Past Conferences

Building Capacity for Evaluation: Individuals, Institutions, the Field
Albuquerque 2014

The informal learning community created a conference program that pushed the field forward by addressing the increasing interest in evaluation and growing demand for evidence. Together, we thought strategically about how to continually build capacity for evaluation, which can happen at many levels, from the development of individual skills, to fostering culture and stakeholder knowledge at the institutional or geographic level, to increasing consistency within the field.

Download the keynote presentation "Museum Evaluation: A Vehicle for Social Betterment" by Dr. Ricardo Millett.

Download a copy of the 2014 abstracts

Link to a copy of the 2014 on-site program

Where Innovation Meets Rigor: Shaping the Next Decade of Visitor Studies

Milwaukee 2013

In Milwaukee we were exposed to the latest trends in visitor research. From data visualization in the visitor context to discussions of new ways to look at individualized learning, the 2013 conference brought together emerging work from the field in an exciting and lively format.

Download a copy of the 2013 on-site program

Download a copy of the 2013 abstracts


Knowing Our Past, Shaping Our Future: What's Next for Visitor Studies?
Raleigh 2012

We had a blast at our Silver Conference Anniversary in Raleigh! We reflected on our past, our achievements, and our vision of the future of visitor studies, cultural institutions, and the informal learning community.

Adobe PDF DocumentDownload a copy of the 2012 on-site program (11mb)

Adobe PDF DocumentDownload a copy of the 2012 abstracts (600kb)


Sustaining a Community of Learners
Chicago 2011

To expand upon this community of learners, VSA's 24th Annual Conference took place concurrently with the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) and the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) annual conference. The joint meeting was a fantastic place where members from the various associations discussed and debated issues, shared experiences, and grew together.

Adobe PDF DocumentDownload a copy of the 2011 on-site program (2mb)

Adobe PDF DocumentDownload a copy of the 2011 abstracts (950kb)


Building Shared Agendas:
Conversations on the Public Value
of Visitor Studies
Phoenix 2010

Identifying and measuring the value of museums for their publics has become one of the most critical issues facing the visitor studies field. What is the essential role that visitor studies can play in achieving a museum's mission? How do visitor studies make a difference in the ways museums operate? What is the value of visitor studies across museum departments and management? The 2010 VSA Conference developed on the conversations of public value from the 2009 Conference.

Adobe PDF DocumentDownload a copy of the 2010 on-site program (6mb)

Adobe PDF DocumentDownload a copy of the 2010 abstracts (659kb)

St. Louis

For what it's Worth: Wrestling with Relevance, Public Value and Impact:
St. Louis 2009

The 2009 conference sparked a number of engaging conversations on how to show and share what we know our organizations mean to communities, how the experiences we create relate to visitor needs, and how a program or an exhibit can bring about a change. With the impressive Gateway Arch as a backdrop, a small but lively group of 150 considered the importance of strategies and methods for defining and measuring public value.

Adobe PDF Document Download a copy of the 2009 on-site program (5mb)

Adobe PDF Document Download a copy of the 2009 abstracts (386kb)


Theory, Practice & Conversations:
Houston 2008

As promised, the 2008 conference was all about meaningful dialogue. There were conversations in the hallways, in the plenaries, at the evening events. And there was dancing and limericks and

lasso-ing, too. More than 200 people from across the US and eight other countries gathered in Houston, Texas to learn about cutting edge research, to share ideas about how to apply what is known about visitors to creating quality visitor experiences, and to discuss big questions.

Adobe PDF Document Download a copy of the 2008 on-site program (52kb)

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