Tag Archives: conferences

Cultural Heritage Symposium

My friends from CDAS made me an honorary member of the Society and arranged for me to attend this weekend’s symposium in Borrego Springs.


All the local experts are represented and its hard to believe that after two years of networking I’m leaving some very good friends and passionate supporters of native landscapes and voice.

Invent it. Build it.

So busy I barely had time to snap this photo next to the SciGirls table.

Vannevar Bush reminded us in As We May Think that by working together we overcame the greatest challenges. Collaboration is key and working across fields is how it is accomplished.

I attended the Society of Women Engineers 2012 conference last week. We are beginning to develop our youth programming at the museum and anyone who knows SWE knows that K-12 programming is a high priority. My goal was to interact with as many K-12 resources as possible and interact with the executive leadership. The current members of the Over the Hill Suite have overseen the organization as it developed from an organization that hosted a conference of 2,000 to a conference of 6,400: over doubled in size in 10 years. You have to be able to pick up a few tips from these ladies – accomplished in their own careers and leading this diversity driven organization in their spare time.

This year, I helped organize the vendor expo for the Invent it. Build it. event, an all day hands-on activity event for middle school girls and their parents and educators. The event is held at the location of the conference every year. The vendor expo is the portion of the day that exposes the girls to local engineering based organizations. For instance, FIRST, an annual robot building challenge, brought last year’s creations and challenged the girls to drive a robot, NAVSEA brought mini-submarines and had the girls test the amount of weights it took to counter buoyancy  Instead of having set activities like the rest of the day, at the vendor expo the girls can choose which projects to work. It effectively appealed to their sense of independence. Here’s the local press:


My favorite vendor was SciGirls from PBS. If I can get a local engineer to volunteer to run a project, I’m going to have them film a session at the museum. The representative I talked to listened to the story of the museum with rapt attention. At least we know we’ve caught their ear.

AASLH 2012 Small Museums Scholarship

Before I headed to the conference I saw a comment on the AASLH list serv. Someone asked about admission fees and a responder mentioned that a she had to do a 36$ tour for 6 people on her day off and it wasn’t worth her time. Then make it worth your while, I thought. Develop a 50 dollar tour instead of a $6 tour.

At the conference, I learned that we at the IVDM are living in the new paradigm of museum. Institutions that just do it. Just do the event. Just host the art. Just have a sense of humor. Just ask for money. Just let people help. Just be fun. If the risk assessment is small, what is there to be afraid of?


Slow season


Following the watercolor workshops that ended our youth summer programs, we held two hikes into the desert for some plein aire painting. Here’s one of mine of Indian Hill in Anza Borrego State Park.

It was a good end to the slower summer months. At the Society of American Archivists conference I managed to garner a lot of encouraging support for the museum. Simmons College, where I completed my Masters, is very interested in establishing an intern program in Ocotillo.

Back on the home front its time to prep for the influx of visitors known as “snowbirds”. When the desert calms down and becomes more… tolerable…. the annual visitors to the Valley will start filtering back in to take advantage of our unique environment.

With a commitment from a new intern and a plan to stock the gift shop with local art, I’m excited to welcome the next wave of visitors to the new Imperial Valley Desert Museum.

Tis the Conference Season

A few weeks ago, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the American Association of State and Local History. The theme “Connecting People to Place” is so appropriate to what we are trying to do at the museum that I wish the conference was tomorrow. My goal over the next few months is to keep our volunteer base engaged and expand their sphere of influence at the museum. I have created a list of projects we need to complete in 3 months and I really need their help to make a dent – there are fourteen 8 1/2 x 11 panels lining the wall of the lab. Connecting them with this fantastic place is going to be a big part of that engagement.

I also got word today that the museum is sending me to the Society of American Archivists conference this year. I’m stoked. I missed the conference last year so I’m happy for the chance to catch up with colleagues. But: it’s “work work work” this year. I’ll be scouting for fellow adventurers who are crazy yet competent and have the vision to recognize an incredible opportunity when they hear it. Last week I shook hands with a Kennedy. Two years ago I lived in the same town with the Kennedys, and had no chance in h&ll of ever meeting one. This is an incredible project. We’ve made whorl-wind progress in the last few months and I’m excited to share what we’ve accomplished and bring on some new people to keep up the pace.

