double-check your membership status, you can do so here.

We have reduced registration rates to the lowest feasible rate, including adding an Early Bird registration rate through March 3. Registration pricing is determined based on a number of factors including the costs of the 2021 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo and the needs of our field during this time. As a nonprofit organization, proceeds from the AAM Annual Meeting also help fund our year-round work, such as advocating for critical support for museums and museum professionals which in 2020 resulted in the inclusion of museums in federal financial relief and offering thousands of free and low-cost programs and resources to museum professionals, including over 600 COVID-19 response resources. In the coming weeks, we ask that those of you who are able, please consider supporting our Alliance during this challenging time through registration and supporting deeply discounted $25 registrations for those who have been furloughed, laid-off, or who are otherwise unable to afford the full cost of registration.

Will there be a discounted rate for those who are unable to pay the full registration price again this year?

We are committed to providing deeply discounted $25 registrations for those who have been financially impacted by the pandemic as we did for #AAMvirtual in 2020. We are actively fundraising to help defray the costs of Annual Meeting participation for those who have been furloughed, laid-off, or are otherwise unable to afford the full cost of the conference. If you are able to support Annual Meeting registration for colleagues who are unable to afford the full cost of registration, please consider making a donation on our website here.

If you have been furloughed, laid off, or are otherwise unable to afford the full cost of registration at this time, you can now express your interest in receiving a $25 registration using this form. BIPOC individuals and individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ and disability communities are strongly encouraged to submit their interest. We are actively fundraising for these registrations and will continue doing so through June 7. Registrations will be provided on a rolling basis as funds are raised.

Are scholarship opportunities available?

Yes! We have been able to fundraise for 35 scholarships that provide complimentary access to the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo and an invitation to a special networking event. Scholarship applications are now closed.

We are now focusing our fundraising efforts towards deeply discounted $25 registrations to help defray the costs of Annual Meeting participation for those who have been furloughed, laid-off, or are otherwise unable to afford the full cost of the conference. If you are able to support Annual Meeting registration for colleagues who are unable to afford the full cost of registration, please consider making a donation on our website here.

Is one-day registration available?

Registration is only available for the full four days of the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo.

Can I make a donation towards discounted rates for those who have been financially impacted by the pandemic?

Thank you for your generosity! Yes, you can make a donation towards discounted Annual Meeting registrations by visiting our website, here.

When does Early Bird registration end?
March 3

I transferred my registration or the balance of my registration from the 2020 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo or #AAMvirtual to 2021. What should I do next?

Thank you for transferring your registration to the 2021 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo! An email was sent to the email address you provided when you registered for the 2020 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. This email contains a promo code for you to use to register at the appropriate rate. If you have a balance due, you will be asked to provide payment during registration. If you have a balance remaining, that balance will automatically be transferred to the 2022 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. We greatly appreciate your patience as we continue to navigate the opportunities and challenges presented by our current environment. If you have any questions, please contact our meetings team.

When does registration close?

There is no deadline to register for #AAM2021. However, the Early Bird registration rate deadline is March 3 and the deadline to indicate your interest in participating in our pilot coaching program is April 1.

Are there discounts for group registration?
Group registrations of six or more people are available at $265 per person during Early Bird registration and $315 per person after March 3. If you are interested in group registration, please contact our membership team by email at membership[at]aam-us.org.

Additional discounts are available to groups of six or more from Tier 3 Museum Members and Museum Studies programs. Please contact our membership team by email at membership[at]aam-us.org for more information or to upgrade your museum’s membership.

Why do you charge for your conference?

Every year, we look forward to bringing an impressive cross-section of the museum field together for our Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo.  We learn so much from each other, and we make valuable interpersonal connections that are critical for moving our field forward.

A national conference of our size costs over $3 million over several years (in vendor and virtual platform fees, convention fees, AV, software, events, transportation, staff, etc.), and up to $950 per attendee. The average amount paid by attendees directly is $358—only about a third of the real costs. We understand not everyone is able to afford the registration fee, and each year, we offer many free or deeply discounted registrations through scholarships and other opportunities.

We also know that to meet our full potential, our Alliance needs to hear from the broadest possible spectrum of people who work in our field – from emerging professionals to senior leaders, from large and small museums, and from a diverse array of individuals, particularly those in groups that are underrepresented in our field. For some, the costs of attending a conference may put this rewarding experience out of reach, and that means a lost opportunity not only for these professionals but for our field as a whole.  The more voices we can include, the better our results in tackling the challenges for our field and our future.

