The Ohio Museums Association is committed to connecting and empowering museum professionals at all stages of their career — including our student and emerging museum professionals!
For our 2022 OMA Annual Conference, OMA was very proud to offer students seeking careers in the museum field, scholarships to attend OMA 2022 in Cincinnati.
With their unique experience as students heading into the museum field, we wanted to hear from our scholarship recipients about the OMA conference from their perspective.
Below, scholarship winner Michael Kilmore shares his 2022 conference experience. Mr. Kilmore recently recieved his Bachelor's of Arts in History from the University of Cincinnati in the class of 2022. Michael is also a former intern of the Heritage Village Museum.
As a student, I was hesitant at first to go to the 2022 OMA Annual Conference. I had never attended a professional conference and was not sure that it would benefit me. Initially, networking with established professionals intimidated to me as someone who does not currently work in a museum. Additionally, I thought of professional development as something to focus on after I had entered the job field. However, after attending the conference and reflecting on these topics, I realize how important both are to focus on as a student. I am extremely grateful to have been one of the Ohio Museum Association Student Scholarship winners, because the opportunities at the conference were exceptional for me as a student.
First, the ability to network with museum professionals at the conference is a unique opportunity, especially for students. I know very few museum professionals and have almost no opportunities to connect with others. The conference allowed me to meet professionals from across the state and from various museums. While it was daunting to do this networking, it was valuable. Not only did networking allow me to meet professionals who I will interact with later in my professional career, it also allowed me to learn more about the profession itself. I was able to meet a variety of professionals who all had distinct roles in a number of different settings. From art museum curators to collections managers for larger museums, to being the only employee of a museum, I encountered various professionals who all had different responsibilities and workplaces. Networking with them, I was able to learn more about their museum and how they operated. This knowledge combined with the connection I made is invaluable to me as I think about my future career. I better understand the field and what skills are necessary to succeed.
Second, I am grateful for the professional development I received at the conference. The seminars offered at the conference were exceptional and impactful. I was able to attend sessions on future-proofing museums, museum’s interactions with underrepresented communities, understanding the importance of human connections for museums, and how museums can incorporate technology to their collections. At first, this broad range of topics does not seem applicable to a student who does not work in a museum; however, this information is very applicable to me long term. These discussions allowed me to think critically about what professional skills I was to improve and how I want to impact whatever museum I work at. By learning about these topics now, I can expand my knowledge and improve my professional museum skills before I enter the museum field full time.
After attending an OMA conference, I would encourage any student who is thinking about entering the museum field to attend one. The opportunities to learn, network, and interact with the museum field are remarkable. The conference has impacted me and my professional career for the better. The conference gave me a new sense of excitement and confidence for working in the museum field. I would like to thank OMA for graciously allowing me to attend the conference through the scholarship. I am excited and hopeful to attend many more OMA conferences in the future.