May 20, 2016
Oklahoma City to Host Mountain-Plains Museums Association 2016 Conference
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center, a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and other cultural organizations in Oklahoma City will welcome an anticipated 400 members of the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA) for its annual conference October 24–27, 2016.
The theme of the 2016 MPMA conference is “Crossroads of Culture: Many Voices, Many Stories.” The conference will be one of the largest museum conferences ever held in Oklahoma City. More than 400 museum professionals are expected to attend the conference from MPMA’s 10-state membership, making a positive economic impact on the community estimated at more than $608,000. “A lot of people in our organization have never been to Oklahoma. The museum community welcomed us with open arms and urged us to make the city the site of our 2016 conference. We are excited to be able to show off Oklahoma City’s cultural assets and those of the surrounding towns. MPMA members already have told me they are coming early to spend a few days exploring the city and the state,” said MPMA Executive Director Monta Lee Dakin.
The conference will offer workshops in virtually every aspect of museum management including marketing, utilizing resources, technology updates and exhibit design. Anyone in Oklahoma who works, volunteers or is interested in museums and the arts may attend. Businesses that provide services and products to museums, historic sites and art centers will have the opportunity to exhibit at MPMA’s trade show held during the conference. MPMA’s Emerging Museum Professionals program will provide sessions on how an individual new to the field can navigate their way into the profession. An MPMA scholarship program has been established to assist those individuals. This is accomplished through donations and sponsorships from individuals and groups devoted to the advancement of the profession.
The Crowne Plaza Oklahoma City will serve as the conference headquarters, and attendees will be bused to surrounding areas to visit historic and cultural sites. The destinations will be the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Sam Noble Museum, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Overholser Mansion, Oklahoma Territorial Museum, Downtown Guthrie Historic District, Temple of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Heritage Hills, Charles M. Russell Center, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, St. Gregory’s Abbey and Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Oklahoma History Center.
Mason Williams, author, writer, guitarist and composer known for his instrumental “Classical Gas” and as a comedy writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Saturday Night Live and the Roger Miller Show, will be the keynote speaker and will discuss how to push the envelope to affect change in the larger culture.
Kathy Dickson and Dan Provo of the Oklahoma Historical Society are the conference co-chairs. “Hosting the MPMA conference in Oklahoma City is a wonderful opportunity to work collaboratively with cultural organizations across the area and to showcase the exciting cultural and economic development of Oklahoma City and the state. Members of the museum community will share some of the many innovative and creative contributions that cultural and business enterprises are making to the state while also generating substantial new revenue for the state and the community,” said Provo.
The conference is funded by contributions from various local businesses and institutions. The major donors, at this point, are the Chickasaw Nation and the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Additional contributors will soon be announced.
For more information about the conference, sponsorship and exhibiting, or to support the MPMA Emerging Museum Professionals scholarship program, visit the Mountain-Plains Museums Association website at www.mpma.net.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 30 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.