2020 Conference Schedule of Events


MARCH 29-30, 2020

Small Town, Big Impact

Conference Hotel:
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Rocky Mount, 651 Winstead Avenue


Saturday, March 28th

  • Golf Outing

9:00AM - 1:00PM

Belmont Lake Golf Club, 201 Belmont Club Way

Includes 18 holes of golf, breakfast before play, and lunch following play.

Cost: $45

  • Conference Registration

12:00PM - 3:00PM

DoubleTree Hotel, 651 Winstead Avenue

  • Farmville Day Trip

1:00PM - 5:00 PM

A day trip just outside of Rocky Mount to: the GlasStation and Duck Rabbit Brewery.

Cost: FREE

Capacity: 20 max

  • NCMC Board Meeting 

1:00PM - 4:00 PM

DoubleTree Hotel, 651 Winstead Avenue

  • Beer Tasting 

5:00PM - 7:00PM

Rocky Mount Mills, 1151 Falls Road

Gather at the breweries of Rocky Mount Mill for a free tasting of craft and locally brewed beer! Stay on the Rocky Mount Mills campus following your tasting for dinner at Tap 1918.

Cost: FREE

  • Wine Tasting 

5:00PM - 7:00PM

Bin & Barrel, 301 S Church St #146

Gather at Bin & Barrel in Station Square for a free tasting of fine wines! Following the tasting, we recommend that participants head to Rocky Mount Mills campus for dinner at Tap 1918.

Cost: FREE

Sunday, March 29th

  • Downtown Rocky Mount History & Architecture Bus Tour w/ Peter Varney

9:00AM -12:00PM 

Bus will pick you up from DoubleTree Hotel (651 Winstead Avenue) at 8:45AM

This bus tour will take participants through Downtown Rocky Mount to discuss the architecture and history of the downtown corridor. Bus tour may contain stops and some walking. Tour guide is Peter Varney, former Assistant City Manager, and local historian. 

Cost: FREE

Capacity: 25 max

  • Country Doctor Museum & Dan Finch Pottery

9:00AM - 11:00AM

Bus will pick you up from DoubleTree Hotel (651 Winstead Avenue) at 8:30AM

Tour begins with a guided tour through the Country Doctor Museum. The Country Doctor Museum is the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of America’s rural health care. Following this tour, participants will visit local potter Dan Finch’s clay studio. Not only is Dan a potter, but he also teaches pottery in his studio and he runs a blueberry farm on his property! 

Cost: FREE

Capacity: 25 max

  • Behind the Scenes @ the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences

10:00AM-12:00PM & 2:00PM-4:00PM

Tour will begin with a brief history of the building. Participants will visit the Children’s Museum & Science Center’s planetarium and see behind the scenes of our live animal exhibits. Concluding the tour, participants will come to the Arts Center to get a behind the scenes look at the partnership and photography of the Black Light Project photography exhibit, which features 13 portraits of local Rocky Mount men. Participants will be free to enjoy the Children’s Museum & Science Center and the Arts Center at the leisure following the tour.

Cost: FREE

  • WORKSHOP - Grant-writing for Cultural Institutions

Presented by Caitlin Stanley

12:00pm - 1:30pm

Imperial Centre’s Black Box (Education Building),  270 Gay St

A dedicated cultural funder in North Carolina for over 45 years, the North Carolina Humanities Council is pleased to present this grant-writing workshop. Participants will learn the fundamentals of writing a competitive grant proposal in the cultural sector as well as perspectives on how reviewers approach the evaluation of proposals and letters of interest/intent (LOIs). Participants will also learn about current funding opportunities offered by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Cost: FREE

Capacity: 25 max

  • Stonewall Manor & Rocky Mount Mills History Tour

1:00PM -3:00PM

Tour will begin at Stonewall Manor (1331 Stone Wall Lane, Rocky Mount, NC 27804) In its prime, Stonewall was the center of a large antebellum plantation.  Its scale and sophistication of design make it one of the truly elegant plantation houses in North Carolina.The house was built on the banks of the Tar River circa 1830 by Bennett Bunn. The tour continues at Rocky Mount Mills. Established in 1818, Rocky Mount Mills is believed to be the second oldest cotton mill in the state, and was the longest in operation until closing at the end of the twentieth century. Participants are encouraged to stay on campus following the tour to try one of the seven breweries or one of the three restaurants. 

