Call for Proposals
The 2024 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo Call for Proposals is now closed.
Notifications will be sent by January 2024.
The 2024 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (AAM 2024) will connect museum professionals from around the world by exploring inspiring content on the theme of thriving museums, healthy communities across four tracks: personal, organizational, community, and society.
AAM 2024 programming will also include a full day of tactical, hands-on workshops and sessions on key concepts, frameworks, and practices associated with identifying, measuring, and sharing knowledge that contributes to thriving museums and healthy communities from leaders within and beyond the museum field.
The call for proposals is now closed. Notifications will be sent by January 2024.
Thriving Museums, Healthy Communities
About the theme
Museums play an essential role in promoting health and well-being. For the millions of people who visit museums annually, whether to learn or seek solace and inspiration, our institutions uniquely facilitate social connections, physical and emotional health, and empathy.
Museums are more than repositories of objects and their meaning; they can serve as sanctuaries for our mind, body, and spirit, offering spaces for individual and collective reflection, contemplation, and renewal.
Every day, museums of all sizes and types offer experiences that nurture and enhance mental and physical health. These encompass art therapy classes, exercise and movement initiatives, dedicated spaces for trauma processing, nutrition programs, public health exhibitions, mindfulness and meditation programs, and intentional design and operational choices conducive to visitor and staff well-being. Museums have positively impacted the lives of military veterans grappling with PTSD, those in addiction recovery, neurodivergent children, older adults with dementia, and many others. They have also served as critical resources for individuals affected by public health emergencies, environmental catastrophes, social injustices, and human rights violations.
Moreover, museum experiences foster personal, intellectual, and social well-being enriching our understanding of humanity. They ignite imagination, curiosity, and creativity inspiring wonder, awe, and infinite possibilities for positive change. Museums connect us to our origins, each other, and all that is timeless. They impart knowledge that nurtures our sense of self and unlocks the mysteries of life, as beacons of hope and resilience.
Recognizing the intrinsic link between personal, community, and institutional well-being is crucial. When individuals engage in civic participation, volunteer work, or advocate for social change, they make positive contributions to their communities. Similarly, the growth and flourishing of individuals rely on livability, connectedness, access, and equity within their communities. Museums that prioritize staff well-being are more likely to positively influence the personal and community well-being of all, and consequently enhance their operational viability and financial sustainability in the process.
The medical field affirms the connection between museums and well-being. Neuroscience researchers at the Johns Hopkins International Arts + Minds Lab have demonstrated that arts and cultural organizations such as museums “improve physical and mental health; enhance disease prevention, management, and recovery; promote brain development in children; build more equitable communities; and foster well-being through multiple biological systems.” Research is reaffirming that our field’s belief in the healing power of our work is more than wishful thinking.
As the museum field continues to prioritize well-being as a fundamental value of museums, we invite session proposers to reflect on how their work addresses the following questions:
How does your organization and/or community define well-being?
How do you integrate health and well-being principles into your organizational culture and workplace practice and foster it with staff?
In what ways are you fostering physical and mental health?
How do museums’ curation, collections, education, and exhibitions advance the public’s personal, intellectual, social, and physical well-being?
In what ways are you fostering social inclusion, connection, and belonging?
How do you create physical and virtual spaces that promote reflection, resilience, and renewal?
How can internal and external communications cultivate trust, authenticity, affirmation, and engagement among museum staff, audiences, and communities?
What partnerships and relationships have you cultivated or strengthened in shared purpose and meaning? What do effective partnerships look like to you?
How does your museum support and foster community and individual resilience?
How does your museum leverage its credibility and power as an agent for systemic change and social justice?
In what ways are museum programs designed to elicit awe, wonder, inspiration, and other feelings that foster well-being?
How can we support the well-being of displaced, dispossessed, and subjugated people, through stewardship and the protection of cultural resources, heritage, and identity?
