If you read this blog, are friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been running a contest to win a free registration (worth to non-members $205) to the 2010 Museums in Conversation conference, in Albany, NY, in April, a joint effort of the Museum Association of New York and the Upstate History Alliance. I invited you to submit a 150 word or LESS description of any kind of museum conversation--betweeen visitors, staff, board, volunteers--a real or imagined--conversation about anything.
Like many of you, I spend lots of time in museums--and as those who know me in person know I love to spend lots of time talking--but I also love to spend time listening, so I thought this was a great way for museum colleagues to reflect on their work in a way that really was about engaging with others, not just saying, "I love museums because...."
Imagine my astonishment when I only received a small number of entries. I know many people knew about the opportunity--thanks to UHA and MANY, who regularly promoted on their Facebook pages and lists, and to those--including Bob Beatty at AASLH who retweeted it. I know more than 500 New Yorkers took a look at my blog during the time the contest was running.
A special thanks to those who took the time to enter--stay tuned and we'll announce a winner soon.
So, what's the deal? I want to hear from you, my readers about why so few entries. Tell me why you didn't enter, or if you're from somewhere else, I'd love to hear your speculations about why so I can learn. Nina Simon has written thoughtfully about framing the right questions for visitor participation--and perhaps my question just wasn't framed in the right way.
Here's some possibilities:
- Question framed in the wrong way? How could it be better?
- Too hard a question requiring thought?
- Too long to write?
- Too busy?
- Have enough money and don't need funding to attend conferences? Really--we'd all love to meet you!
- Not interested in professional development?
- Never listen to museum conversations?