Cost: FREE

Capacity: 25 max

  • Game Day 

1:00PM - 6:00PM 

Rocky Mount Event Center,  285 NE Main St

Visit the Rocky Mount Event Center’s arcade, rock climbing wall, and ropes course anytime between 1:00 and 6:00pm. Located at 285 NE Main St, Rocky Mount, NC 27801. A pre-paid card is included in your registration packet. You may refill your card on site as needed. The Event Center also serves food and beverages. Pre-paid game card included with registration packet.

Cost: FREE


presented by Ann Ackerson and Joan Baldwin

2:00pm - 5:00pm

Rocky Mount Mills Powerhouse (River Overlook), 1151 Falls Road

Cost: $60

Capacity: 50 max

  • Opening Reception & Awards Presentation @ Rocky Mount Mills Powerhouse

6:00PM - 8:00PM

Refreshments included. One drink ticket included with registration. Participants may buy additional on their own. 

Cost: FREE

  • Section Networking Event @ Rocky Mount Mills Powerhouse

8:30PM - 10:00PM

Beer tastings and available for purchase. Networking activity presented by Alexander Brooks and Alexandra Olivares.

Cost: FREE

Monday, March 30th

All Monday conference events to be hosted at the Rocky Mount Event Center, 285 NE Main Street


7:30am - 12pm 


8:00am - 9:00am  



Concurrent Sessions

  • Talking Raleigh to Rural

Presented by Mary Kelley and Bill Holmes

9:15am - 10:00am 

Conference Room 1 

Hometown Strong is the Governor's initiative that offers a more personal and hands-on approach for state government's reaction to the needs of North Carolina's rural communities. Hometown Strong creates a partnership between state agencies and local leaders to champion rural communities. The effort leverages state and local resources, identifies ongoing projects and community needs, and implements focused plans to boost the economy, improve infrastructure and strengthen North Carolina's hometowns. Come hear how museums can fill a critical role and draw on state resources through this economic and community development initiative.

  • Packing, Storing, and Transporting Collections

Presented by Christian Edwards and Mary Hauser

9:15am - 10:00am 

Conference Room 2 

For most museums, the bulk of our artifacts and objects are stored out of sight of our visitor and day-to-day operations. This presentation will examine the different factors professionals need to consider before packing, storing, and transporting artifacts and collections objects. What materials will best protect certain artifacts? How do you decide the best type of storage for your collection type and specific circumstance? What goes into space planning for a collections storage area? What types of transport are appropriate for various kinds of materials and situations? What compromises can be made to meet budgetary limitations without sacrificing artifact and employee safety? Session attendees will leave with knowledge of available resources and materials and the skills needed to make informed decisions about caring for collections on the move..

  • Small Changes, Big Impact: Mental Wellness and the Visitor Experience

Presented by Susan Ward, MA, MS, LPC

9:15am - 10:00am 

Conference Room 3

Museums provide educational, enlightening, intriguing visitor experiences. With some re-thinking and small adjustments, museums can also enhance the mental wellness of their visitors. Inspiration, calmness, creativity, curiosity, and a sense of accomplishment are practices that can bolster mental wellness. Museums with beautiful gardens might emphasize the mental wellness aspects of inspiration and calmness in their marketing materials. Or, a museum might collaborate with a local mental health facility to develop a program that uses the museum's collections to build visitors' mental wellness through curiosity, creativity, and a sense of accomplishment. This thought-provoking session will use role-play, stories, and brainstorming to discuss the components of mental wellness. Examples of what museums in other countries are doing with regards to mental health issues will be shared. Attendees will walk out with practical ideas of how museums of all sizes can help visitors increase the positive aspects of mental wellness, all while continuing to improve their visitor experience.


