It was a great honor and pleasure to represent Oregon Black Pioneers at the annual conference of the Association of African American Museums in Riverside California. Willie Richardson and I presented a session called “Our Museum: A Place – A Portal” where we shared the ongoing journey of OBP toward an Oregon African American Museum (OAAM).
We met people from across the United States who work and volunteer for all sizes of museums from the very small to the Smithsonian. The theme this year was Looking West with an emphasis on black history in the West. It was great to listen to the histories and work being done in the west in places like New Mexico and Montana and to learn that our histories are very similar in a lot of ways.
Key note speakers included Dr. Clayborn Carson from Stanford University who encouraged everyone to keep telling the stories.
The day included a speech with historic information about the founding of the Association of African American Museums by Dr. Amina Dickerson. She was encouraging about continuing the work of the organization and the place of African American Museums in many forms in telling our story in history.
We were struck by the similarity of directions and innovations that museums are beginning to take particularly with social media, digitalization and virtual technologies. Sessions included panels of museum professionals, consultants and funders who brought their unique perspectives to these subjects.
We attended a session with ILMS the largest federal funder for museums but most importantly funding specifically for African American Museums. They shared ways and the support available to museums to tap into their resources.
Our own Brian Carter (who assisted us during his stay at the Oregon Historical Society with good counsel, encouragement and even labor on our work day at the storage unit) was elected President of the Association and even attended our session. So proud of him!
Gwen Trice from the Maxville Interpretative Center in Enterprise Oregon attended was also a presenter and we got a chance to talk briefly about potential partnerships in the future.
Thanks to Zoe for helping us put together a great visual presentation. As a result, we nailed it right down to the timing.