The musedata guide to American Alliance of Museums (AAM) DC 2016

Data is central to power and influence, the theme of this year’s American Alliance of Museums in Washington, D.C. Here are the top presentations about big data and analytics. Angie from Dexibit will be chairing the analytics panel, or drop by our stand at Museum Expo.


  • Analytics Industry Roundtable
    Wednesday 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. (wine tasting to follow)
    Embassy (offsite), RSVP only event (contact Dexibit for details)
    Hosted by Dexibit
    This industry roundtable will discuss the key strategic themes facing the cultural sector and global initiatives to address the data challenges of 2016 and beyond.


  • A Digital Frontier: The Art of Analytics
    Thursday 8:45 a.m – 10 a.m.
    149, Walter E. Washington Convention Center
    Douglas Hegley, Minneapolis Institute of Art; Divya Heffley, Carnegie Museum of Art; Dacia Massengill, National Gallery of Art; Angie Judge, Dexibit; Kai Frazier – Sabo,
    This expert panel looks at the power, influence and responsibility of digital data in the modern museum. Historically, analytics has been an afterthought of many projects, buried deep in systems only accessible to a select few. But what if we used analytics for testing innovation? What if these numbers reflected not only the past, but predicted the future? And what if our entire museum shared a single view by the numbers? Let’s start a conversation on the future of museum management as we become part museum directors, part data scientists with the digital frontier of analytics.


  • The Culturally Responsive Database

    Thursday 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
    146A Walter E. Washington Convention Center

    Terri Anderson, National Museum of African American History and Culture; Emily Houf, National Museum of African American History and Culture; Vickie Stone; Marya McQuirter, National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Databases and online collections typically include standardized categories and fields of entry. While helpful for regulating across the museum field, this approach tends to homogenize “ways of knowing” about collections. In this session, you will learn about ways the cataloging practices of the National Museum of African American History and Culture both deviate from and align with standardization norms. You also will explore the processes in use as the museum strives to build a more culturally responsive database. Then you will have a chance to discuss how database structures privilege certain types of knowledge, and you can help to brainstorm ways to make these structures more inclusive.


  • Mining Your Data!
    Thursday 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
    206 Walter E. Washington Convention Center
    Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum; Karen Plemons, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lynn Dierking, Oregon State University; Jackie Armstrong, Museum of Modern Art
    Collecting, analyzing and reporting on data is often viewed as a long and tedious process, but it doesn’t have to be this way. How often do we collect data and leave the results on the shelf? How often are we even unaware of the information at our fingertips and the possibilities it offers? In this session, you will hear and share how data can drive transformations at our institutions and discuss interfacing new data strategies with existing systems. Using a worksheet designed by the presenters, you will assess what data already exists at your organization and design action plans that challenge you to transform your thinking about how we use what we collect.


  • I’ve Got the Power: Data Will Not Break my Heart
    Thursday 2:45 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    207A Walter E. Washington Convention Center
    Kris Nesbitt, John G. Shedd Aquarium; Elizabeth Kollmann, Museum of Science; Sarah Cohn, Cohn Consulting; Susan Foutz, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
    When it comes to understanding and acting, data is king. It provides you with knowledge of what others are thinking, what is and is not happening, and what others want of you. But is all data equal? Are you sure you are reading the data correctly? What if you make a decision based on data that doesn’t fit? Come realize the power you wield with data, and how to use it to improve your work and institution. Through stories from multiple institutions, you will learn about when and how to deploy different types of studies and how to analyze and use data to make decisions and improvements in different settings.


  • Tech Tutorial: Google Analytics for Everyone
    Friday 8:45am – 10 a.m.
    146B Walter E. Washington Convention Center
    Sara Snyder, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Brian Alpert,
    You’d like to be more rational and data driven in your decision making. You know that your museum has been collecting web traffic metrics using Google Analytics, but you’ve never fully understood what those reports mean for you or your department. How can you use this popular software to find actionable data that helps you do your job better? In this session you will get a practical tutorial, led by two Google Analytics veterans at the Smithsonian, who will provide an overview of the current Google Analytics, including some of its newest, most powerful features. The presenters will also discuss the step-by-step process for moving beyond measurement just for measurement’s sake, using real life museum case studies as examples.