10:00am - 11:00am  

Concurrent Sessions

  • Small Town, Big History: How to Conduct Successful Scanning Days to Enrich Your Community’s Story

Presented by Lisa Gregory and David Gwynn

11:00am - 12:30pm 

Conference Room 1 

Many cultural heritage institutions are interested in conducting Community Scanning Days – events where members of the community bring in materials to be scanned – as a way of connecting with local residents and sharing community memory. These events can be a lot more challenging than plugging in a scanner and asking people to come by! This workshop will share recommendations for workflows and equipment, tips for how to set yourself up for success, and suggestions for storing scans and making them accessible to your audience afterward.

Participants will come away with (1) a suggested staffing and equipment list, (2) techniques for collecting metadata, (3) permission and donation templates, and (4) tips for before and after the event.

  • What You Didn’t Learn in School: How to Create and Manage and Successful Volunteer Program

Presented by Rachel Kennedy, Crystal Williams, and Kathy Gleditsch

11:00am - 12:30pm 

Conference Room 2 

Every museum relies on a volunteer force to some extent; at least 90% of museum professionals have worked as a volunteer or intern in their life. So why don’t we talk about ways to improve our volunteer programs more often? This workshop is a jumpstart lesson on how to create and manage a successful and engaging volunteer program. We’ll focus on recruiting, training, evaluating, and retaining diverse volunteers. Bring paper or a laptop; leave with FREE resources and ideas to create or refresh your current volunteer program.

  • Small Steps, Big Topic: Introducing Equity and Inclusion into the Institution

Presented by Alexander Brooks, Alexandra Olivares, Nancy Fields, and Adrienne Nirde

11:00am - 12:30pm 

Conference Room 3 

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion (DEAI) continue to be hot button topics these days, particularly in the museum field. How should institutions apply these topics in respects to their employees, their volunteers, their exhibits and programming and their audiences? With so many different things to consider and polarizing elements, the whole concept can be daunting, particularly to institutions without substantial resources to devote to the issues. In this session, speakers from three very different museums will examine their own institution’s handling and experiences of DEAI and discuss the roles of museums as effective conduits of community discussion and places of acceptance in a world that, at times, isn’t so accepting.

This session will begin with an informal round-table discussion by the speakers and will break out into smaller, moderated groups to explore ways in which institutions can begin to implement DEAI practices, celebrating race, age, disability, sexuality and gender in all aspects of the institution without breaking the bank or causing staff burnout.

  • Sink or SWIM: Student Work That Impacts Museums

Coordinated by Pam Meister and Annmarie Reiley-Kay

11:00am - 12:30pm 

Conference Room 4 

University students throughout our state are engaged in challenging and important work in North Carolina museums. They are doing research, producing exhibits, conducting oral history interviews, creating content for websites, and developing public programs. NCMC can recognize and reward excellence in museum work done by students by sponsoring a juried competition in which students may submit proposals to share their work through short presentations as part of a program session, or through a poster session held in a display area at the conference.

Modeled on the Southeastern Museums Conference's successful Student Work in Museums program, session organizers Pam Meister and Annmarie Reilly-Kay will work with NCMC's program committee to tailor the session to fit the spaces and time frame for NCMC's 2020 conference. If accepted, we will create a Call for Students Proposals, recruit a committee of museum professionals to jury student submissions, and organize the actual program and/or poster session. Pam started SEMC's SWIM program in 2011, and in 2019 the program received proposals from individuals and groups of students from 16 colleges and universities throughout the southeast. Feedback from past program participants indicate that it has made a positive impact on their early careers, and feedback from program attendees is that this session consistently features fresh ideas and new insights in our constantly evolving profession,


