Professional Development

Updated November 20, 2020


Hosted by the American Alliance of Museums and other museum service organizations, this calendar lists opportunities for museum professionals.


NOMINATE A CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL MEMBER Are you interested or do you know someone who may be interested in consideration for an appointment to a position on the California Arts Council? Members bring to the work varied backgrounds, knowledge and experience in the fields of arts and culture, and representation for our state's broad geographic landscape and racial, ethnic, and gender identities.


CALL FOR IDEAS: 2021 VIRTUAL SUMMITS – SUBMIT BY NOVEMBER 30 CAM is requesting ideas and proposals for a series of virtual summits in Spring 2021 on the following themes:

  • New Models for Fundraising and Sustainability
  • Advancing Equity and Inclusion
  • Measuring and Communicating Social Impact
  • Contemporary Collecting
  • Storytelling through Technology

Each proposal may be submitted as either a 10-minute case study, a 45-minute panel discussion with multiple presenters, or another format to be determined. Multiple proposals are encouraged!


CALL FOR PROPOSALS: AAM ANNUAL MEETING – SUBMIT BY NOVEMBER 30 The 2021 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo (#AAM2021) call for proposals is now open! For instructions on how to submit a session, poster proposal, or networking discussion visit the informational page.


NATIONAL COUNCIL ON PUBLIC HISTORY AWARDS – SUBMIT BY DECEMBER 1 NCPH awards recognize excellence in the diverse ways public historians apply their skills to the world around us. The purpose of the award program is to promote professionalism and best practices among public historians and to raise awareness about their activities. NCPH is currently accepting submissions for the Outstanding Public History Project Award, New Professional Award, Excellence in Consulting, Robinson Prize for Historical Analysis, and Student Awards.


VIRTUAL CONVERSATION SERIES: REMUSEUM 2020 – DECEMBER 3–DECEMBER 17 Recover. Reimagine. Revive. What does ReMuseum mean to you? Join these virtual conversations to delve deeply into the challenges that the museum field is currently facing and how our field can move forward. Each week will feature a special guest with knowledge or experience to help us consider new perspectives. Come ready to dialogue! Programs will be held Thursdays, October 8–December 17, 2020.


WEBINAR: WRITING FOR EXHIBITS – STARTS DECEMBER 6 This course will offer expert instruction on the techniques and best practices used by museum professionals to write text and labels for audiences of diverse ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Take 10% off with discount code CA10.


WEBINAR: CREATING PRESERVATION-QUALITY ORAL HISTORY RECORDINGS – DECEMBER 8 Ensuring that the stories of your oral history subjects will be available long into the future starts before you press “record.” This session teaches participants about the technical considerations that go into making an oral history recording at preservation-quality. This includes selecting the right equipment, capturing audio correctly, and making sure the file formats support digital preservation.


WEBINAR: STRATEGIES FOR NITRATE AND ACETATE NEGATIVES AND FILM – DECEMBER 15 This webinar will cover all of the logistical complexities involved in a digitization/reformatting project that includes nitrocellulose- and cellulose acetate-based film, from packing and shipping to long-term storage and maintenance to the ethical dilemma of retention vs. disposal.


ANNUAL CURATORIAL AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE – APPLY BY DECEMBER 15 The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) has established new categories for the Awards for Excellence. Nominations are now being accepted for this year’s Awards that will recognize curatorial endeavors created solely for the virtual, online sphere in the categories of: Digital Publications, Online Resource Development, Online Programming - Single Episode, Online Programming - Series Across Multiple Organizations, and Online Exhibition.


CALL FOR PROPOSALS: AASLH 20201 ANNUAL MEETING – SUBMIT BY DECEMBER 18 The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) will present its 2021 Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 22–25. The 2021 theme will be centered around justice. This meeting will be a hybrid of virtual components with onsite sessions and events. AASLH is now accepting proposals for sessions and workshops.


OPEN CALL: CAC GRANT REVIEW PANELISTS – APPLY BY JANUARY 7 The California Arts Council seeks arts and cultural practitioners from disparate communities statewide to volunteer for our upcoming grant review panels. Panelists play a critical role in the grant application process as field representatives. They work both independently and virtually alongside staff Programs Specialists and other panelists to evaluate grant applications, ensuring an equitable, honest, and thorough review and ranking process. Invited panelists receive a $100 per day honorarium to subsidize them for their 3-day panel meeting participation.


