40th Annual SMA Conference

Telling Tough Stories

40th Annual SMA Conference banner

The stories that museums tell aren't always cut and dry. History museums have to confront contentious and politically divisive topics. Science and technology museums must explain complex concepts in layman's terms. What are the best ways to approach tough stories? And how can we do so clearly, concisely, and fairly?

The annual SMA conference attracts more than 300 museum professionals, board members, and volunteers from a wide variety of small museums. They attend sessions on topics ranging from collections and education to staffing and board issues. We offer a large Museum Resource Hall and plenty of informal networking opportunities for you to talk with (and get ideas from!) other small museum professionals and volunteers.

Learn more at the SMA website.


Tuesday, February 20, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Moving Forward: Cultural Stewardship Succession Planning - An Update

Sometimes the tough stories museums tell are internal - staff transitions, whether unexpected or planned, can be stressful due to knowledge transfer demands and lack of time for thoughtful attention. In 2023, members of the Small Museum Association participated in a listening session supporting the Collections Stewardship Succession Planning Initiative, a joint effort by the Conservation Center and Lyrasis, funded by a Museum Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum & Library Services. Join us again for an update on the project findings and a preview of forthcoming resources.


  • Michelle Eisenberg, Executive Director, Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts
  • Tom Clareson, Project Director, Lyrasis

Session Details


Event Location
The Omni Richmond Hotel
Richmond, VA
Date Time