We recently had the opportunity to speak with Elizabeth Duggal, chairman of ICOM-US about the upcoming conference in St. Petersburg. Said Elizabeth, Associate Director for Public Engagement, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Director, International Museum Professional Education Program at the Smithsonian Institution, “From the American perspective, our goal is to partner with our fellow ICOM committees to facilitate a global dialogue. This topic, developed by the Russians, resonated with the ICOM-US board when we were invited to participate.”
And what about the kinds of proposals that the program committee is seeking? “We’re interested in any related topic at any level. It could be a community or regional museum talking about the environment and land use or, for instance, a presentation of the issues surrounding the Hide and Seek exhibit here at the Smithsonian. We’re looking for not just a Washington, DC perspective and not just a big museum, top-level perspective.” To that end, the American committee will make some travel funds available through a small grant program. They are hoping that both students and professionals will be able to attend because, as Elizabeth says, “You never know what will happen when we begin to make connections, to have a dialogue.”
This conference partnership is part of a broader trend in the work of ICOM-US. They are working to find new ways to provide value to their members and are encouraging American members to participate in ICOM committees. They’ll continue to look at other ways in which American museum professionals can widely participate in the global museum community and are always happy to hear your suggestions.
Considering a proposal? We encourage you to share your ideas here in a blog post to get feedback from your colleagues.