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Post by Rachel Adams, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs, AMOA- ArtHouse

Posted By Rachel Adams, Wednesday, June 6, 2012
One of the most important things I took away from the AAMC Conference a few weeks ago was an emphasis on partnership. In both my mentor session with John Ravenal as well as in sessions such as Exhibitions Management with Chiyo Ishikawa, Give and Take: Shifting Collection Boundaries in the 21st Century Museum, and Technology & Community Engagement, there was a strong underlying theme of partnering in order to make your exhibitions the most successful they can be. As a young curator who has not spent too much time in the museum world, I am constantly learning how to make excellent exhibitions that have a lasting impact on both the museum audience and also its staff.
With Chiyo’s session, I was happy to be reminded of the steps that she goes through with her curators when they are preparing an exhibition. Due to some shifts in my institution, we had gaps to quickly fill in our calendar. Now that we are back working on shows that are further out, I am excited to use Chiyo’s cheat sheet for checks and balances. Although they are all important, my favorite points on her handout are:
5. No matter how many shows you have done, never revert to automatic pilot. At every stage of exhibition development, question your reasons for your decisions. This will help you articulate your thinking to colleagues and, eventually, the public
8. Welcome the expertise that your team brings to the project. Be open to ideas and suggestions while always keeping your eye on the primary goals of the exhibition. Creating alignment around the show will make it everyone’s success.
I really enjoyed all of the sessions that I attended and am extremely happy to have participated in the conference. I have already begun to apply some of the strategies I learned in Austin and I look forward to the next conference in a year!

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