For Immediate Release
July 17, 2020
The Association of African American Museums
The Association of African American Museums Leverages Technology to Host Its 2020 Annual Conference
The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) will hold its first-ever virtual conference. The three-day online event will be held August 5th through 7th and will feature a keynote conversation entitled, The State of Black Museums: Leadership and Change During COVID-19 and Social Justice Movements, by Lonnie G. Bunch, III, 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Emmy Award winning journalist Jacque Reid. The conference will also feature a special performance by R&B recording artist, Kenny Lattimore. Mr. Lattimore has received Grammy, Soul Train, and Stellar Awards nominations and is an NAACP Image Award recipient for Best New Artist.
The online conference will feature sessions that focus on new and innovative strategies that will help sustain African and African American focused museums, as well as the professionals who protect, preserve and interpret African and African American art, history, and culture within the current social and health climate. Registration for the AAAM 2020 Annual Conference is now open and details are located here: www.blackmuseums.org/2020-conference.
“Despite the current climate of COVID-19 and racial unrest, it is so imperative that we continue to hold our conference, where each year we have vital conversations with each other surrounding our current state of affairs and discuss best practices for our members to implement within our field. Through the virtual conference, our members will be able to continue to do what we do best, convene and discuss how we will collectively stand in the face of social injustice and remain beacons of hope in our respective communities,” says Executive Director of AAAM, Vedet Coleman-Robinson.
AAAM has been hosting its annual conference for 42 years; despite not meeting in person, the organization is very excited to use technology to continue its tradition of convening African American and African focused museum professionals together.
Coleman-Robinson also stated, “the virtual conference will allow attendees to participate in the conference and network, similar to an in-person event, but without the burden of traveling during COVID-19. I was very intentional with this pivot as both me and the AAAM Board listened to the needs and concerns of our members since March.”
The AAAM conference brings awareness to a variety of topics that impacts African and African American focused museums and their professionals. This year’s agenda for the virtual conference will be no different. Attendees can expect expert-led informative sessions featuring museum professionals from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. The organization encourages everyone to register, to learn about the latest topics and issues that are impacting Black institutions; the opening plenary with discussions from Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Former Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, Incorporated and Dr. David Olawuyi Fakunle, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, regarding how trauma impacts museum professionals while engaging visitors, staff, and communities; to enjoy the virtual exhibition hall; to participate in the virtual evening receptions; and finally, to connect through the various networking opportunities to include discussions regarding reopening the organization’s member institutions and employment during a global pandemic. The Museums Association of the Caribbean will lead a closing plenary on the impact of COVID-19 on the African Diaspora.
A special opening reception entitled, The South Has Something to Say, will follow the opening plenary. The reception will include poetry from Cameron L. Mitchell, Charity Hicks, Darius Lewis, Derrick Weston, and Katurah Hughes. The event will be hosted by AAAM and the AAAM Emerging Museum Professionals including John Spann, Curator of Education and Programming, The Two Mississippi Museums, and Zakiyyah Ali, educator and owner of Rebuilding Timbuktu – Rebuilding Black Libraries & Black Consciousness, as Master and Mistress of Ceremony, respectively. AAAM is excited to feature celebrity DJ GNice, Gary McDaniels also known as “Mr. Magic Hands.”
For registration, details and to preview the schedule-at-a-glance, please visit, https://blackmuseums.org/2020-conference-schedule/
Join the conversation via social media @BlackMuseums and #AAAM2020
*AAAM continues to stand up for the communities that their member institutions proudly represent despite social injustice and police brutality. Black Museums share a legacy of activism and collective action, curating truth from the African American perspective. Please visit https://blackmuseums.org/a-special-message-to-aaam-members-and-supporters/ to read AAAM’s Executive Director’s message regarding the organization’s stance and support to their respective communities.
The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) is a non-profit member organization established to support African and African American focused museums nationally and internationally, as well as the professionals who protect, preserve and interpret African and African American art, history, and culture.
Established as the single representative and principal voice of the African American museum movement, the Association seeks to strengthen and advocate for the interests of institutions and individuals committed to the preservation of African-derived cultures. AAAM proudly serves over 620 members globally in the African and African American focused museum and cultural field. To read more about the organization’s mission and history, please visit: https://blackmuseums.org