2017 OMA Annual Conference Schedule

Over three days, participants will have opportunities to expand their understanding and renew their passion for museums.

Pre-Conference Activities | Sunday, September 10, 2017

Exhibit Makeovers Workshop* | 1:00-4:00pm

This hands on workshop introduces participants to a proven, step-by-step method of exhibit planning. Principles of effective interpretation will be shared through mini lectures, small group exercises, and discussion. If you have an interest in exhibit developement this workshop will be a valuable pre-conference activity. Presented by co-authors of the second edition of “Exhibit Makeovers: A Do-It Yourself Workbook for Small Museums.” Books will be available for purchase at the workshop.

Location: Lower Columbia Preservation Society, 389 12th St., Astoria, OR

Presenters: Lauren Willis Ph.D, Program & Exhibit Developer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History and Liz White, Exhibit Designer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

*Pre-registration required: $25 OMA Member; $40 Non-member. Register here

Paddle Through History at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park* | 3:00-6:00pm

Hop in a two person watercraft and paddle along the lush riverbanks of the Lewis and Clark River. See bald eagles soar while you calmly float through history and hear a unique perspective of Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. The theme for this three hour ranger-led paddle will include natural and cultural topics geared for all interests. 

Location: 92343 Fort Clatsop Rd

*Pre-registration required; $5 park entrance fee. Register here

Hiking in History at Lewis & Clark National Historic Park

Location: 92343 Fort Clatsop Rd

$5 park entrance fee.

Experience the Ellis Island of the West 1:00-3:00pm

In 1899, the United States government established the Columbia River Quarantine Station at Knappton Cove about six miles across the Columbia River from Astoria. The Quarantine Station provided disinfection facilities for ships and and a hospital for passengers suffering from infectious diseases. Step back in time with a guided tour of the Quarantine Station.

Location: 521 WA-401, Naselle, WA 98638. Proceed 3 miles upriver (east) from the north side of the Astoria/Megler bridge and look for the heritage signs. The site is located 2 miles east of the well-marked L&C Dismal Nitch Rest Area.


Monday, September 11, 2017


Registration & Coffee

Location: Liberty Theater, 1203 Commercial St


Keynote Address

Dr. Martin Storksdieck, Director and Professor, Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning, Oregon State University. 

Location: Liberty Theater, 1203 Commercial St



10:30-11:45 | Concurrent Sessions:

Joining Forces: Innovative Partnerships for Collections Stewardship

Aging collections and limited funds are perennial challenges for museums, municipalities and other collecting organizations. This panel presents case studies and programs that highlight innovative partnerships and strategic fundraising for collections and heritage stewardship. Following short presentations from each panelist, the session will open up for dialogue among the panelists and with the audience. Participants will come away with ideas for locating resources and identifying and leveraging strategic partnerships.

Location: TBA

Presenters: Nina Olsson, Conservator; Claire Dean, Conservator; Eleanor Sandys, Registrar & Research Specialist, Oregon Arts Commission; Christy Sweet, Historian/Preservation Specialist, Oregon Parks and Recreation

Building Community Dialogue Through Your Exhibit Objects

Guided by facilitators trained by Oregon Humanities, attendees will learn techniques for leading reflective discussions. By participating in this session, attendees will explore how to leverage objects in their collections to spark active discussions and deepen community engagement. Discover how changing the interpretation of an object can change the story of an entire collection.

Location: TBA

Presenters: Deb Vaughn, Education Coordinator, Oregon Arts Commission; April Slabosheski, Manager of Museum and Holocaust Education, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education


Lunch hosted by Oregon Museums Association

1:15-2:30pm | Concurrent Sessions:

Traveling An Exhibition

Museum exhibitions can provide and stimulate important dialogue between artifacts and their audience. The presentation will focus on designing a traveling exhibit: from creating the concept to preparing the opening reception. Using the Yaquina River Museum of Art Exhibition, Yaquina, An Artist’s Voice for a Sacred Landscape-Paintings by Michael Gibbons, as a model, the session will detail the components necessary to create a successful project will be detailed.

