2013 AAM Annual Meeting Theme
The Power of Story
At the heart of every museum is a story. It is often a compelling story, authentic and moving. Recognizing that story, telling it convincingly and well, are skills that can be key to a museum’s success.
Story is the very foundation of the human experience. Long before there was writing, there was oral tradition. Inventing and conveying stories may be what most distinguishes us from all other species—and the power to unite us across all cultures. Humans cast their identities in narrative forms. We are inveterate storytellers.
Museums are great repositories of memorable stories—in our objects and their creators, in our programs and the community members who benefit from them, in our institutional histories and the people who built, developed and continue to sustain our institutions today.
But story remains largely an untapped resource for most museums. When it comes to education, advocacy, community engagement, public relations or fundraising, the core story is sometimes poorly told, or even overlooked altogether.
In Baltimore in 2013 during AAM’s 107th Annual Meeting, we invite you to explore with us the power and impact of story. What are the elements that make a great and unforgettable story? What are the techniques for good storytelling? How do we measure the impact of story on our different audiences? How do we use storytelling to share authority—not only as storytellers but as listeners providing platforms for others to tell stories? How do we best use storytelling to achieve our immediate goals and fulfill our long-term missions as core educational and community institutions?
Baltimore is an ideal city to share and learn from our museum stories. Charm City has a rich tapestry of museums. Beginning with the museum opened by artist Rembrandt Peale in 1814, Baltimoreans have formed extraordinary collections now shared in public institutions that interpret natural history, art, and history— local, culturally specific, and global. Area colleges and universities have emphasized studies in art, curatorial practice, and museum administration. A vibrant and longstanding tradition of theater, dance, music, literature and visual arts, energized by three art and entertainment districts, not only draws new audiences into the mix, but also offer opportunities for imaginative collaboration.
As always, we also encourage the full range of session topics, notably those that address the practical, nuts-and-bolts approaches to museum work, how to do our jobs better and serve the public in the most meaningful ways.