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Welcome to the Tennessee Association of Museums


  2020 TAM Annual      Conference     

TAM 2020: Museums in Focus

  March 18-20, Kingsport, TN 



Canceled: TAM 2020 On-site Annual Meeting

Dear Colleagues,

As the TAM board has been hard at work planning the 2020 Tennessee Association of Museums Annual Meeting, we have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 as well as the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the TAM board sent a message to conference attendees with the update that the TAM 2020 Annual Meeting was moving forward as planned based on information available at that time. We also let you know that we created and appointed a separate Task Force to monitor the situation as the information about the epidemic remained fluid and was evolving rapidly, to create a safety and health precaution and preparedness plan for the conference, to recommend changes, and communicate any updates.

After careful deliberation and consideration of the information available as of this time, the TAM Board of Directors have concluded, with regret, that we cannot proceed with the annual meeting in-person next week in Kingsport, Tennessee.

This decision was not made lightly. This decision was made for the health and safety of our attendees, members, exhibitors, and staff.

ยท      All attendees should cancel hotel reservations immediately, directly with your hotel, to avoid possible penalties.

The TAM 2020 Annual Meeting was our 60th Anniversary, and to cancel an on-site gathering to celebrate and commemorate this milestone is a heavy loss. However, our TAM members have always been the lifeblood of the association, and it is your best interest for which the board is responsible. For all of us, TAM has played an important professional and personal role in our lives.

It is important for you to know that this decision carries with it significant financial implications for TAM, including loss of revenue and penalty fees associated with contractual obligations. The TAM board is considering options, including online alternatives. We will also be considering the financial implications of a partial refund policy in the coming weeks. No decisions can be made at this time, and until the full financial impact of this decision is assessed.

We ask for your patience and that you please refrain from contacting TAM during this time period as we work through this emergency period and our response protocol.


TAM 2020: Museums in Focus

Is your museum focused? Do you have your eye on the future or are you still looking to the past?  Have you lost sight of your mission or has your mission lost sight of you? How can revisiting (or developing) your museum’s focus help your organization?

In 2019, the TAM board took time out of our regular work for the association to hold a strategic planning retreat resulting in a new vision, mission, and values for the association. This dedicated time of focus was invaluable for seeing a new future for the organization which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020.

This year’s Tennessee Association of Museums’ conference focus on the things you and your organization are doing (and not doing) to guide the governance, collections, exhibits, and programs at our institutions. The theme is diverse and encourages discussions of success and failures in all areas of museum practice. How can we continue our daily work while striving to move toward a broader vision that includes our community?

From its beginning, our host city of Kingsport was a benefit of careful planning. Margaret Ripley Wolfe writes, “Kingsport was the first economically diversified, professionally planned, and privately financed city in twentieth-century America. . .. Kingsport represents one of the more successful and complex ventures in modern town planning in the United States.”  The city is still keeping their goals in focus with a new vision and master plan instituted in 2017.

The Tri-Cities region surrounding Kingsport is also focused on preserving the history and culture of this important region of Tennessee. Museums including the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Hands On! Regional Museum, International Storytelling Center, and Rocky Mount share pieces of the past with visitors while ensuring the culture of this part of Tennessee (and Virginia) remains vibrant into the future.

The word focus has many definitions. It can mean directed attention or a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding. It can also mean an adjustment for distinct vision. All of these meanings connect to our work as museum employees and volunteers. TAM 2020 will dig deep into what this means to Tennessee museums and how we can use our collective focus to make our museum community stronger as we head into this new decade.

Margaret Ripley Wolfe, “Kingsport,” Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, accessed online 6/17/19.



PO Box 330984   Nashville, TN 37203   (615) 495-3354   tnmuseums@gmail.com

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