2015 Annual Conference Guide

CWAM Guide to the Annual Conference

CWAM invites you to share your ideas, knowledge, and experience with your colleagues and fellow students at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Craig, Colorado. This year, the conference theme is “Grassroots: Museums and their Communities”.

The Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums hopes to make it easier for all student members to attend the 2015 Conference. We have compiled some useful information and suggestions here. Additional information is available on the CWAM web site at http://www.cwam-us.org/. The official conference website is http://www.cwam-us.org/annual-meeting/.

Professional conferences are important to learn more about your field, network, and visit with mentors. A conference has informative sessions that address a variety of issues in museums such as collections, fundraising, education, and security. Some conferences even have sessions specifically for student papers and presentations. Attending conferences is another strong point on your resume. Questions that will be posed at this particular meeting include: Where do museums come from? How do they stay in business? How do employees of cultural, historical and scientific institutions facilitate museums’ development? What role do communities and grassroots movements play in creating and sustaining museums? How do volunteers, board members, and communities interact with museums, sustain them and fund them? How can communities promote education, interpretation, exhibition, and collections programs at museums? These queries are especially pertinent to students and emerging professionals in our field.

Quick list of topics covered in Student Survival Guide:

  • How will I pay for it?
  • How do I get there?
  • Where will I stay?
  • What should I expect at registration?
  • What will I eat?
  • How will I meet up with other students?
  • How should I dress?
  • How will I meet other CWAM conference attendees?
  • What sessions are especially appropriate for students and emerging professionals?
  • What is the Keynote session?
  • What should I see in Golden?
  • How can I become a member of CWAM?
  • How can I submit a proposal for next year?
  • Links to other Museum Professional Organizations and Conferences


How will I pay for it?

If you are a currently enrolled student, try contacting your undergraduate or graduate student senate or your student government to find out if they offer travel grants for attending conferences. You may not get much, but every bit counts! Do not be shy about asking your department for money. Later you can put on your resume that you received a travel grant. Some schools will pay for part of your expenses when you attend a conference like CWAM’s. If your school does not have an established program, try writing a letter explaining how it would be beneficial for the students and the school for you to represent your department. The cost of registration includes many meals and even snacks between sessions.

Scholarships are also offered by many professional museum groups including CWAM. Each scholarship recipient will receive a conference registration fee waiver plus a cash grant of $200 to help offset expenses. In an effort to help diversify the types of museums participating in our organization, CWAM extended a special invitation to institutions such as archives, botanic gardens, cultural centers, libraries and zoos to apply for a scholarship to attend our annual conference. This scholarship will be awarded to the institution itself; which may use it to send one person to the Annual Meeting, or use the funds to offset the cost of sending more attendees. Scholarship recipients will be required to attend the Opening Session of the annual conference, as well as the Business Lunch, during which they will be recognized. Following the conference, scholarship recipients are also required to write a short article for the CWAM newsletter covering a session they attend at the annual meeting. Applicants are required to complete the application form, submit a letter of support from their institution’s director, board member, or other supervising authority (such as a faculty advisor) and compose a brief essay explaining how they will benefit from attending the meeting and how they will apply what they learn at the meeting at their institution. Please consult the website for application details. The due date for applications is January 16, 2015.

How do I get there?

Air Travel: The Craig airport is serviced by United, Delta, and US Airways as well as local affiliates.

By Bus: Review the bus schedules from your town; providers such as Greyhound may service your area.

By Car: Utilize available maps from your library or directions on-line such as www.mapquest.com. Carpooling with other students or museum professionals in your area may also be economical.

Where will I stay?

Clarion Hotel & Suites: $69/King bed or Two Double beds                        970-824-4000

  • The Clarion is the headquarters for the conference.

Elk Run Hotel: $56/Single room or $62/Double room                                 970-826-4444

Pinky’s Hitchhikers: Rideshares and Roommates

Want to share a ride to Craig or a hotel room while also meeting new people? Then contact Caitlin Mans at mans.caitlin@gmail.com to connect with potential rideshares and roommates. Interested individuals will be put in contact with other people looking for roommates or rides. All attempts will be made to locate rideshares and roommates, but matches cannot be guaranteed.

What should I expect at registration?

Begin by going to registration and signing in. You will receive a packet that will help you get oriented to the conference site. This is also an opportunity to ask questions that you may have at the desk. The packet will have suggestions for restaurants. The conference program will list all sessions with times and room numbers. This is also an opportunity to find out more about the new Mentor Program. Professionals in the museum field who serve as Mentors will provide guidance, support, and a friendly face to turn to during the conference for their Mentees.

What will I eat?

The conference includes many meals! But if you would like to explore, here are some other options found on-line. CWAM is not responsible for the quality of these establishments and is not endorsing a particular venue; simply listing some options:

  • Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant – 425 W Victory Way,Craig, CO, (970) 824-8888
  • Galaxy Restaurant, 524 Yampa Ave, Craig, CO, (970) 824-8164
  • Carelli’s Pizza, 465 Yampa Ave, Craig, CO, (970) 824-6868
  • Op Bar & Grill, 534 E Victory Way, Craig, CO, (970) 824-8918
  • Village Inn, 1103 W Victory Way, Craig, CO, (970) 824-9600
  • Cuginos Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, 572 Breeze St, Craig, CO, (970) 824-6323
  • Casa Loya Mexican Restaurant, 351 Ranney St, Craig, CO, (970) 824-5455
  • Fiesta Jalisco, 410 Ranney St, Craig, CO, (970) 826-0500
  • Vallartas Mexican Restaurant, 1111 W Victory Way, Ste 114, Craig, CO, (970) 824-9812

How will I meet other students?