12:30pm - 2:00pm 


2:00pm - 2:45pm 

  • Art Section Meeting

Presented by Alexandra Olivares

Conference Room 1

Interested in building evaluation capacity? Join the Art Section Meeting!  This session will help participants explore different approaches to build a culture of evaluation, followed by an audience discussion to explore other organization’s strategies, concerns and topics

  • Children’s Section Meeting

Conference Room 2

  • History Section Meeting

Conference Room 3

  • Science Section Meeting

Conference Room 2

Concurrent Sessions

  • Inventorying: The Planning, the Process, and the Recovery

Presented by Corinne Midgett and Ainsley Powell

3:00pm - 3:45pm 

Conference Room 1 

Conducting an inventory is can be daunting task making an institution put it on the back burner again and again. This session will explain and show how to plan your workflow, carry out, and reconcile your collections storage and exhibit spaces in a way that will be clear to even non-collection staff. Additionally, institutions that have never done a full inventory and the lack of records from previous inventories will be covered. Example work sheets and handouts will be available during and after the session.

Reflecting on challenges and achievements throughout the Museum’s renovation was an important part of the journey into a renewed and expanded space. Sharing insights during this panel discussion should prove valuable to all Museums in transition–no matter how large or small the undertaking.

  • Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: Free Digital Technology for Museums

Presented by Karktik Ramkumar

3:00pm - 3:45pm 

Conference Room 2 

Museums are storytellers, yet in today’s world, visitors expect them to be technology companies as well. How can museums meet these expectations when the investment of time and money is quite onerous? Open to all museum professionals, this session will explain why digital content is important for cultural organizations and how museums achieve great results with free and simple tools.

We will discuss real examples of museums that formed a deeper engagement with visitors through content created on the VAMONDE platform. At the end of the session, you will have the chance to see the tools in action.

  • The Art of Scrum! Applying Silicon Valley’s Favorite Management Framework to Small Museums with Big Potential

Presented by Alexandrea Pizza and Ashley McCallister

3:00pm - 3:45pm 

Conference Room 3 

Discover how small museums with limited resources can create positive work environments, retain talent, eliminate burnout, and create a lasting impact in their communities. In this session, presenters will walk through “scrum”, a management framework grounded in flexibility and continuous learning that enables teams to break down big projects into manageable workflow. Presenters will walk through a day in the life of a creative start-up, showing how scrum is used to motivate teams, and will give practical and no-cost examples that one small museum utilized to increase communication and develop better programs and exhibits.

  • Use Your Resources! Iredell Museums, FOCoS, and Community Connections

Presented by Emily Baker, Haylee Reid, Christian Edwards, and Edith Brady

3:00pm - 3:45pm 

Conference Room 4

Like most museums, Iredell Museums exists to serve its local community as a center for culture, heritage, science, and arts, however, there are challenges that include financial instability, long term planning, and defining the purpose and mission of the museum itself. These challenges hinder the ability to flourish and fully provide Iredell County with all that the museum has to offer. In search of ways to address a plethora of standard non-profit challenges we discovered the Free Onsite Consultation Services offered by NCMC and we were chosen to have two museum consultants, NCMC board members Edith Bradley and Christian Edwards, to visit, evaluate, encourage, inspire, and provide approaches to address our most pressing needs and help us form a plan of action so that we can better serve our community. Our presentation details the implementation of our consultation and progress using the tools provided to us and how and why small museums should take advantage of this invaluable resource. We hope to serve as a model for other museums that want to increase their visibility and value to their community, but might not know how to initiate the process. In this session we will share how FOCoS helps institutions build the foundation to make big impacts in their communities. Come learn about the operations underway thanks to the FOCoS program!

The North Carolina Museums Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
PO Box 2603, Raleigh, NC 27602-2603
Copyright 2018 - present.

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