This blog is the place to exchange ideas, news, issues and thoughts about diversity and multiculturalism in museums. The Multicultural Initiatives Committee is a Texas Association of Museums Affinity Group.

Monday, 16 March 2009

TAM Annual Meeting Offers Great Sessions

The Texas Association of Musuems Annual Meeting is this week. With such a powerful theme like Building Bridges, Breaking Down Barriers, this meeting presents the perfect opportunity to discuss some of the diversity issues important to this committee. The program is full of international speakers as well as some very interesting and thought-provoking sessions.
If you are going to the meeting, make sure you check out the following sessions:

Wednesday, March 18

8:45 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
And the Myth Goes On…More “Lies My Docent Told Me…”
Back by popular demand, this session will be a continuation of the 2008 “Lies My Docent Told Me” panel discussion. Join our now famous myth busting team of Susan Smyer and Jonathan Plant as they are joined by Hal Simon and Henry Crawford in redirecting the free license that docents often take with history. Our panelists will introduce the topic, bring a few new myths they’ve dispelled, and then engage session attendees in a conversation about myths, why we love them, and how we can help make them go away. If you are looking to retrain staff, conduct research, or just a have a great time this discussion is for you!

10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
Cultural Foreign Affairs: Mexico's Commitment to International Cultural Exchange with the United States
Off-site/El Paso Museum of Art
Museums throughout Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico, are increasingly interested in bringing art and culture from Mexico to their communities. No other part of the world shares so much of the same history, politics, linguistics, and socioeconomic concerns. Yet many museums are uncertain about the complications of international transit, crossing borders, and the longstanding bridges to success in collaboration that are already in place. Understanding may begin with knowing there is a strong commitment from the Mexican government to export its culture. This session will present information about the politics of binational and international foreign cultural affairs in Mexico and between the US and Mexico. One example to be presented is collaborative programming opportunities around the 2010 centennial of the Mexican Revolution and the Bicentennial of Independence of Mexico from Spain.
Feature Speaker: Alberto Fierro, Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Dirección General de Asuntos Culturales de Mexico

12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Opening Luncheon
Special Guests:
Alberto Fierro, Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Dirección General de Asuntos Culturales de Mexico

Kathy Dwyer Southern, President and CEO, National Children’s Museum, Washington, DC, and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Museums, Washington, D.C.

Opening Keynote: Introducing All of the U.S. to All of the World: The Role of Museums in International Cultural Understanding By Adair Margo, El Paso
Adair Margo has chaired the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities since 2001, appointed by President George W. Bush. During her chairmanship, there has been a renewed focus on international cultural understanding and a flourishing of international activity among the cultural agencies. Adair was recognized by two Presidents for her recent work: by President Felipe Calderon of Mexico with the Aguila Azteca, the highest recognition given by the Mexican government to a non-Mexican citizen, and by President George W. Bush with the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Founded in 1985, the Adair Margo Gallery in El Paso has exhibited over 400 individual artists from a dozen countries. The Gallery hosted over 200 exhibitions and placed the work of regional artists in world class collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, U.S. Embassies worldwide, and the Oval Office of the White House.
Margo is the author of two books and has taught art history at New Mexico State University and the University of Texas at El Paso. Margo has served on many boards, including the Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges Executive Committee; Mid-America Arts Alliance; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum National Council.
Pre-registration is required. Cost is $28. Tickets must be presented for this event. No tickets will be sold in El Paso.

1:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
La pasada prohibida de…”: Organizing Exhibitions Borrowed from Museums and Collections in Mexico
Amazing examples of art and artifacts are held in collections on both sides of the border, but borrowing objects across borders and sharing exhibitions between countries can be a complicated and challenging process. This session will propose a checklist of considerations that must be made in formulating binational exhibitions and will offer advice to registrars, curators, preparators and other museum personnel involved in handling such exhibitions. It will also shed light on some of the most puzzling questions such as: Do I need to hire a custom’s broker? Who can transport these objects to/from and in Mexico? Will I need additional insurance in Mexico? At the end of this session attendees will have important legal and customs information about binational exhibitions. They will also learn of resources and contacts that simplify and clarify borrowing objects from Mexico.

Thursday, March 19

12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
Networking Luncheon
Finally, here’s a chance for an informal lunch with friends and colleagues. Pick up your box lunch and join a conversation! TAM Affinity Groups meet during the Networking Lunch, so find a group that follows your interests and get acquainted with your counterparts
Pre-registration is required. Cost is $20.00. Tickets must be presented for this event. No tickets will be sold in El Paso.
MIC will be holding its annual meeting at this luncheon. Hope to see you there!

1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

Dialogo: Becoming Bilingual Museums

There are more than 28 million Spanish speakers in the United States today and more than 8 million live in Texas. This session lays out the challenges and benefits of creating inclusive environments for Spanish-speaking visitors. Based on a philosophy of museums as catalysts for building community, panelists will discuss both theory and practice of the bilingual museum, including providing accurate translation of museum didactics, partnering with community organizations to bring non-traditional visitors into the museum, and creating programming that allows for an exchange of ideas between immigrant populations and the larger community. Panelists will share from a rich history of past projects that have engaged a diverse cross-section of bilingual participants, building stronger museum audiences and stronger communities.

3:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Does Your Board Reflect Your Community?
If you held a mirror up to your board members, would your local community be reflected? Institutions, councils, and friends groups across Texas are struggling to ensure that all voices are represented in their governing and supporting institutions. As the state grows more diverse, the challenge becomes more and more daunting. How can you achieve a truly representative board? Where do you find local leaders? And why is board diversity so important anyway? This session will focus on the recruitment and development of multicultural and diverse board members.

Friday, March 20

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Closing Luncheon
Special Guest:
Sean McGlynn, Director, City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, El Paso

Closing Keynote: A Tale of Two Republics: Why the U.S. and Mexico are so Different By Donald S. Frazier, Ph.D., Professor of History, McMurry University, AbileneThe project was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A native of Big Spring, Donald S. Frazier, Ph.D., is professor of history at McMurry University in Abilene. He has authored several books, including the award-winning Blood and Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest, is coauthor of Frontier Texas: History of a Borderland to 1880, and editor of The United States and Mexico at War: Nineteenth-Century Expansionism and Conflict. Frazier also founded and manages the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation, an Abilene-based nonprofit for the advancement of history education that includes State House Press, the McWhiney Foundation Press, and the museum and educational programs of the Texas Frontier Heritage and Cultural Center. He has consulted on several national projects for PBS, the History Channel, the National Park Service, and Preserve America.

No comments: