2023 Conference

Monday, April 17

8:30-9:00, Ramada by Wyndham Columbus Hotel & Conference Center


Stop by the registration desk and pick up your name tag and goody bag. Have a contribution to the silent auction? Don’t forget to drop it off.

9:00am-12:00pm, Ramada by Wyndham

Half-Day Workshop: Wanna Make a Box? An Intro to Rehousing Objects with Jessica Noyd, Hastings Museum

If you work or volunteer in a museum, you know one of the main concerns is preservation – which includes all sorts of things from historic buildings to the objects in your collection or even your own family heirlooms! But have you ever asked “How do I do that?” or “What’s the best way to store this?” We’ll provide answers at this 1/2-day workshop.

During the first part, you will learn the fundamentals of preservation storage, from appropriate materials and why they are used to the different techniques utilized in rehousing. The second part will be a hands-on experience where you will learn how to make a box and different mounting techniques using readily available tools and materials. (Note: materials used will demonstrate different techniques, but not be of museum quality).

12:00pm-1:30pm, on your own


Explore all the great food options available in Columbus. Check your goody bag for a few suggestions!

1:30pm-5:00pm, on your own

Self-Guided Tours

Explore the Platte County Historical Society Museum, a walking tour of Frankfort Square, the Fire Truck Museum, Glur’s Tavern, Higgins Memorial, and Evans House.

6:00pm-8:00pm, Oak Room, Historic Friedhof House

Reception and Dinner

Great good, great company, great atmosphere! The Friedhof Building was built in 1918 as a dry goods retailer. Today, it has been beautifully renovated to accommodate a variety of events. The Oak Room boasts 2 grand staircases, high ceilings, and many lovely dining and lounging options.

Tuesday, April 18

8:00am-9:00am, Ramada by Wyndham Columbus Hotel & Conference Center


Stop by the registration desk and pick up your name tag and goody bag. Have a contribution to the silent auction? Don’t forget to drop it off.


Keynote: The Power and Place of Small Museums: Hard Questions and Conversations with Carla Patterson

Carla Patterson serves as Director of Organizational Development for Mid-America Arts Alliance.  She is a passionate advocate for arts and cultural organizations and their place and power within their communities.  Her background in anthropology anchors her approach in the primacy of place and community.

She co-authored the ENAGE Houston program and served as an organizational coach for the program.  She also worked with Mid-America to deliver the Hands On Experiential Learning Program across Mid-America’s six-state region.

Carla is the author of the Leadership & Community Development Curriculum series for the State of Nebraska, Department of Economic Development, and holds an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

She served as Director of Community and Business Development for the State of Nebraska’s Economic Development Department for several years prior to her work with Mid-America Arts Alliance.

10:30am-11:30am, Session A

History without Meaning is Not Worth Doing: How to Apply Historical Interpretation at Museums and Historic Sites with April White, G.W. Frank Museum

At first mention, Historical Interpretation might seem like a perplexing, and even overwhelming, theory to try and define. Yet, it has grown into an essential component in best practices for researching, understanding, and presenting the past. From this session, you will gain a deeper understanding of Historical Interpretation so you are better able to create and present meaningful historical content and provide lasting impressions for your visitors.

10:30am-11:30am, Session B

Historic Preservation Builds Tourism Opportunities with Kelli Bacon, History Nebraska

Every city, village, and county is eligible to become a Certified Local Government (CLG). Learn how the CLG program can help create heritage tourism opportunities through its grant program and help museums in the area.


Lunch and NMA Business Meeting

Enjoy lunch and roundtable discussions.

1:15pm-2:15pm, Session A

Yes – You too Can be a Creative District with Rachel Morgan of the Nebraska Arts Council and Steven Woerth of the Brownville Creative District

Creative Districts is a new program at the Nebraska Arts Council that utilizes the arts as an economic driver. In this session, you’ll learn how you can celebrate your community’s unique identity and create a place where people want to live, work, and visit! Hear from the Nebraska Arts Council and from one of Nebraska’s first Creative Districts about how this program can work in your community.

1:15pm-2:15pm, Session B

Deaccessioning 101 with Becky Matticks, Stuhr Museum

Museum staff are great at saying yes to donors. Can we take your mother’s wedding dress, sure! Another awesome barb wire collection, why not? Our collections storage areas are bulging at the seams. What can we do? Don’t fret, there are ways to handle the overflow properly and judiciously. Museums have the right to deaccession and dispose of objects from its collection in a manner consistent with professionally accepted standards.

2:30pm-3:30pm, Session A

Documents, Insurance, and Volunteers, Oh My! Issues Facing All Museums with Erin Hauser of Saunders County Historical Society, Margo Prentiss of Cass County Historical Society, and Becci Thomas of Knights Museum and Sandhills Center

All museums are different, but all museums face similar issues. We’ll touch on the following: Keeping track of the needed documents for museums; Insurance responsibilities and current trends; and Attracting new & younger volunteers and keeping the ones you have.

2:30pm-3:30pm, Session B

Are You Prepared? with Cassandra Dean of Gage County Historical Society and Museum

Life can through us curveballs such as loss of job, broken down car, sickness, and death! At times we have to readjust ourselves to deal with these curveballs. This is no exception when it comes to running a museum. You might have a frozen pipe burst and water shooting out all over the place. There might be torrential rains that cause flooding. There might be a train wreck that endangers the water supply. When these curveballs happen, is your museum prepared? This session will go into detail on how to create and put into action a Hazard Mitigation Policy for your museum.


Open Mic



Silent Auction Winners Announced

Also find out where the 2024 NMA Conference and Annual Meeting will be held!

*Schedule subject to change