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As visitor experience and engagement professionals, a vital part of our job is to make our guests feel welcomed and wanted. We ensure that our institutions are relevant and that each and every guest understands their value and importance to us. It is in this spirit of welcome and belonging that the 7th annual Visitor Experience Conference focuses on best practices, the sharing of ideas, and working together to build up a museum community that fosters a sense of inclusiveness, engages with new communities, and embraces all of those seeking a space in which they can learn and grow. Join us for VEX18 in San Antonio, Texas this October.

  • Keynote with Suse Anderson

    • Suse Anderson is Assistant Professor, Museum Studies at The George Washington University, and President of MCN (Museum Computer Network). For close to a decade, Anderson’s focus has been on the impact of digital technologies on the museum, topics explored on her blog, and Museopunks–the podcast for the progressive museum (Winner 2014 Best of the Web; presented by AAM). She holds a PhD and BFA from The University of Newcastle, Australia, and a BArts from Charles Sturt University, Australia.

    • The Keynote Session was sponsored by: accesso and Tessitura​

  • Enriching Staff: Engaging Visitors

    • Join MOMA as they provide tools and strategies for utilizing visitor feedback to improve staff performance by way of enrichment, training, and culture development. By understanding the front-line teams are the only staff a visitor will encounter during their visit, and it is on them to make the visitor feel like they belong and the staff invested in the museum

      • Fotini Lane‐ MoMA Visitor Engagement Manager

      • Garrett Smith‐ MoMA Visitor Engagement Manager

      • Elizabeth Coggin -MoMA Visitor Engagement Manager

  • Excuse Our Dust: How to Provide a Great Experience During Construction

    • Join local San Antonio cultural institutions and hear how they handled change and the visitor experience during construction projects. Museums represented are:

      • The DoSeum

      • San Antonio Museum of Art

      • The Witte

  • Culinary Innovation in Museums and Cultural Attractions

    • As we are all aware, yesteryear it was okay to have average (at best food) at high prices.  Expectations are entirely different, and the culinary industry continues to evolve and innovate to meet and exceed expectations of the modern museum visitor This session discusses the rise of hands-on, fresh made, innovative cutting edge food to enhance the visitor experience. Join top chefs in the industry as they talk about the latest trends.

    • Jake Pugh – Service Systems Associates

    • Travis Kight – Chief Executive Chef

  • Technology and the Visitor Experiences

    • Are you interested in using technology to enhance the guest experience and increase your bottom line? Come to this enlightening panel to meet the minds behind ticketing, dynamic pricing, customer feedback analysis, on-site navigation, and more. Learn about a variety of products through demos, Q&A, and breakout opportunities that will provide you with solutions to implement at your organization to make the guest experience the best it can be.

  • A New Hope: Connecting Collections and Creating Community Partnerships

    • Join staff from The Columbus Museum to explore programs that reached new audiences through making creative connections. New acquisitions, exhibitions, or even Pop Culture references has the potential to become the catalyst for new partnerships and programming that will expand your audience reach and appreciation for the stories you tell.

      • Abbie Edens – Director of Education at the Columbus Museum, Georgia

      • Christy Barlow – Academic Programs Manager at the Columbus Museum, Georgia

  • Volunteer: The Power of the People

    • Presentation can be found here.

    • To deliver a better Visitor Experience, to a larger and more diverse audience, it is essential that visitors can see themselves reflected in the people who work inside an institution, be it staff or volunteers. Hear the steps the V&A Museum in London has taken to change certain processes and procedures that may hinder some people applying for roles. Learn about the positive impact it has on their visitors, staff and the volunteers themselves, and how you can make the change too.

      • Lois Honeywill – Head of Visitor Experience, The V&A -London, UK

      • Caterina Lacueva Bisquert – Volunteer Manager, The V&A -London, UK

  • Leveraging Visitor Feedback and Data to Improve Visitor Experience

    • Visitor feedback is central to assessing an institution’s performance, yet turning feedback into actionable steps for tangible improvements is challenging. Drawing from work at the Williams College Museum of Art, participants will learn how implementing institutional improvements based on quantitative and qualitative visitor feedback data can strategies that can be adapted to fit the unique needs of cultural institutions and their public.

