IMA Conference 2020 Keynote Speaker

Richard Josey will open the 2020 IMA Conference with a 9:30 a.m. keynote, Monday, October 19. Richard Josey is the Founder and Principal Consultant for Collective Journeys LLC, a consultation and contracting service for museums and historical organizations interested in producing inclusive historical narratives.

Richard spent 20 years building inclusive narratives at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Minnesota Historical Society. Josey began his career in 1985 as a history interpreter portraying African-Virginian experiences in the 17th and 18th centuries, including slavery.

In 2001, he became a manager of interpretive programs and soon after supervised staff and developed programs that cross class, race and gender boundaries. In 2012, Josey became the Manager of Programs at the Minnesota Historical Society. As the Manager of Programs, Josey directed the development of interpretive programs and provided administrative supervision and support for the Society’s network of 26 historic sites and museums. Richard is an alum of the Getty Leadership Institute and the formerly titled Seminar of Historic Administration. He serves on the faculty for the newly titled History Leadership Institute as well as the George Washington Teacher's Institute. He serves on the steering committee of the History Relevance Committee.

Josey's guiding principle speaks to the overall purpose of Collective Journeys LLC - to positively impact efforts to create community transformation and development.

What is the Ship of Theseus?

 What makes something "real" or fundamental to an object's authenticity? 

On Tuesday, October 20, Melissa Porter, Museum Program Manager, Brucemore will pose this question during her presentation for the 2020 IMA Conference entitled:   But What is the Ship of Theseus? And other Preservation Ponderings from a Disrupted Organization.

Explaining her thesis, Melissa said, "There is an old philosophical question inspired by the ship of the ancient Greek warrior, Theseus. If, over the years, the Greek people had kept his ship, replacing each decaying board with a new one, keeping the ship in good repair but replacing original material so that eventually none of the boards Theseus had sailed with remained, is it still his ship?

This is a question that Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site in Cedar Rapids, has considered recently as we embarked on large projects and entered period of change. Yet, throughout this extreme disruption we have looked for ways to maintain those components that are at the heart of the museum experience. This presentation will explore creative solutions to maintaining authenticity during periods of disruption, and invite museum professionals to look critically at the core elements of their organizations to see if we can determine what really makes a ship, Theseus’ ship."


How do museums manage and use their collections?  How do collections engage through exhibits and programming?   What types of partnerships may enhance and extend use of collections? 

During the October IMA Conference we will hear from multiple speakers regarding the management and use of collections.

Bill Kreuger, Assistant Librarian and Curator, Iowa Masonic Library and Museums, will share details of a little-known portion of their collection called The Great War Collection. 

Veronica Guyader, Communications Coordinator and Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams, Executive Director of the TRACES Center for History and Culture, will share how they use artifacts in TRACES' mobile bus-eum.

Kenneth Bé, Ford Conservation Center, will share the basics of conservation and advice on budgeting for ongoing conservation.

Melanie Alexander, Director, Muscatine Art Center and Katy Loos, Program Coordinator, Muscatine Art Center, will share how they paired a local exhibit with a National Endowment for the Humanities exhibition to create an exhibit whose story stretches from the local to the national.

The IMA team will explore the Teaching Iowa History project and the opportunity it provides for all Iowa collecting organizations to enhance accessibility to their collections and the stories they share.

See you at the conference!

Real and the Use of Technology:  Conference sessions provide food for thought

Have you ever wondered whether an interactive (or two?) should be added to your exhibits?  On Monday and Tuesday, October 19 & 20, conference speakers Julia Evans, Edwards Creative and Mark Catton, Catton and Co., will present thought provoking considerations to help you think through this.  Is technology a solution for appealing to certain audiences?  How can technology help your museum tell its unique story and engage with visitors?
Scholarship Recipients Chosen for 2020 Iowa Museum Association Conference

“The Power of Real” October 19-21

The Iowa Museum Association has announced the recipients of two scholarships to attend the 2020 Iowa Museum Association Annual Meeting and Conference, October 19-21.