People are at the core of museum impact – from the dedicated individuals who work in our institutions, to the diverse visitors who walk through museum doors every day. Join us in engaging conversations that delve into the profound importance of individual well-being and how it relates to thriving museums.
Example topics in the personal track include:
- awe and wonder
- creative expression
- mental and emotional health and well-being
- personal growth and development
- physical health and wellness
- intellectual curiosity and exploration
- purpose and meaning
- resilience and post-traumatic growth
- self-care and self-understanding
- work-life integration
- social connectivity, support, and belonging
Museums that prioritize the well-being of their staff not only create positive ripple effects for the personal and community well-being of visitors and community members, but also enhance their operational viability and financial sustainability.
Example topics in the organizational track include:
- employee agency and recognition
- employee engagement and empowerment
- employee financial well-being
- health and wellness initiatives
- leadership and management
- organizational culture
- organizational financial health and sustainability
- organizational policies and practices
- safety and security
- physical and remote work environments
- workload and job design
Healthy and engaged communities rely on the active involvement of individuals who participate in civic activities, volunteer work, and advocate for social change. This track relates to how museums are positioned to enhance livability, connectedness, access, and equity within the communities they serve.
Example topics in the community track include:
- civic engagement and participation
- cultural and recreational opportunities
- economic opportunities
- education and lifelong learning
- environmental sustainability
- health and healthcare programs/services
- physical infrastructure
- safety and security
- social connections and support
- social equity, accessibility, and inclusion
Museums play an indispensable role as critical resources during times of public health emergencies, environmental catastrophes, social injustices, and human rights violations. In this track, we will explore the profound impact museums have on health and well-being outcomes at the societal level.
Example topics in the society track include:
- cultural expression and heritage
- economic prosperity
- education and knowledge
- environmental sustainability
- global citizenship in sustainable development
- health and healthcare programs/services
- peace and security
- public trust, accountability, and transparency
- social cohesion and inclusion
- social justice and equity
- technology access, advancement, and connectivity
Preparing Your Proposal
Your proposal should fit into one of the following format types:
Roundtables: These one-hour facilitated roundtable discussions allow attendees to connect with colleagues in-person through interactive programming designed to expand their networks. They will share challenges, successes, and new ideas while getting inspired to learn more. Facilitators will be knowledgeable in a topic area that aligns with one of the 2024 thematic tracks and is prepared to lead and guide roundtable conversations that stimulate thoughtful discussions. A facilitator may also ask participants to brainstorm in workgroups, collaborate on a project, or simply share stories. No slides will be used in roundtable sessions. Handouts or other resources are preferred. There is a limit of 4 facilitators for this format.
Sessions: These traditional one-hour sessions include professional development, learning, and conversations relevant to the four 2024 tracks. Presentations may include storytelling, workgroups, panels, or standard instruction. Attendees should leave inspired and challenged to amplify their impact in their museums or communities. These sessions generally include a slide presentation with optional handouts and resources. Presenters should include research and evaluation data in their proposals and presentations. There is a limit of 6 presenters for this format.
Flash Sessions: These 25-minute sessions allow for the sharing of successful case-specific examples, or niche conversations that contribute to the advancement of the museum field relevant to the four 2024 tracks. Flash presentations may include a compact slide presentation with optional handouts and resources. Presenters should include research and evaluation data in their proposals and presentations. There is a limit of 2 presenters for this format.
Workshops: These 1.5-hour workshops will help attendees deepen their practice through hands-on learning. Workshops will help participants apply practices and principles that contribute to thriving museums and the health and wellness within their unique context and community. Workshops will focus on the “how-to” and provide attendees with tangible tools and outcomes to take with them. Workshops provide an hour of presentation with an additional 30-minutes for workgroups, breakouts, or discussions. These sessions generally include a slide presentation with handouts and resources (highly recommended). Presenters should include research and evaluation data in their proposals and presentations. There is a limit of 6 presenters for this format.