      • Hadley DesMeules – Visitor Services Coordinator, Williams College Museum of Art

      • Melissa Prycer – President & Executive Director, Dallas Heritage Village

  • Served: A Mount Vernon accessibility story Is your site accessible and inclusive?

    • Have you been served by the DOJ? We were… Join us in a dynamic discussion that documents the actions taken by George Washington’s Mount Vernon to provide accessible experiences for all guests. This lively session will include presentation, discussion and Q&A.

      • Linda Powell- Director of Interpretation, George Washington’s Mount Vernon

      • Jeremy Ray- Manager of History Interpretation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

  • The Final Takeaway: How the Museum Store Experience Reverberates with Guests After Their Visit

    • The Museum Store is often both the last place a guest goes and where they can make a purchase that reflects their visit. Presented by the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, this session will explore how to enhance the museum store experience through visitor friendly displays, mission-based product selection, and advocacy for its place within the institution.

      • Julia Jordan- Retail Shop Manager, The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

  • Trailblazing an Audience-Centered Visitor Experience at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

    • You Belong Here. Looking within, reaching further, at the National Museum of the American Indian. This session looks at how a holistic, cross-departmental audience-centered approach is driving the museum’s commitment to visitor needs. From goals to actions, visitor voices to staff buy-in, the session offers insights, lessons-learned, and practical suggestions.

      • Sharyl Pahe-Short – Interpretive Services Manager, National Museum of the American Indian

      • Rumana Chaudhuri- Volunteer, National Museum of the American Indian

      • Trish Kyle – Management Analyst, National Museum of the American Indian

  • Interpretation and the Visitor Experience

    • The interpretive material a visitor encounters at a museum can define if they feel welcomed and wanted. Are the wall labels, apps, interactives, and audio guides accessible, inclusive, and interesting? If not, the visitor can be isolated or alienated. An interpretation specialist will share strategies to bridge the gap between interpretation and visitor services staff to make your museum a place for everyone.

      • Margaret Sternbergh- Independent Interpretation Specialist 

  • Post Conference Workshop: Engaging Latino Audiences

    • Salvador Acevedo will lead participants of this workshop through his work with engaging Latino audiences and his study, LatinXPerience. He will work through how “experience” is defined for different audiences and how arts and cultural organizations can meet these definitions. Attendees will learn to implement this work at individual institutions.

    • Salvador has over 20 years of experience helping organizations link their design and market strategies with the many cultures within the US. Being bilingual and bi-cultural gives him the ability to more easily recognize the common-ground bases for successful marketing solutions. For the last few years, Salvador has been working on understanding how the emergence of a new cultural identity is changing the marketplace and influences the type of experiences people seek. Salvador has extensive experience conducting audience and strategy projects for clients such as SFMOMA, WESTAF, SF Symphony, Chrysler, Carhartt, among others .​

  • Post Conference Workshop: Visitor Journey Mapping

    • Join conference favorite Jessica Sharpe, Director of Visitor Operations and Membership at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for a workshop intensive on Visitor Journey Mapping. Cultural institutions can use journey mapping to illuminate the holistic visitor experience. Participants in the workshop will explore ways that this work can help unify an organization, work on a framework for cross-departmental involvement in the visitor experience, understand the stages of the visitor journey, and touch-points with how a visitor interacts with your organization.​

  • Post Conference Workshop: Moving Us to Action: The Inzovu Curve Workshop

    • Join Jason Ulaszek, founder and chief design officer of Inzovu. He’ll bring his expertise in experience design in the for-profit world and show how he used it to help develop a concept for the next generation of museums and memorials through his work at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Through this work learn how he created an experience that spurred visitors to create change. Gain new insights on the characteristics required by these institutions and leverage the Inzovu Curve, an emerging model for thinking that can guide visitors toward a shift in identity, to map and assess the visitor experience of your institution.