UAM Summer Intern Blog 2021: Meeting Everyone Virtually - #MuseumWeek and Museum Conference

UAM Summer Intern, Sung Eun, participated in #MuseumWeek 2021 social media campaign and “met” museum professionals virtually at AMA Museum Conference.

Did anyone else miss human interactions during this pandemic? During June, I helped the University of Alberta Museums (UAM) participate in a social media event #MuseumWeek2021 and also participated in the virtual Alberta Museums Association (AMA) Conference which quenched my thirst for interacting with others. 

#MuseumWeek is a week-long international social media event where museums, galleries, libraries, and cultural organizations all around the world participate to share fun, educational, and unique aspects of their institutions via various online platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). This year, #MuseumWeek was June 7 to 13. Following this year’s theme of creativity and using seven pre-identified daily hashtags, University of Alberta Museums shared collection information and achievements to expand awareness of UAlberta Museums and to engage with audiences through Twitter and Facebook. My task was to help develop the social media strategy, create some social media posts, and produce the report once the campaign was complete. What surprised me was the fact that what looks like a simple and “in-the-moment” thing (i.e. social media post) is actually utilized by cultural institutions through meticulous planning and strategic implementation, followed by a thorough review and analysis. Being able to see the project unfold and wrap up from behind the scenes allowed me to see that “simple” appearances are testaments of people in charge meticulously staying on top of this fast-paced campaign. You can check our intriguing and eye-catching posts created by Jill, our Communications and Marketing Manager, with contributions from University of Alberta Museums staff--Miranda, another summer student, and Isabel and Sarah, curator and curatorial assistant from Mactaggart Art Collection, on our Twitter and Facebook.

The Alberta Museums Association (AMA) is a non-profit organization that supports Alberta museums and museum workers’ by providing standards and guidelines of museum practices. University of Alberta Museums are active members of AMA and recently received the Recognized Museum Program - Leader designation - an accreditation handed out by the AMA. Every year, the AMA hosts a conference, and this year for their 50th anniversary there are four online, half-day conferences. As an emerging museum professional, attending the conference meant taking a peek into how other professionals are organizing and running their museums. Virtual sessions about various collecting practices and approaches, incorporating social issues within exhibitions, and how museums are coping with COVID-19 helped me better understand the museum industry and its trends. I understood why attending and investing time in conferences, webinars, etc. are encouraged. These are places of opportunities where you get to network with peers, obtain information and useful tips that you would never have gained otherwise. Thank you Jenn, my supervisor and Moveable Cultural Property Advisor, Frannie, our Associate Director, and Christina, our HR and Finance Lead, for offering, approving, and registering me to the conference! 

As the summer goes, the museum field is becoming more complex than I initially assumed. Although there are many more things to learn and explore within the field, one thing I know for sure is that I am experiencing a lot through this internship and that I am ready for more!

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