WaMA’s Annual Conference in Spokane!

June 19-21, 2019
“All Stories Are Told Here”


Every year American society becomes increasingly more diverse, and Washington State is home to some of the most diverse communities in the nation. As museums, what steps are we taking to make this broad range of voices heard in our institutions? Join the Washington Museum Association and our conference hosts at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC), as we explore how museums can build diverse, inclusive and welcoming practices, ensuring ALL STORIES ARE TOLD HERE.

At 103 years old, the MAC is still learning and building upon a practice rooted in inclusive collecting. Early acquisitions speak to a tradition dating back to the institution’s beginnings, as seen through the memoirs of Ranald MacDonald, a sailor who became the first native-speaking English teacher in isolationist Japan; the papers of Reba Hurn, one of the first women elected to the Washington State Senate; and the letters of Abbie Widner, a prostitute who worked out of Spokane’s Colonial Hotel in 1905.

Today the MAC is putting those practices to work through exhibitions like As Grandmother Taught: Women, Tradition and Plateau Art, which associates the works of contemporary masters, like basket weaver Bernadine Phillips (Wenatchi/Okanogan) with historic materials; the Visual Thinking Strategies training program that challenges perceptions of who can learn, and who cannot, by encouraging self-expression and independent thinking; and the ongoing development and interpretation of the museum’s world-class American Indian Plateau Collection with the assistance of the museum’s American Indian Cultural Council (AICC).

While the MAC’s practices have always valued diversity and inclusion, the stories of well researched and curated collections have become familiar with repeat telling. Other stories, while collected and preserved, are not told as frequently. How does the museum ensure ALL STORIES ARE TOLD HERE as relationships, resources, and the rules of practice change? Perhaps you recognize similar stories in your own institution and wonder just how inclusive is inclusion?

Keynote speaker Adriel Luis, Curator of Digital and Emerging Media at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, speaks with many voices – musician, poet, visual artist, curator and coder. Together Luis and his team at the Smithsonian are developing a series of “culture labs,” community-curated alternatives to traditional museum exhibitions designed to amplify local voices and challenge traditional definitions of inclusion.

The Washington Museum Association invites you to learn from one another by sharing your common, and uncommon practices for telling ALL STORIES at the Annual Conference June 19-21, 2019 at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. 

Wed, June 19

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

9:00 am – 4 pm   Registrars to the Rescue.                               FREE

Pack Your Gloves!

Registrars to the Rescue is getting ready for the Washington Museum Association Annual Conference and we need your help.

Registrars to the Rescue volunteers will be helping the staff at the Jundt Art Museum to inventory, organize, and re-tag a large number of framed paintings, prints, and drawings housed in basement storage. 

If you are a registrar or collections specialist, consider joining us and bringing a trusted colleague. It is an excellent networking opportunity.

We are excited to once again partner with Art Work Fine Art Services to bring together a team of trained professionals to volunteer on this special project in a wonderful Washington museum. 

Registration for the annual conference is not required to participate in this event. You must be available on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 between 9am – 4pm. Lunch will be provided. 


WaMA Registrars to the Rescue Committee, c/o Rebecca Engelhardt
Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street Tacoma, WA 98402
Or email rengelhardt@museumofglass.org or call 253-284-4705


12:00 pm – 1:30 pm   Survey Says! Improving Survey Effectiveness                      $15.00

Presenter: Angie Ong, University of Washington Museology Department.
Space is limited; please register early.

Surveys are the most common way to gather data from visitors, members, staff, and the general public. Yet most people create them without considering whether they are collecting truly useful information. Are you asking the right question, in the right order? Are your scales appropriate for what you’re hoping to measure? Does your visitor actually understand the question you’re asking? In this interactive workshop, you will learn best practices for designing surveys and have the opportunity to apply these to your own work. Participants are encouraged to bring surveys they currently use, or are planning to use, at their museums so they can get feedback and pro-tips from professional evaluators.

2:00 – 4:00 pm   Big and Small Ways to Excite Audiences                              $15.00

Presenters: Hannah Schwenderman and Dustyn Addington, Humanities Washington.
Space is limited; please register early.

As a statewide organization, Humanities Washington is fortunate to witness creative and unique forms of public programming. From small tweaks that energize an event, to larger program structures that turn attendees into participants, we will explore dynamic programming opportunities together. Through group discussions and brainstorm sessions, participants will generate novel ways of engaging the public in your organization to excite attendees.


1 – 5 pm    Spokane Diversity: Preserving 200 Years of Immigration through

Stories, Buildings, and Material Culture                              $35.00
Meet at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture’s Auditorium

Space is limited; please register early.

For over 200 years, people have arrived in the Inland Northwest to join native Plateau Indian cultures in calling this region “home.” This field trip will share stories of both long-established African American, European, and Asian communities, as well as more recent 20th– and 21st-century arrivals. A bus tour of downtown businesses, churches, and gathering places, including the East Downtown National Register District, follows an illustrated armchair introduction to the MAC’s efforts to diversify its collection. Senior MAC Curator, Retired Marsha Rooney will be your guide.

1 – 3 pm   Perspectives on Hangman Creek                                           $40.00

Participants will meet at the Sandifer Bridge Parking Lot (Riverside Avenue and Clark Street). Space is limited; please register early.

Join Warren Seyler, Director of the Spokane Tribe’s Natural Resources Department, and Jack Nisbet, author of Ancient Places: People and Landscape in the Emerging Northwest and The Dreamer and the Doctor, for a walk along Hangman Creek, one of the Spokane River’s largest tributaries. This leisurely hike will focus on the long-term human and natural history of the drainage as well as the interaction of early white visitors with Salish people from early fur trade days to the military conflicts of the 1850s. (The walk is about a mile on either good dirt trails or gravel roads, with minimal incline.)

6:00 – 8:00 pm   Evening Welcoming Reception
Campbell House, 2316 W. First Ave., Spokane
Join your colleagues and friends for a relaxed opening reception at this authentically restored (c. 1910) English Tudor Revival style home designed by architect Kirtland Cutter. In 1898 Amasa B. Campbell moved his family and mining operations to Spokane to escape Coeur d’Alene’s labor strife. The Campbell House in Spokane’s beautiful Browne’s Addition became the base of operations for Amasa’s business interests, wife Grace and daughter Helen’s charitable and cultural efforts, and acculturation of the home’s newly immigrated Scandinavian employees.

Take a brief ALL STORIES tour of the Campbell House with retired Senior MAC Curator Marsha Rooney, members of the Campbell House Committee and the home’s dedicated team of interpreters. Enjoy stunning views of the Spokane River and Spokane’s new Kendall Yards from the Veranda or pick up a picnic blanket and enjoy wine, beer, and refreshments on the lawn (weather-permitting).