OMA 2023 Student Scholarship Blog - Alex Hines

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 2023 OMA Annual Conference, OMA was very proud to offer students seeking careers in the museum field, scholarships to attend OMA 2023 in Newark.

Miss our previous posts? Learn more about the Scholarship series and read our previous entry here.

We're closing out our 2023 Student Scholarship series with an article from Alex Hines. Alex Hines is currently a senior at Ohio University. Alex is majoring in History, and has earned a Certificate in Museum Studies.

 Ohio Museum Association 2023 Conference Scholarship Winner 

My name is Alex Hines, and I am a senior attending Ohio University majoring in History and where I have earned a Certificate in Museum Studies. On the weekend of March 25-27, I had the privilege of being selected to attend the Ohio Museum Association annual conference in Newark, Ohio as a scholarship recipient. The annual OMA conference is a networking and workshop event where emerging museum professionals have the opportunity to meet with professionals in the field and establish connections which are valuable to the development of these emerging professionals as well as key to establishing partnerships between museums and museum-field associated companies. In addition to the conference providing time for these connections to be made, there were also a series of valuable and interesting workshops hosted by talented field professionals as well as tours to some of the local Newark museums.

As a student scholarship recipient, I had the unique perspective of somebody who did not already have many connections to individuals in the museum field, and therefore much of my time at the conference was spent in conversation with these professionals and attempting to make as many networked connections as possible. Through the round-table discussions and group work during workshops, I was introduced to many wonderful individuals who have careers at museums in my particular interest area. With these connections, I received invaluable insight and advice on how to move forward once I graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree and how to get one foot inside the door on the road to my career.

In the workshops, there were many options available which coincided with different professional development and field advancement technologies that attendees could choose from. Among the most striking workshops was how to provide an equal experience to visually impaired museum visitors. The presenters showcased a few different ways of presenting exhibit material to these guests, including some new advancements in braille and audio technology which can provide a much more robust depth of feeling and insight into the object for those who otherwise would not have been able to experience them. Additionally, the use of 3D printed copies of objects which could be used in exhibits to provide a more tactile experience for all visitors was very interesting. From this, I brought back the idea of 3D objects to my college’s Museum Studies class where we used them in our own certificate class exhibit at the Kennedy Museum of Art.

My experiences at the OMA 2023 Annual Conference were invaluable in my development as an emerging museum professional, and I strongly recommend that anybody who is interested in the museum field should consider attending the 2024 OMA conference which will be in Sandusky, Ohio. Even if you are not interested in joining the museum field yourself but still love history, science, art or nature, look on the Ohio Museum Association’s website and you can find a fun and interesting museum near you!

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