This week, museum professionals from across the country descended upon the Twin Cities to attend the annual American Association of Museums (AAM) conference, held this year at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Over 4,000 registered participants, in addition to volunteers and other attendees, shared best practices and formed collaborations throughout the schedule of hundreds of sessions and meetings held from April 29-May 2.
This is not the first time the twin towns have hosted museum professionals for discussion and deliberation. In 1948, the Midwest Museums Conference was held from October 14-16, and various sessions and meetings were conducted at local museums and galleries.
According to the conference schedule that was found in a folder titled “Memberships” in Box 110 (at left), the events kicked off with an “Informal Get-together and Smoker” on Thursday, October 14 at the Walker Art Center, hosted by Director Dan Defenbacher, and concluded on Saturday, October 16 with the final event at 2:00 PM, an Illinois-Minnesota Football Game “for all ardent fans.”
Though the article in the MN Daily that reported upon the conference was titled, “Museum Men Meet,” there were women there too – a tour was given of the University Galleries by Director Ruth Lawrence on Saturday, October 15 with a luncheon at the U of M’s Junior Ballroom to follow.
The men of the conference included Dan Defenbacher Director of the Walker Art Center; Henry D. Brown, Director of the Detroit Historical Museum; Walter J. Breckenridge, Director of the Minnesota Museum of Natural History; Richard S. Davis, Senior Curator at the Minneapolis Art Institute; Milton D. Thompson, Director of the Minneapolis Science Museum; Russell Plimpton, Director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Nils G. Sahlin, Director of the Swedish Art Institute; Col. Clifford C. Gregg, Director of the Chicago Natural History Museum; Vice President Malcolm Willey, University of Minnesota; Dr. Louis Powell, Director of the St. Paul Science Museum; G. Huber Smith, Curator at the Minnesota Historical Society; and Malcolm Lein, Director of the St. Paul Gallery and School of Art.
Rebecca Wilson is a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota, completing a minor in Museum Studies. She also serves as a Visitor Services Assistant at the Weisman Art Museum.