UNL museums featured in regional conference

· 3 min read

UNL museums featured in regional conference

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's cultural and historical museums will play a central role in the Mountain-Plains Museum Association's 60th annual regional conference Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at the Cornhusker Marriott, 333 S. 13th St.

The event draws museum professionals from a 10-state region, and is open to anyone interested in learning about emerging trends and challenges affecting museums and other attractions in the 21st century. It is expected to be the largest museum conference ever to be held in Nebraska. The site for the conference will be the Cornhusker Marriott, 333 S. 13th St. For details on the topics, presenters and activities, go to http://www.mpma.net/2013/2013WEBPreliminaryProgram.pdf.

The conference will be jointly hosted by many museums and historical organizations around the state, including several from UNL: Sheldon Museum of Art, International Quilt Study Center and Museum, University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall, Great Plains Art Museum and Larsen Tractor Museum. Additional partners include the Nebraska State Historical Society, Durham Museum, Hastings Museum, Nebraska City Museum Association, Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, Lincoln Children's Zoo, American Society of Germans from Russia Museum, National Museum of Roller Skating and many more.

Conference participants will participate in workshops, high-profile speakers, educational tours and panel sessions. They will learn from top administrators of museums and other historical and educational organizations about the latest in museum operations, object care, and public engagement. Special evening events and an exhibit hall showcasing museum products and services will also be featured.

Among the keynote speakers is Jorge Daniel Veneciano, director of the Sheldon Museum of Art and conference co-chair. Veneciano will discuss the process of institutional transformation in regards to museums -- evaluating the basic model of a museum and way it operates. Driving the discussion will be the Sheldon's 50th anniversary celebration of its distinguished Philip Johnson-designed building, and the challenges associated with planning for the museum's next 50 years.

"The Sheldon is delighted to join other Nebraska museums and historical organizations in co-hosting the MPMA conference," Veneciano said. "This is a big year for us. We're celebrating our travertine building's 50th year, and we take it as an invitation to rethink and reconfirm the relevance of museum work in our democratic society."

Michael Smith, director of the Nebraska State Historical Society, was instrumental in bringing the conference to Lincoln. Smith serves as the association's vice president and chair of the 2013 conference planning committee, along with co-chairs: Patricia Cox Crews, Willa Cather textiles professor at UNL; Priscilla Grew, professor and director, NU State Museum; and Veneciano.

"The MPMA conference has not been held in Lincoln in decades, and we are especially pleased to have this organization meet in our state," Smith said. "It will be a superb opportunity for museums and local historical societies to collaborate and attend a conference which focuses on museum issues."

For more information about the conference, go to http://www.mpma.net/index.php.

Established in 1953, the Mountain-Plains Museum Association is a regional museum association that provides professional services to a 10-state region: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. For more information, send an email request or visit http://www.mpma.net.