Confessions of a Museum Professional… Part II!

BY: DIANE PELLICONE

It’s that time of the year again! The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) Annual Conference will be here before we know it, and we wanted to announce the return of “Confessions of a Museum Professional… Part II”!

For those of you who remember last year, I facilitated a participatory project, in collaboration with the Group of Emerging Museum Professionals (GOEMP) Committee and the OMA. Inspired by Frank Warren’s internet phenomenon PostSecret, “Confessions of a Museum Professional” invites colleagues to mail in postcards and share anonymous stories and observations about studying and working in the cultural sector. Last year, it was followed up by a panel discussion presented at the OMA Conference in Toronto. Not only did it successfully bring together dozens of emerging and established museum professionals, but once Conference ended we had received nearly 60 postcards! This extraordinary collection of unique stories reveals how important it is to think and talk about the universality of shared human experiences.

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The “Confessions of a Museum Professional” panel at the 2018 OMA Conference in Toronto. Image Credit: Madeline Smolarz

It is our hope that this positive and collaborative endeavor will continue at this year’s conference. The format remains mostly the same, where we ask that your stories relate back to the museum sector in some capacity. Submissions should be constructive and should tell stories about your workplace, your educational training, or just general questions, frustrations, experiences, and failures within the arts, culture, and heritage community. Since the theme at this year’s conference is about Networks, our moderated panel discussion will include three session panelists selected not only for their skills and accomplishments, but for their ability to reflect on issues of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. By directly responding to the postcards we received, these leaders will speak about various issues that are currently affecting museum professionals across the province.

And last but not least… New this year! Supported by the GOEMP Committee, “Confessions” has launched an Instagram account. It’s called @museumconfessions and you can find it by clicking here. A selection of postcards we receive will be documented and shared online. This will provide museum professionals with an additional platform to discuss a collection of unique stories with their peers across disciplines, beyond geographical borders, and at any time throughout the year.

Makes sense? Ok, let’s do this! Here are a few easy steps to help get you started:

  1. Write your story. On the back of your postcard, write down a museum or gallery experience you would like to share with the arts and culture community. Your postcard can be handmade, purchased, decorated… it’s really up to you!
  2. Be anonymous. We don’t need to know your name, institution, or city of origin. Your privacy and the integrity of your colleagues is very important to us. And please remember, this isn’t a gossip column!
  3. Mail your postcard. Please address your postcard to the following address:

Confessions of a Museum Professional
184 Humberside Avenue, Apartment 1
Toronto, ON M6P 1K5

That’s it! Postcards will be collected, read, and forwarded to our participating session panelists as we approach Conference. Some may also be selected for our Instagram account. Again, all postcards will be treated with respect and anonymity.

If you would like your postcard to be considered in time for this year’s Conference, please ensure your postcards are mailed by Friday, October 11, 2019.

Questions and comments about the project can be sent to ontariogoemp@gmail.com.

We look forward to receiving your stories and hope to see you at Conference!

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Author Diane Pellicone hanging out at the GOEMP Committee’s live activation of the “Confessions” project at the 2018 OMA Conference in Toronto. Image Credit: Madeline Smolarz

Disclaimer:

Please note that when submitting your postcards to “Confessions,” you are granting us the right to use, reproduce, publish, display and distribute this content at conferences, on social media platforms, and other distribution methods.

About the 2019 OMA Conference:

The OMA Annual Conference 2019: Networks is taking place from October 23 to 25, 2019. It is hosted by the City of Brantford, County of Brant, and Six Nations of the Grand River, and is presented in collaboration with the Brant Museums & Galleries Association. This year’s theme considers how collaborating broadly and in coordination with a network helps museums to realize their full potential. While collaborations are often thought of as two or more partners working together towards a specific project or goal, activating and engaging a network opens up countless new possibilities.

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