That’s why we’re always looking for ways to make our Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo more affordable, both by creating opportunities to lower your costs and by increasing available scholarship funds. For our 2021 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, we have reduced registration rates to the lowest fee in recent history during Early Bird registration, have made all networking events free, and are providing the following opportunities:

  • Scholarships: Each year, we fundraise and work hard to support attendance by a broader cross-section of the museum field.  For our 2021 conference, we have secured funding for 35 scholarships so that students and museum professionals at various stages of their careers can attend. The Alliance Scholarship Program is designed to nurture inclusive and equitable best practices—for the benefit of museums, museum professionals, and the diverse audiences they serve—by supporting the professional development of individuals from underrepresented or marginalized groups.
  • Deeply discounted registrations: As we did for #AAMvirtual in 2020, we will be providing a number of deeply discounted $25 registrations to those who have been furloughed or laid off, or who otherwise can’t afford the full cost of registration. We are currently fundraising for these registrations and will provide more information in early March. If you are able, please consider making a donation to support these discounted registrations.
  • Keynotes: As we do every year, keynote session recordings will be made available for free to the public after the Annual Meeting has concluded.
  • Elevate Stage Sessions: This year, we will also make all Elevate Stage session recordings free to the public after the Annual Meeting has concluded.

What is your cancellation and substitution policy?

A $50 processing fee will be applied to all cancellations and transfers. All cancellation and transfer requests must be made in writing via mail, fax or e-mail. The Alliance is not responsible for cancellation or transfer requests that are incomplete or are not received. Cancellation requests received before April 19, 2021 will receive a 100% refund on registration and event fees, minus the processing fee. No refunds of conference registration or event fees will be granted after April 19, 2021. Registrants who are no longer able to attend the meeting may request a substitution by submitting their request in writing to AAM@xpressreg.net. Substitutions requests must be submitted by the original payor. Substitutions will be accepted until May 10, 2021. Upon receipt, the original registration rate and related add-ons will transfer to the new attendee. Substitution requests will not be accepted after May 10, 2021.

#AAM2021 Call for Proposals & Program

Will there be a call for proposals for 2021?

The call for session and poster proposals has closed. Those who submitted proposals will be contacted in February 2021.

What will happen to my accepted submission that was deferred from the 2020 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo?

Presenters who submitted a proposal for the 2020 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo and were not transferred to #AAMvirtual earlier this year have been contacted to indicate their interest in presenting at the 2021 Annual Meeting. Presenters were required to respond by October 16 to express their interest. These sessions and new proposals from the November open call have been reviewed by the National Program Committee. For more information on session selections please visit the general information page.

If I am unable to present my accepted 2020 session proposal in 2021, will my proposal be rolled over to 2022 for consideration?

There will not be an automatic rollover of 2020 proposals to the 2022 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. You will have to submit a new proposal during the 2022 open call for proposals.

If I indicated my interest in presenting my session for the 2021 meeting or if I plan to submit a new session proposal, when will I know if my session has been accepted?

The call for session and poster proposals has closed. Those who submitted proposals will be contacted in February 2021.

Will there be poster presentations at the 2021 Annual Meeting?

Yes, we are excited to share the great work of over thirty poster presentations during #AAM2021.

Where can I receive more information about submitting a session or poster proposal?

The call for session and poster proposals has closed. Those who submitted proposals will be contacted in February 2021. For more information on session selections please visit the general information page.

When will the program be available?

The program is still under review and will become available at the beginning of May. Plan ahead by using our schedule-at-a-glance!

Will session recordings be available?

Yes, session recordings will be available after the Annual Meeting for thirty days to all registered attendees.

Will I be able to purchase session recordings if I do not register for the Annual Meeting?

We are still assessing options for non-registrants and will provide more information as it’s available.

#AAM2021 Exhibitors & Sponsors

I transferred my booth from the 2020 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo to 2021. What are my options?

Thank you for transferring your booth to the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo! If you opted to transfer your booth, an AAM staff member will be in touch with your options. You can also contact Shelon Atwater with any specific questions at satwater@aam-us.org.

I transferred my sponsorship from the 2020 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo to 2021. What are my options?
Thank you for transferring your sponsorship to the 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo! If you opted to transfer your sponsorship, an AAM staff member will be in touch with your options. You can also contact Shelagh Grimshaw with any specific questions at sgrimshaw@aam-us.org.

How do I register to exhibit and what are the rates for 2021?

Thank you for your interest in exhibiting at #AAM2021! You can learn more about exhibit booths, rates, and more on our website. Contact Shelon Atwater with any specific questions or to register to exhibit at satwater@aam-us.org.

My question isn’t listed here. Who do I contact?

If you have additional questions, comments, or concerns that are not addressed in this FAQ, we encourage you to contact our meetings team.