WaMA’s Annual Conference in Bellingham!

June 20-22, 2018 “Transcending Boundaries”

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Prepare to come to the far northwest corner of our state in June of 2018 when the Whatcom Museum will host the annual Washington Museum Association meeting in Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement. This year’s theme is “Transcending Boundaries,” and museums are constantly pushing the envelope on this. As museums continue to explore new ways to engage communities in conversations that bridge cross-cultural boundaries, they also help bring acceptance of differences of opinion, create stronger cross-cultural collaborations with tribal groups and under-served communities, and combine multi-disciplinary approaches to interpreting cultural heritage, science, and art.

The Washington Museum Association invites you to explore with us how we can each transcend boundaries in our museums, as museum professionals, and as community resources. Not only will you come away with ideas and resources to share with your colleagues, boards, and patrons, but you will have the chance to learn and grow professionally.

This year’s annual conference will be hosted at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA, where mountains and sea collide. Celebrating its 77th year in 2018, the Whatcom Museum has two distinctive and historically significant buildings in downtown Bellingham’s arts district. The Lightcatcher building, designed by Olson Kundig Architects (opened in 2009) features a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource: sunlight. The LEED Silver-Level certified building hosts a rotating schedule of art exhibitions throughout the year, a permanent Northwest Coast native people exhibit, as well as our Family Interactive Gallery (FIG), Museum Store, and Artifacts Café & Wine Bar.

The 1892 Old City Hall, home to Whatcom Museum since 1941, is a beloved city landmark, with its Victorian cupolas and central clock tower a stately community presence for more than a century. The building features new history exhibits including an orientation theater, a maritime history gallery, and the John M. Edson Hall of Birds.

When you arrive at the conference you will have the chance to explore the Museum’s campus and exhibits, as well as other highlights of downtown Bellingham’s arts district on an opening night arts crawl. Stops will including the Spark: Museum of Electrical Invention, Mindport, and Make.Shift Gallery, among others. On Thursday evening we’ll take you on a waterside history tour of Bellingham with our popular History Sunset Cruise, cruising along Bellingham Bay while learning local history from a beloved local historian. You’ll gain a new understanding of Bellingham, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the sea, all while sipping on a glass of wine and enjoying a sumptuous dinner!

In the spirit of transcending boundaries, we hope some of our Canadian museum neighbors will join us for this conference and share their perspectives and work in their communities too. The opportunity for sharing ideas and collaborating will help reinforce the positive changes museums make in the world. We look forward to hosting you this summer!

(Program Details Coming this Spring) WEDNESDAY • THURSDAY • FRIDAY • REGISTRATION