Poster & Poster Talks: These eye-catching visual representations of research, programs, or data are printed and displayed in the MuseumExpo hall. Poster presenters may be invited to provide a 10-minute talk. There is a limit of 2 presenters for this format.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE YOUR PROPOSAL
Who’s presenting with me?
AAM is committed to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. Presenter panels and their institutions should be diverse, inclusive, and provide varying perspectives. Be sure to consider where diversity is represented in the demographic areas of the selected panelists.
How does my proposal connect to the AAM theme?
Be clear in your proposal description while highlighting the connection to the theme: Thriving Museums, Healthy Communities. You will be asked to describe how you intend to interact with the audience, and what the attendee will gain by attending your proposed roundtable, session, flash, workshop, or poster.
Who’s my audience?
Identify the intended audience for your proposal. If your proposal is selected, this information will help attendees identify the content that addresses their professional development needs.
2024 CONTENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE REVIEW
The 2024 Content Advisory Committee will host an open call for proposals from the first week of September through mid-October, exact dates will be added here and announced publicly. The Content Advisory Committee is a diverse group of subject matter experts in various topic areas specific to the 2024 Annual Meeting theme. The CAC volunteers their services to thoroughly review proposals to ensure they align with the 2024 theme, address the educational needs of attendees, offer diverse perspectives, and appropriately utilize the proposal’s selected format type. The committee will select proposals that are relevant and current, and offer practical techniques and useful resources.
The Content Advisory Committee is looking for proposals that:
- Dive deep into and directly align with the theme, tracks, and topics
- Showcase varied perspectives on events, issues, and topics
- Are relevant to a diverse range of disciplines, cultural perspectives, geographic locations, and/or museum size
- Clearly state the relevance of the topic to attendees’ professional and personal development needs
- Offer practical and relevant examples and how to apply them, with helpful resources and takeaways
- Include audience discussion and participation (in some formats, heavy audience engagement and interaction)
Proposals may not be accepted based on the following criteria:
- Narrow: topic is too narrowly focused to have broad appeal. Note: In some instances, if the content is relevant and submitted under a different session format, some proposals may be recommended for a flash session.
- Underdeveloped: topic did not offer any new insights or innovation in the area.
- Unclear: proposal description lacks clarity and/or specificity.
- Lacking Diversity: proposal content lacks applicability to a diverse range of disciplines, cultural perspectives, geographic locations, and/or museum size.
Your proposal can be disqualified from review or consideration for the following reasons:
- The submitter did not follow the instructions outlined on the proposal form.
- Any or all presenters listed did not complete their presenter agreement on the proposal form.
- Names, titles, and institutions were included in the session proposal description or any other space outside of the presenter listing fields.
- Any or all presenters will not be able to present in person at the AAM 2024 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo May 16 – 19, 2024 in Baltimore, MD. Note: At this time AAM2024 is not a hybrid event and will not have streaming capabilities.
Session proposals will be scored using a 1–5-point scoring system. The CAC will rate proposals using the following criteria:
1=does not meet criteria; 2=needs improvements; 3=not specified or unclear; 4=meets criteria; 5=exceeds expectations for criteria. The highest possible score is 30 points.
- The proposal topic directly speaks to the selected content focus area
- The proposal content is clear and can be presented in an effective and meaningful way
- The learning objectives are clear, relevant to the topic presented, and appropriate for the audience
- The proposal provides attendees with relevant, timely, and applicable content with useful takeaways
- The proposal offers diverse perspectives or content, and diverse contexts
- The proposal format selected is appropriate for maximizing learning
Final decisions will be sent by January 2024. We value the expertise of our Content Advisory Committee and their decisions are considered final.
The 2024 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo Call for Proposals is now closed. Notifications will be sent by January 2024.
The American Alliance of Museums’ mission is to champion equitable and impactful museums by connecting people, fostering learning and community, and nurturing museum excellence.