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Professional Programming

If you are looking to connect with other museum professionals and have access to leaders in the industry, Cultural Connections programs are for you! The Board develops and hosts five programs annually.  Each program is varied in format and subject matter, and each is designed to bring you in contact with the rich talent and resources of our local museum community. Programs are held at museums and cultural spaces throughout the Bay Area.

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All Cultural Connections programs are open to the public. Admission is free for members, and $15 for non-members unless indicated otherwise.

Upcoming Programs

    • Wednesday, July 15, 2020
    • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (PDT)
    • Virtual via Zoom
    • 27

    Many museums engage their audiences through immersive or interactive experiences. One popular technique is to share contemporary, local stories and community voices.

    Join Cultural Connections to hear about how some institutions celebrate lived experience and share authorship by inviting visitors to tell their stories. We will hear from three museum professionals who have explored how these techniques can enrich exhibitions and programs, and then hold time for discussion.

    Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the museum field, we are offering this program free of charge to everyone, and asking participants to pay what they can. Cultural Connections is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit run by an all-volunteer board, and the funds earned through membership and program admission directly support professional development programs and resources for our colleagues throughout the Bay Area. Thank you for supporting Cultural Connections!


    Brad Larson has been developing interactive media for family audiences in museums for more than 20 years. He was the Technology Developer at The Children’s Museum in Boston for ten years, and received his EdM in the Interactive Technologies in Education program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Brad has contributed to the field with presentations at AAM, ASTC, and ACM Interactivity. Installations include projects for Smithsonian’s National Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, Science Museum of Minnesota, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and children’s museums across the U.S., where he has focused in particular on technologies that add visitors’ stories and comments to exhibits. His special areas of focus include: community storytelling, popup exhibits, and interactive media that supports behavioral change.

    Penny Jennings is the Oakland Museum of California's Associate Director of Experience Development. She has been working in the museum world since the 1980s, first as an American Studies student, then as an educator, project manager and exhibition developer for projects far and wide, mostly in science, history and children's museums, including the Exploratorium and the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Penny is also the President of the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) having served on its Board since 2006.

    Sarah Seiter is an exhibit developer and curator in Oakland, California. Her work is grounded in the belief that science can be a fulcrum for change and a way of empowering people. She is currently the Lead Content Developer for Nobel Prize-winning physicist Saul Permutter at U.C. Berkeley, where she creates materials for teaching scientific reasoning. Prior to that, she served as the Associate Curator of Natural Sciences at the Oakland Museum of California for nearly six years, where she created award-winning exhibitions about socially relevant science issues, such as marijuana policy, urban agriculture, land use, and most recently, maps.

Past Programs

Saturday, June 13, 2020 Linking History to Community: How Historic House Museums Can Remain Relevant in the 21st Century
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Cultural Connections Virtual Meet-Up
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 Bam! Now Do We Have Your Attention? How to Use Storytelling to Achieve High Impact, Immersive and Interactive Experiences
Thursday, January 30, 2020 Diversifying the Digital Experience
Wednesday, December 04, 2019 Try This at Home: Institutional Change Case-studies and Workshop
Thursday, September 26, 2019 Taking Action Together: Exploring the MASS Action Toolkit
Thursday, June 13, 2019 Creating Dynamic Exhibitions Now: An Evening with Leaders & Makers
Thursday, April 11, 2019 Reaching Out, Reaching In: Using Community Partnerships for Exhibitions and Programs
Thursday, March 07, 2019 Post CAM 2019 Conference Meetup
Saturday, December 08, 2018 Disaster Preparedness and Response: Caring for Your Museum and Community
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Radical Self-care
Thursday, June 21, 2018 Building on Solid Ground: Community Engagement
Thursday, April 19, 2018 Build It In, Don’t Bolt It On: Beyond the ADA and How Museums Can Lead in the Design for Disability
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Developing Museum Leadership: Getting from Here to There
Thursday, December 14, 2017 Designing for Outrage: Inviting Disruption into Exhibitions
Thursday, November 02, 2017 Tours: Purposes and Privileges
Thursday, June 15, 2017 Do-It-Yourself Evaluation: Confessions of failure, foibles and follies & Ways to deal with them
Tuesday, May 02, 2017 Walking the Talk: Museums Lead the Way on the Path of Social Justice
Thursday, March 16, 2017 Exhibition Development: Thinking Outside the Box
Thursday, January 12, 2017 Cafe Connections: Lessons Learned on New Approaches
Thursday, December 15, 2016 Connections: Year-End Get Together
Saturday, September 10, 2016 Design Thinking Workshop with Dana Mitroff Silvers
Monday, June 13, 2016 The Future of Digital Preservation and Access
Monday, February 22, 2016 Voices from the Community
Thursday, December 03, 2015 Event Full! Do-It-Yourself Evaluation
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Planning for Financial Sustainability
Tuesday, June 09, 2015 Inspiring Science and Math Learning
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Meetup at the Jeremiah O'Brien
Tuesday, February 03, 2015 Distance Learning and Museums
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Distance Learning and Museums
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 Activism, Relevancy, and Community Engagement
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 Maker Spaces
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 A Case Study: the Exploratorium's Global Studios
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Leadership in the 21st Century
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Education Partners
Saturday, January 11, 2014 Board Meeting
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Above and Below

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