ONLINE COURSE: INTRODUCTION TO FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – STARTS JANUARY 25 Designed for staff and volunteers of all abilities and organizations of all sizes, this four-week course provides an accessible, clear, and even fun introduction to financial concepts.


ONLINE COURSE: BASICS OF ARCHIVES – STARTS JANUARY 25 This course is designed to give organizations and individuals who are responsible for the care of historical records an introduction to the core aspects of managing and protecting historical records collections, using appropriate principles and best practices.


ONLINE COURSE: COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT – STARTS JANUARY 25 This course will introduce participants to the professional principles and practices in the management of museum collections. Topics will include collections development, registration and record keeping with an emphasis on the development of Collection Policies and Procedures and what it means to be intellectually and physically responsible for museum objects.


ONLINE COURSE: DEVELOPING EXHIBITIONS: DESIGN – STARTS JANUARY 25 Guided by an expert instructor and supported by cooperative student learning, participants will design an actual exhibit. Participants will decide what their exhibit will be about and why, identify its storyline ideas and organizing concepts, and decide on its look and feel.


ONLINE COURSE: MUSEUM EDUCATION & OUTREACH – STARTS JANUARY 25 This course considers how we can facilitate visitors’ meaningful and memorable experiences in the informal environments of museums. The program looks at the larger umbrella of programming at sites and explores the large concept of who our audiences are, how best to connect with them, and what is needed to develop various methods.


CALL FOR PAPERS: THEORY AND PRACTICE JOURNAL – SUBMIT BY FEBRUARY 1 The journal Theory and Practice has released their call for papers around the theme "We the Museum". During calls for democratization and unions, amid the push to decolonize museums and public art, and throughout COVID-19 layoffs and budget cuts, museums have been reminded that they are inextricably linked to the political and social change in the communities they inhabit. However, the people who call for these changes—and who are affected by them—are often invisible within the institution.


RESOURCE: THE INCLUSIVE HISTORIAN'S HANDBOOK This reference source supports inclusive and equity-focused historical work in public settings by sharing a knowledge base that invites more people to engage in history projects. This handbook provides concrete examples of how to make history work more relevant. It centers on equity, inclusivity, diversity, and public service while offering accessible windows into the many ways public historians work.


TOOL FOR CHANGEMAKERS NOW AVAILABLE: BAY AREA EQUITY ATLAS The Bay Area Equity Atlas is a comprehensive data support system to track the state of equity across the region and inform solutions for inclusive prosperity as well as policy solutions and stories.  


FREE DOWNLOAD: TRANSGENDER INCLUSION TOOLKIT FROM AAM LGBTQ ALLIANCE TASK FORCE The AAM LGBTQ Alliance’s Task Force for Transgender Inclusion recently released the Gender Transition and Transgender Inclusion in the Museum Workplace: A Toolkit for Trans Individuals, Institutions, and Coworkers. This expansive set of guides approaches trans inclusion from various perspectives in an approachable and easy-to-understand format.


Peer reviewers are museum professionals who volunteer their time to support AAM's Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs (MAP). They review museum self-assessment materials, conduct site visits and facilitate the institutional planning process. Their service is the critical backbone to the success of both programs. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis.


POLARIS MUSEUM MENTOR NETWORK Serve as an online mentor or to reach out for support as a mentee during this time of physical distancing by joining POLARIS: The Museum Mentor Network (free to all museum professionals).  


DOWNLOAD THE AAM RACIAL EQUITY AND INCLUSION PLAN PRIMER Advancing racial and ethnic diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion on boards can be a daunting task for any institution. No matter where you are in the process of creating a racial equity and inclusion plan for your museum, learn more from this new resource, including questions to help guide you and links to additional resources.


FINAL REPORT: CCLI NATIONAL LANDSCAPE STUDY ON DEAI IN MUSEUMS In 2019, a ground-breaking study was launched to better understand the current state of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) practices in the U.S. museum field. Using data collected from 580 museums across the U.S., the landmark report CCLI National Landscape Study: The State of DEAI Practices in Museums highlights where organizational change is progressing and where gaps exist.


CULTURE TRACK INTERACTIVE TOOL NOW LIVE This interactive dashboard provides compiles data from over 120,000 respondents who completed the Culture & Community in a Time of Crisis survey this spring. The comparisons included in the tool currently highlight members or subscribers to any arts or culture organization. In the coming weeks, it will be further enhanced to include splits by genre of cultural attendance as well as race and ethnicity to further aid cultural organizations in planning and implementation towards increased relevance, equity and sustainability.