WaMA’s Annual Conference in Moses Lake!oasis

June 21-23, 2017 “Oasis”

“As you walk through the desert of life, may you always find your oasis…”

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“As you walk through the desert of life, may you always find your oasis…”

For visitors museums serve as an oasis full of precious items and inspiring stories. They can transport visitors to places far from the everyday world.

But for museum professionals, that place of respite can sometimes be a mirage. Hectic deadlines, limited funds, long hours, and public indifference can lead museum workers to search for well-traveled paths through the desert. Thankfully there are sources of support; like desert blooms, museum professionals are finding ways to tap deep into those sources to restore beauty.

Just as water runs beneath the surface of an arid desert, your WaMA colleagues offer wellsprings to create your personal oasis. Rediscover your personal haven and share it with others at the 2017 WaMA Annual Meeting in Moses Lake, WA.

This year’s Annual Meeting offers your chance to explore the Columbia Basin’s land of contrasts. Where water has nourished the state’s largest agricultural center, it has also nourished the unexpected. From aerospace to data farms, the Columbia Basin never ceases to surprise. The Moses Lake Museum & Art Center, the site of our Annual Meeting, sits at the heart of Eastern Washington’s massive reclamation project, channeling life-giving water to the arid landscape. Originally founded as the Adam East Museum in 1958, the museum has since flourished to provide cultural services for the whole greater Columbia Basin.

When you arrive at the conference you’ll find yourself at the center of a professional oasis, surrounded by peers who have faced similar challenges. Engage with others who are bridging barriers between communities, sharing digital collections, and working with unconventional partners. (Take a break in the massage chair if it all becomes too much!)

Reinvigorate yourself with a visit from Museum Hack, a band of renegade museum tour guides. Their VIP Guide will discuss how to approach the challenges of engaging new audiences in a shifting cultural climate. Pre-register for one of Museum Hack’s engaging workshops to develop the confidence and skills to tell fascinating stories about your institution from a place of personal connection and passion.

Join WaMA in Moses Lake this summer and leave refreshed and ready to take on the museum world!

Wed, June 21

Pre-conference activities 9 am to 5 pm. Workshops and trip require an additional fee.

9:00 am – 4 pm                      Registrars to the Rescue.
Location Wanapum Heritage Center & Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum.                   FREE

Registrars to the (R2R) committee has started planning for the Washington Museum Association Annual Conference in Moses Lake, WA and we will need your help.  For the sixth year, the R2R team will partner with Art Work fine Art Services to bring together a team of trained professionals to volunteer on a special project in a Grant County museum.

If you are a registrar or collections specialist, please join us if you are coming to the WaMA Annual Conference, or consider helping for the day. It is an excellent networking opportunity!  R2R Committee is glad to assist with ride sharing for participants that want to carpool from the Puget Sound.

Registration for the Annual Conference is not required to participate in this event, although we encourage it. You must be available on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, between 9am and 4pm.

Lunch will be provided.

2:00 pm – 5 pm                      Museum Hack Workshop                                           $50.00

Museum Hack’s Audience Engagement Mini-Workshop will help spark innovative and creative thinking about how to attract and engage audiences of all ages, while investing in your staff and reconnecting them to your collections and mission. You will learn techniques for high-level audience engagement, including storytelling skills and activity design. You’ll uncover how to approach museums from a narrative perspective, with examples that dig for the non-traditional, and truly human, elements of spaces and objects in order to tell fascinating, passion-based stories and create stronger connections between audiences and institutions.

12:00 pm – 2:30 pm               Exhibits: The Art of Text Writing (Workshop)           $15.00

Presented by Gwen Whiting, Washington State History Museum.

Writing concise and engaging text for exhibit panels, captions and signage can be challenging.  Join curators from the Washington State History Museum as they provide exhibit writing tools and techniques.

Subjects presented include:

  • Novel-writing techniques translated for exhibit writers
  • Writing for specific audiences and grade levels
  • Writing for a particular subject
  • Overcoming writer’s block; practical exercises that will keep the text flowing
  • Creative captioning
  • Technological tools to assist with the writing process

This workshop includes hands-on writing exercises and an opportunity to talk about your writing challenges with the facilitator and the rest of the group.


3:30 – 5 pm                             World War I in Washington State:  An Exhibit, A Program and the Research Skills to Present Your Own Community History

(Workshop)                                                                 $15.00

Presented by Dr. Lorraine McConaghy, Susan Rohrer, and Jill Morelli.

The Centennial of American involvement in World War I begins this year and provides an opportunity to discover with your community the biographies of the people who served, the challenges of the home front, and the distinctive history of your own place against the backdrop of the war years in Washington State.  Join us for a hands-on workshop to gain the tools of engagement and discovery for this commemorative opportunity:  sharing research, exhibition, and programs with your visitors. Commemoration offers a chance to grow your audience, your capacity, and your collections for this important era.

  • Uncover local stories of war veterans
  • Learn genealogical skills and historical resources from an expert to bring you veterans to life
  • Develop biographies for the soldiers, sailors, marines, and nurses who came home or lost their lives
  • How to interpret the place-based history of your own community’s experience of the Great War
  • How to develop a participatory reader’s theater script based on research adapting a statewide “shell” script for your community
  • Display your research, images and artifacts against the backdrop of a new exhibit developed by the Washington State Historical Society entitled “Washington’s Great War; World War One in Washington State.”
    • It will be on display at the workshop.  The exhibit is free to educational, cultural and heritage institutions and all government agencies.
    • You will be presented with ideas on how to develop your own local exhibit and public programs, using the exhibition as a basis to build the important story of your region.

The workshop “World War I in Washington State” offers a packed agenda of skills, resources, and opportunities to take advantage of the centennial and its commemoration to explore history with your community.

12:00 – 4 pm                           Wanapum Power and Heritage Tour                         $20.00 FULL

For more than 60 years, Grant PUD and the Wanapum have worked together to protect, preserve, and perpetuate the natural and cultural resources of the Priest Rapids Project. Brought together in the 1950s with the federal licensing of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams, the two groups committed to a long-lasting relationship built on mutual trust and respect. As construction on the dams began, the Wanapum stood in support of the utility. In return, the Wanapum maintain their traditional culture and religious lifestyles at their ancestral home. Tour the Grant PUD Visitor Center, Wanapum Dam, and the Wanapum Heritage Center to gain a greater understanding of how Power and Heritage have shaped the human history along the banks of the Columbia River.

Preregistration and background check required (register by June 6). Participant to provide own transportation. Sandals or open-toed shoes are not allowed on the dam tour.

Tour Schedule:
12:00- 12:30 pm – Tour meets at Turbine Park. Come early to have a picnic lunch, or spend free-time at the Visitor’s Center. Take WA-243 to Wanapum Dam Rd.

12:30 -1:00 pm – Tour of the Grant PUD Visitor’s Center. 14352 Wa-243, Beverly, WA 99321

1:00 – 2:00 pm – Tour of Wanapum Dam.

Drive 17 miles South via WA-243 N

2:30 – 4:00 pm – Tour of Wanapum Heritage Center, 29086 Washington 243, Mattawa, WA 99349

6:00 – 8:00 pm                        Evening Welcoming Reception at Moses Lake Museum & Art Center

Join your colleagues and friends for a relaxed opening reception to the WaMA Conference.

Appetizers, wine/beer. Featuring Gear Jammers. Free for registrants.