 Applicants for the scholarship must be first-time attendees of an Iowa Museum Association Annual Meeting and Conference and work as an employee or volunteer at a non-profit art center, museum, botanical garden, arboretum, historic site, zoo or science center located within the state of Iowa. Students enrolled in a degree program involving any of the above fields of study were also eligible to apply.  The scholarship covers the conference registration fee.

The recipients of the 2020 scholarships are Tara Templeman and Julie Martineau. 

Julie Martineau is Museum Coordinator at the Heritage Museum in Burlington, Iowa. The Heritage Museum has been closed to visitors since mid-March.  While the staff have been able to continue to work, the lack of admission fees has impacted their budget significantly.  Julie hopes to broaden her view of the museum industry through attendance at the IMA Conference.

Tara Templeman is the Curator and Collections Manager at the History Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   She has recently moved to Iowa from Colorado, seeking opportunities to engage with other museum professionals and work in an environment that prioritizes community service.

The virtual 2020 Iowa Museum Association conference, The Power of Real, will be held Monday-Wednesday, October 19-21.  The conference will include both live and pre-recorded sessions, social events, student events, an exhibitor’s hall, and video tours of Iowa museums.

The IMA conference is open to anyone interested in the work of Iowa’s museums.  Staff members, trustees, board members, volunteers, and interested students are encouraged to attend.  Participants need not be members of the Iowa Museum Association.  Conference information is available at or by contacting Executive Director Cynthia Sweet at [email protected] or 319-239-2236. 

See you at the conference!


Education is a core mission component of every museum.  During the October IMA Conference we will learn about education and outreach programs from multiple perspectives and types of museums.

Jaycie Vos, Dr. Wendy Miller and Jessica Cruz, University of Northern Iowa, will present on a primary source literacy initiative being developed to engage PK-16 students in the Cedar Valley.  They will share examples of teaching models with a variety of age groups that attendees can implement at their own institutions, and explore the power of integrating real objects into lessons, whether physically in the classroom or online.

Dr. Kimberly Datchuck and Dr. Anna Flaming, University of Iowa, will share how examining real objects with others can be used as a tool to catalyze relationships.  They will share the benefits and challenges of a semester long workshop and offer suggestions for developing similar experiences.

Melanie Alexander and Katy Loos, Muscatine Art Center, will explore the outreach program, "Muscatine and the Civil War" for middle school students.  They will describe the project and discuss lessons learned.

Cindy Hall, Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation, will share resources produced by Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation that are available to museums to assist with ag education programs.

Rachael Mullins and Christina Kastell, Putnam Museum, with guest Michael Guster will explore their process, challenges and opportunities in updating a local history exhibit in order to engage the full community and assure diverse representation and a more inclusive approach.

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum Folk Art School will discuss the role of the Folk Art School in supporting the Vesterheim's mission and education and outreach goals.

Lindsey Marolt, Education Coordinator at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum will discuss “Legacy of the transcontinental railroad,” a two hour gallery program for K-12 students at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. This program asks students to use critical thinking skills to interrogate the history of the transcontinental railroad from multiple perspectives and to use primary sources to draw conclusions about the railroad’s legacy.

Don't reinvent the wheel - this is a great opportunity to learn from peers!


Organizational culture.  Industry trends.  Community needs.  Visitor experiences.  Budget and forecasting.    Community partnerships.  These are only a few of the factors that organizational leaders balance every day.

During the October IMA Conference we will hear thought provoking sessions on a variety of issues related to leadership.

Eric Anderson, Blanden Art Museum, will share his experience making international cultural connections that he has incorporated into an art and culture exchange between Fort Dodge, Iowa and Kosovo.

Emily Ott, Oskaloosa Art Center, and Julia Franklin, Anderson Gallery, Drake University, will present the process and outcomes of a collaborative project that encompassed exhibition, live performance, community partnerships, and ultimately made art the catalyst to address community needs and promote awareness and change.