When attending sessions, introduce yourself to those around you; you will find the other students very quickly! Meals are another opportunity to talk in an informal setting. There will be a first time attendee cocktail party on Wednesday, May 15 from 8:00-10:00 p.m.

How should I dress?

While you will see museum professionals in a variety of dress from casual to business attire; consider your appearance as if you are on a potential job interview. Conferences are your opportunity to make a great first impression. Many professionals I know in CWAM met their future co-workers at museum conferences!

How will I meet other CWAM conference attendees?

As discussed above, CWAM is working on developing a Mentoring Program which will give you the opportunity to connect directly with individuals who can introduce you to others at the conference. Mentors will also provide support and guidance throughout the museum profession. If you are interested in having a Mentor, please contact Bethany Williams at bethany.williams@dmns.org and she will work on matching you up with an appropriate Mentor for the meeting.

What sessions are especially appropriate for students and emerging professionals?

Consider your future career path. Future curator? There are many sessions on working with collections to tell our stories. Do you have an interest working with collections? Consider the session on practical considerations for installing an exhibition. Are you interested in education? How about a session on engaging families in museums? Maybe you do not know yet so attending a variety of session will allow you to glean insight to the various aspects of these museum positions and that may inform an internship or future position. Consider the panels of various sessions as well; you may have the opportunity to meet a future colleague!

What is the Keynote session?

The Keynote session allows attendees the opportunity to hear a well-known speaker in the field in person; this year the Keynote will be held 10:30 a.m. on April 16. Last year, Harold Clouster of Smithsonian Affiliates, was the Keynote speaker. Harold Closter is director of Smithsonian Affiliations since August 2004, having previously served as senior management advisor in the Office of National Programs from 2001 to 2004. His 32-year career at the Smithsonian has focused on education, public programs, exhibition development and outreach. From 1994 to 2001, Closter was the associate director for public service at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Behring Center, where he oversaw the education, publications, project management, and public space planning and design departments. Before that, he served as project manager for numerous major exhibitions, including the international traveling exhibition “Smithsonian’s America: An Exhibition of American History and Culture” and National Museum of American History exhibitions “American Encounters”; “A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution”; “The Search for Life”; and “The Information Age.” Closter served as a technical director of the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklife in 1977 and 1978 and as a program coordinator in the Smithsonian’s Division of Performing Arts from 1978 to 1983. Closter lectures frequently on topics related to museum management and strategic planning, and he has led workshops on these subjects at the University of Turabo, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Puerto Rico; Georgetown University; and George Washington University. He has received the Smithsonian’s Bicentennial Unsung Hero Award and the National Museum of American History’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Service. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin and studied Folklore and Folklife in the graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania.

What should I see in Craig?

One of the world’s outstanding collections of Western Americana is housed in the Museum of Northwest Colorado. The museum facilitates the preservation of historical structures and artifacts, education of citizens, and sponsorship of individuals and groups interested in family and historical research. Cowboy gear dating to the early 1800’s includes guns, gun leather, chaps, spurs, saddles, and other accoutrements. Parts of the collection have been featured in numerous publications, including “Cowboy and Gunfighter Collectibles.” Global visitors, school children, and community members view an array of displays depicting the reality of western life in Moffat County.

There are also many beautiful and important historical sites in this landscape. The Ute Indians were the last Native American tribe inhabiting the Yampa Valley before settlers moved into the area in the 1800’s. Earlier tribes left records of their existence with petroglyphs in various sites. Cattle and sheep men carved out their niche, leaving a colorful western history complete with range wars and gunfights. From Black Mountain’s golden aspens to rugged canyons in legendary Browns Park, the region offers diversity in landscape and is home to some of the largest deer and elk herds in North America.

The county maintains a website at: http://www.colorado.gov/ for information on the state and Moffat County.

Remember to ask for student admission and bring your school ID.

How can I become a member of CWAM?

Visit http://www.cwam-us.org/membership/ for Membership information. Student Membership is only $10! Benefits for a student membership include: a copy of the CWAM quarterly newsletter, Highlights, early notification of professional development opportunities, scholarship opportunities and workshop discounts, networking with peers at the Annual Conference, the opportunity for professional growth through committee and board participation, a discount to the annual meeting, and access to CWAM email list, featuring regional job postings, museum news, professional development opportunities and CWAM news

How can I submit a proposal for next year?

Refer back to the CWAM website for future conference session submission deadlines; sessions by students and emerging professionals are encouraged! Mentors or museum professionals may be willing to review your idea. Your voice matters!

Links to other Museum Professional Organizations and Conferences

Mountain Plains Museum Association www.mpma.net

American Alliance of Museums www.aam-us.org

The American Alliance of Museums has this group for emerging professionals:

Committee on Museum Professional Training (COMPT), a Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums. COMPT strives to assist museum professionals and pre-professionals in their career learning experiences, to address the continuous need to develop and enhance professional goals, and to proactively engage with pressing concerns that affect professionals across the field. As we continue to develop this site, we encourage you to contact us with your ideas and suggestions.

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