thoughts from Denver

Whew! What a whirlwind these meetings are! We invite you to share your favorite moments, ideas you heard, or aspects of the conference that were particularly useful. Here’s a few of mine:

the Affiliations reception at our Colorado affiliate, the Littleton Historical Museum, was a blast. The Museum is terrific; we got a view of SITES’ In Focus show, and met some of Littleton’s stakeholders, including the mayor. For me, one of the best moments was when American Jazz Museum director Greg Carroll offered to send a range of Kansas City bbq sauces to the Affiliations staff. 🙂

Michael Chabon’s keynote talk was terrific. He mentioned “museum” maybe one time. I kept anticipating that he would circle his comments back to the museum field, but he never did, explicitly, which was poignant. He talked about the need to have unstructured, unprogrammed space and time in our lives, especially kids, for the imagination to flourish. Basically, throw away the instruction manual on your Legos, and just experiment. The degree to which Museums can create that space and time that’s so essential to creativity is an interesting challenge.

Denver Mayor Hickenlooper was another huge highlight. He talked about the city’s Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a 1/10 of 1% sales tax that generates $40 million dollars that is shared among Denver’s urban and suburban cultural resources – museums, zoos, cultural centers. It’s an amazing municipal model. I loved when an audience member tried to persuade the mayor to move to Kansas City!

Jim Collins’ book Good to Great came up in many of the sessions I attended. The “Day in the Life” series seemed to be popular too; in fact, there were many opportunities to join intimate, mentoring roundtables, a great format.

AAM staff kept a blog too, with highlights. Anyway, what were your favorite ideas, sessions, or formats?!