News Releases

10/28/2014 - Statewide Museum Conference Coming to Salina

General Museum Information: Susan Hawksworth, Director
Phone: 785.309.5776 (day) 785.825.6306 (evening)


Statewide Museum Conference Coming to Salina

The Smoky Hill Museum will present the 2014 Annual Conference of the Kansas Museums Association in Salina, Wednesday through Friday, November 5-7. Tour and site visits take place at numerous locations for the 125 to 175 industry professionals who will gather, with the Salina Ambassador Hotel & Conference Center serving as host hotel. The 2014 theme for the three-day gathering is “Common Threads: Pulling Together,” reflecting the host city’s strong fabric of vibrant cultural and arts offerings.

For 46 years, the KMA Annual Conference has served as a focal point for its member institutions that range from Stanton County Museum in Johnson, Kansas to the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. Officially formed in spring 1969 when its first organizational meeting was held in Abilene, the Kansas Museums Association offers numerous networking and professional development gatherings and opportunities across the state each year. The KMA is headquartered in Wichita. 

In Salina, pre-conference workshops will be led by experts from the City of Salina and the University of Kansas, while pre-conference tours of historic cultural properties and arts attractions will spotlight the Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Marymount Properties and Salina’s growing collection of public art.

Keynote speakers include Bo Beatty, interim President and CEO of the American Association for State and Local History, Ruth Ann Rugg, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Museums and John Burchill, local author and KWU Professor of Criminal Justice.

On the first evening, conference-goers will experience the scope and variety of cultural attractions that call Salina home, during a progressive Opening Reception with stops at Rolling Hills Zoo and Museum, the Smoky Hill Museum, and the Salina Arts Center. “We’re delighted to have KMA’s museum professionals in Salina,” says Sylvia Rice, Visit Salina Director of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, an event supporter. “Museums are integral to the Kansas tourism industry and we welcome every opportunity to interact with those partners,” says Rice. “KMA organizers have developed an exceptional agenda for attendees, incorporating the ‘Salina experience’, which features our
museums, our exciting arts scene, and of course, a small dose of down time for some important retail therapy.” 

During the conference, attendees will choose from workshops on arts funding, donor and audience development, community partnerships, collection management, how to engage visitors through technology, and how to utilize costumed interpreters. Roundtable discussions will be led by professionals including Bill North of the Salina Arts Center, Nona Miller, Jennifer Toelle and Lisa Upshaw of the Smoky Hill Museum, other museum and university representatives, and staff from the Kansas Humanities Council.

Thursday evening’s annual Dinner & Benefit Auction features themed tabletops and party favors designed by member organization, an auction and prize drawings. Final-day highlights on Friday include a special session on papermaking as a social-action tool plus the KMA Annual Awards Luncheon and 2015 Conference preview. The 2015 KMA Annual Conference will be in Wichita, held jointly with the Mountain Plains Museums Association, September 27 through October 1.

Susan Hawksworth, Smoky Hill Museum director and Kansas Museum Association vice-president, is this year’s Conference Chair. For more information on 2014 Annual Conference registration or the Kansas Museums Association, call Hawksworth at 785-309-5776, visit or call the KMA at 316-765-9197.

 The Smoky Hill Museum is a nationally accredited history museum in the heart of downtown Salina, Kansas. This FREE museum is open Tuesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 1-5. The Museum Store is open during the same hours and offers a wide variety of original Kansas and regional products, local artwork, educational toys and games, and gifts for all ages.