THOMASVILLE – More than 100 museum professionals from all parts of the state – from Cartersville to Valdosta – recently came here for the annual meeting of the Georgia Association of Museums. The topic of this year’s conference was “The Next Norm”.
Participants participated in a variety of sessions and seminars, ranging from the development of educational programs to the development of attractive exhibits to visiting suppliers whose products and services are focused on this area.
The highlight of the week was the annual GAM Awards Lunch. This year, the Artesian Alliance attractions – Chehaw Park and Zoo, Flint RiverQuarium and Thronateeska – along with the Albany Convention and the Bureau of Visitors were presented with education awards for the Southwest Georgia Learning Initiative. The award was presented by GAM President Ephraim Rother and Co-Chairs of the Awards Committee Melissa Swindel and Karin Dalton.
“We are delighted to present this award to a well-deserved recipient,” Rother said. “Our members represent a good section of museums and cultural organizations in Georgian communities, large and small. We are pleased to note institutions, staff, volunteers, philanthropists, exhibits and special projects that have succeeded in providing inspiring programs and leadership. ”
The Education Award is given to an outreach or advocacy program, the main purpose of which is to teach a student or adult audience. This program expands the mission of the organization and demonstrates science and originality, contributing to the cultural and educational fabric of the organization’s community, and is an example of excellence in theory, planning and implementation.
The Southwest Georgia Learning Initiative was a joint project that met an urgent need for education to address the lack of available K-12 training resources during the COVID-19 pandemic and created a permanent digital library of existing K-12 programs. The project was funded by a $ 100,000 grant from the Richard King Melan Foundation and donations in kind.
The Artesian Alliance has created many free virtual lessons for students, teachers and families, and CVB has promoted content through its network. All content has introduced or strengthened Georgia’s standards of excellence and has included social sciences, mathematics, English and the arts in addition to science for a comprehensive approach to learning. Staff have created both synchronous and asynchronous lessons so students can participate in real time or later when convenient.
All content and resources are available for free on the Artesian Alliance website. Targeted programming is also provided to students with special needs through personalized Zoom presentations and touch kits that can be taken home.
“I am honored that Artesian Alliance employees have been recognized for their work in response to the need for virtual learning opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alliance Executive Director Tommy Gregars. “Their efforts, supported by the Melan Foundation of Kazakhstan and our partners, have ensured that students and parents in southwestern Georgia have access to educational content in science and history.”
The Georgia Museums Association is a privately held nonprofit nationwide organization dedicated to promoting the growth and professional development of museums and nonprofit galleries throughout the state. The annual conference is an opportunity for museum professionals, board members, volunteers and supporters to share information and build relationships between museums and galleries across the state. The conference is held every year by a different community.
For more information on the Association of Georgian Museums, visit www.gamg.org.