Thousands of museum professionals gather in Washington for Museum Week DC

WASHINGTON – Long cheered as being a museum town, D.C. becomes a museum paradise this weekend for the thousands of museum professionals from around the world attending the annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums.

About 6,000 participants are expected for the four-day event, the largest gathering of museum officials in the world. This year’s theme is “Power, Influence and Responsibility,” a perfect match for the capital city. Attendees come from 50 countries to discuss industry practices as well as such big-picture issues as accessibility, race and social change.

More than 180 sessions are scheduled at the convention center Thursday through Sunday, with a host of social events and mini-seminars dotting the city. Tours, talks and other events in the many D.C. museums are part of the larger Museum Week DC schedule.

Featured speakers at the conference include Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton, who will participate in a Q&A with Smithsonian trustee and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein and TV host Mo Rocco on Sunday morning. Robert M. Edsel, author of “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” and museum founder and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader will be in the spotlight on Friday.

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Washington is definitely part of the attraction for conference-goers, organizers said. Attendance for the 2016 annual meeting jumped almost 40 percent from last year’s conference in Atlanta, which drew about 4,300 attendees.