Location: TBA

Presenter: James Nelson, Art Consultant

Historic Preservation: Community Partnerships

This session will present a model for creating and fostering partnerships between a college program and non-profit/community organizations. The approach the Clatsop Community College Historic Preservation Program uses to foster community partnerships, engage student learning, and connect with other organizations will be discussed. Students will present projects they have worked on with partners including the Clatsop County Historical Society, Astoria Public Library, Knappton Cove Heritage Center, Stella Historical Society and Astoria Parks Department.

Location: TBA

Presenters: John Goodenberger, faculty; Lucien Swerdloff, faculty; Chelsea Billings, Jay Dickason, Melissa Gardner, Alisyn Smith, and Brooke Willoughby, Clatsop Community College


2:45-4:00pm | Concurrent Sessions:

Listening to Collections: Creating Practical Storage Solutions

Discover what materials can be used for safe and secure storage of 3-D objects. A hands-on portion of this session will give participants the opportunity to try their hand at making storage and supports.

Location: TBA

Presenter: Heather Bouchey, Collections Manager, Portland Art Museum

For Profit Tactics in the Nonprofit World

Explore sales techniques and how to apply them whether presenting an idea to your board, cultivating prospective donors, or conveying your exhibit’s big idea to your visitors. Learn how to prospect, generate leads, and cultivate loyal promoters (members), supporters (volunteers), and donors for your organization. The session will also cover techniques for how to building rapport with different personalities and generations, as well as determining return on investment (ROI) for fundraising efforts and tracking your way to success.

Presenter: Jennifer Burns, Heritage Project Manager, Business and Community Services Clackamas County

Garden of Surging Waves Talk/Tour

Join urban designer Suenn Ho, a former Fulbright and National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, for an in-depth look at Astoria’s Garden of Surging Waves—a Chinese heritage park that commemorates the culture, challenges and contribution of Chinese immigrants to Astoria and to the Pacific Northwest.

Location: Astoria City Hall, 1095 Duane St

Presenter: Suenn Ho, Lead Designer of the project


After-hours Reception at Columbia River Maritime Museum


No Host Dinner

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Registration & Coffee

9:00-10:15am | Concurrent Sessions: 

Collaboration and Repatriation: What’s a Small Museum to Do?

This panel will explore NAGPRA and make recommendations for small Oregon museums seeking to repatriate items to appropriate tribes. Participants will be introduced to materials developed through a PSU-Museum of the Oregon Territory partnership, including supporting materials for the repatriation of items as well as a public website that demystifies NAGPRA and repatriation for small museums. Short presentations will address the culture of collecting in the U.S., the historic context of NAGPRA and repatriation, and university-museum partnerships.

Location: TBA

Presenter: Katrine Barber, Associate Professor, Portland State University

Designing Exhibits in Dialogue with Children

Exhibit development for an early childhood exhibit often starts with adults brainstorming what children might enjoy, followed by prototyping to test those ideas. At Portland Children’s Museum, exhibit development starts in dialogue with children to hear what they want to do, like to do, and need to do. This panel discussion will explore the piloting process used in three exhibits, concluding with an audience discussion of how lessons learned can be applied to older audiences.

Location: TBA

Presenters: Ruth Shelly, Executive Director; Somya Singh, Director of Exhibits; Danielle Schlunegger-Warner, Exhibit Designer, Portland Children's Museum


10:30-11:45pm | Concurrent Sessions: 

A Step by Step Guide to the Oregon Museums Grant

Participants will be guided step by step through the Oregon Heritage Commission grant application. This session will dig into how to make a compelling argument for need and value and create a strong plan for success.

Location: TBA

Presenter: Kuri Gill, Grants and Outreach Coordinator, Oregon Heritage

Finding and Building Unique Community Partnerships to Help Drive Programs

Partnerships drive the modern museum, but how do you find them? Who do you partner with? Why do you want to build partnerships in the first place? Community dialogs-why do they matter? Building on over 25 years experience in finding and building unique multi-cultural and interagency partnerships, Sam Shogren- a 3-time museum director and former OMA board member will share lessons learned, and lead a panel discussion on effective collaborations in the community. 

Location: TBA 

Presenters: Sam Shogren, MPA Lead Assoc., Shogren Consulting Group; Tanner Givnan, Filmaker; Beth Dehn, Educator; Barbara Mason, Arts Educator




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