Washington, DC— The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), working in cooperation with the Institute for Museum and Library Studies (IMLS), explores capacity-building strategies for state museum associations to better serve local museums. State museum associations operate with a variety of governance structures. Typically they have small budgets and limited opportunities for networking and information sharing as a group. IMLS and AAM hosted a national meeting for state museum associations March 28 and 29 in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas to assess their needs and develop capacity-building strategies. The purpose of the initiative is to share, explore, and identify the characteristics of a successful, sustainable state museum association and the barriers to success and substantiality.  Throughout the United States, 45 museum associations help museums in their states provide lifelong learning experiences as well as preserve and interpret cultural, artistic, and scientific heritage. For many museums, especially small museums and museums in remote areas, these state museum associations play a significant role in providing technical assistance, professional development opportunities, and more.

This convening of state museum association leaders is an important forum for the museum field to determine how it can work collaboratively to reach – and serve – all museums. Jane Hoffman, HMA President and Heather Diamond, HMA Vice President represented Hawai‘i at this first national convening of state museums associations.