SLA Annual Meeting 2009

Last week was the annual meeting of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. A friend from Simmons won a stipend from the SLA IT Division to attend the conference. It was part of an award for a class paper she submitted on the suggestion of a professor. In exchange for the stipend she was required to do a short presentation explaining her paper on cloud computing. Supportive person that I am, I decided to also attend the conference; but there were ulterior motives at play. I’ve always been curious about SLA and was eager to learn more. (This is also how I ended up attending ICHORA 4 and the ASAannual meeting last year.)

The conference was a great investment. Not only did SLA and the vendors put on a great show to celebrate the anniversary (dancing in the International Spy Museum, receptioning in the Zambian Embassy and touring the Decatur House after hours), but we also met a number of really great professionals. Truly, the value of the conference manifested itself in its networking opportunities. By talking to everyone we could pull aside, my friend and I learned about current trends in libraries like competitive intelligence and the wide range of possiblities in the library profession. We were inspired, motivated, and encouraged. Here are a few samples of the conference happenings:

General Powell was the opening speaker and he had a lot of powerful things to say:

He reminded us that in a pinch we all turn to Google for a fast search, and that successful organizations move at the speed of transactions. Currently, like our Google searches, transactional speed is the speed of light. The question is how to keep up!

More importantly, Powell reminded us that good leaders give a sense of purpose, show positive attention, and provide the tools necessary to accomplish organizational goals. I wish my H&M compatriots were there to hear it – if they wouldn’t believe me, they surely would believe the charismatic man on the podium!

Powell also reminded us that our greatest power in America is our openness. In regards to issues ranging from immigration to technology, so long as we proceed with the values of tolerance and fairness, then we will be unstoppable.

On a lighter note, Powell divulged that he really misses his plane. “They gave it to Condi, now Hillary has it, and I’ll never see it again!” Now he has to go through TSA security like the rest of us. Turn about is fair play, and since he was responsible for the new regulations, the audience (the majority of whom just finished hurdling security obstacles on flights in from all over the country and beyond) found it fitting that the first time the General flew as a civilian, he got the full pat-down treatment. No one told him that paying cash and showing up late were huge red flags! Making a show of “fair treatment for all” the guards were very polite, but very thorough. Exasperated he cried, “They knew it was me! Couldn’t they just let me go?” Brings to mind a family favorite.

The sessions I attended varied from full lectures to the unstructured “Un-Conference” sessions (I’ll leave out the latter, since they are on the wiki. ). Below are some highlights:

At the Diversity in Leadership: Gen X – The Changing Paradigm session, a question arose about how we motivate employees if we can’t offer them traditional promotions. An audience member answered: play up the whole package. The simple answers are usually the best: tell them about the lifestyle, the flexibility, the learning opportunities. Send employees to training, to a class, or let them teach a class. A little creativity goes a long way towards retention.

At the Web 2.0 has Something for Everyone session Kent Anderson introduced us to the New England Journal of Medicine’s website features. He said we need to anticipate our users needs and turn search into discovery. My favorite part was when he suggested we “engineer” solutions for our users. Brilliant! The interface is innovative; attempting to create a one-stop-shop for medical news.

The Globalization: Emerging Opportunities for the Library Profession was by far the best session of the conference. First, Larisa Brigevich explained the success of outsourcing library services. By treating the outsourced employees as an integral part of the team the organization is able to manage risk, improve the process, and increase productivity. Next, Jane Meyers, president of the Lubuto Library Project, described the process behind establishing a library for orphaned and homeless children in Zambia. Finally, Saule Omarova talked about the broad context of globalization, particularly its effect on lawyers and law firms. One of Omarova’s points that stood out was that as clients become more international, lawyers must also become international. Adapting to clientele base? I’m sensing a theme…

We learned a lot over the week, but, considering our location, felt we needed time for sightseeing too.

In front of Lincoln Memorial


Outside National Archive


Vietnam Memorial