Nathan Arndt, UNI Museum and Dr. Joshua Sebree, UNI Department of Chemistry will address non-typical museum partnerships and how these can result in unique educational opportunities for museum staff, students, and the general public. 

Dr. Heidi Lung, University of Iowa and President, Iowa Museum Association, will discuss how the field of museums has evolved into one of many “pink-collar” professions and how gender equity issues in museums are amplified in a Covid-19 world.  Informed by the 2019 Gender Equity in Museums Movement white paper “Museums as a Pink-Collar Profession,” Dr. Lung will present strategies museums can employ to address gender equity issues and in turn support all. 

Lyndi Kiple, University of Iowa graduate student (Dr. Heidi Lung, faculty advisor), will present her research findings on Iowa museum salaries.

Rouleen Gartner, LaunchPad Children’s Museum and Kim Kidwell, Family Museum, will will share policies and procedures as well as lessons learned since reopening.  This presentation will cover how their organizations had to adapt to meet safety and community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how their financial planning changed and adapted as well.  This pre-recorded session will have a live follow up for questions and interaction.

See you at the conference!

Awards to be Presented

at 2020 Iowa Museum Association Conference: “The Power of Real” October 19-21

The Iowa Museum Association Rising Star Award is intended to recognize individuals who have worked or volunteered in the Iowa museum field for 3-8 years and have helped their museum broaden its audience through engagement activities. Nominees may be employed or volunteer in an Iowa museum of any type. 

The 2020 Rising Star award recipient is Sheryl Davis, Everly Brothers Childhood Home, Shenandoah, Iowa.

In nominating Sheryl Davis for the Iowa Museum Association Rising Star Award, Shelly Warner, Marketing Director and Event Planner for the Shenandoah Chamber & Industry Association said, "Sheryl Davis brings professional expertise to the Everly Brothers Childhood Home.  Without her input and contributions, I believe the Home would have continued to flounder with little direction. With her help, we have established a mission statement, joined the state museum association, have been far more successful with fundraising and events, and have established an annual Everly Brother Heritage Day Celebration."

Shelly Warner noted Sheryl's work with local historic preservation planning and tourism development, research and documentation, and visitor experience programming among other things. Shelly described Sheryl's important role in helping the Everly Brothers Childhood Home broaden its audience through engagement activities including concerts and events that have brought many fans to the site.

Read more about Sheryl's work here.


2020 New Museum Recognition

The Jane Young House is being recognized as a new Iowa museum.

The Jane Young House is an historic home built in 1873 by Kendall and Jane Young.  For almost 100 years, members of the Webster City Womans Club donated clothing, hats, furniture, and other items to build a collection for the Jane Young House.  In 2018 it was decided to create exhibits and open the house to the public and to school groups.   To create the exhibit space, the electrical system was updated, mini-splits were added to regulate the temperature and humidity of each of the seven exhibit rooms, hard wood floors were refinished, new window coverings were acquired, and dress forms were found.  A marketing plan was developed and the organization joined the Iowa Museum Association.

The Jane Young House opened to the public in February 2019 with exhibits including historic clothing, hats, and furniture.  Costumed docents share educational information about the home’s original occupants, Kendall and Jane Young, as well as the exhibits.

For more information:


2020 Anniversary Recognition

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is being recognized on its 125th anniversary. 

Inspired by the extraordinary art gathered at the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago, community leaders from Cedar Rapids formed an art club in 1895.  Ten years later, when they were offered a specially designed gallery in the new Carnegie Library, the club incorporated as the Cedar Rapids Art Association.  The first painting was acquired for the collection in 1906.  Local artists were often important members, helping arrange exhibitions, lectures, and special events.  Among the most active members in the early 1920s were artists Grant Wood and his close friend Marvin Cone.  Receiving Federal support from 1930 to 1935, the Association also ran the highly regarded Little Gallery, directed by Ed Rowan, who later helped run the Public Works of Art Project.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's mission is to excite, engage, and education through the arts.

To read more: