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NJAM Annual Meeting - #PandemicReflections: How did you "re" in 2020?

  • June 14, 2021
  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Virtual Meeting


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NJAM Annual Meeting and Program 

June 14, 2021 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

#PandemicReflections: How did you "re" in 2020?

Join NJAM for its Annual Meeting and hear examples of re-envisioning audience, re- imagining programming, and reinventing yourself. Each of the presenters will briefly share their #PandemicReflection, then participants can pop into breakout rooms with presenters to ask questions and get more details. As we look back on the past year, we hope these stories will provide inspiration moving forward for your “re.” 

List of Presenters:

Lynne Calamia, PhD, Executive Director, Roebling Museum (NJ)

Alli Hartley-Kong, Playwright and Digital Strategist (NJ)

Emily Kraft, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Seward House Museum (NY)

Jessica Nuñez, Manager of Youth Programs and Darryl Dwayne Walker, Coordinator of Community Engagement, The Newark Museum of Art (NJ)

Presentation Descriptions and Speaker Bio Bios:

“Being Good Neighbors: Community-led Programming During a Pandemic”     

Presented by Lynne Calamia, PhD, Executive Director, Roebling Museum                                                                                                                              

Imagine beginning a new job as Executive Director two weeks before a global pandemic shut the world down! Working quickly (and with a negative ZERO budget) we threw out all of our usual programs and started from scratch resulting in pay-what-you-wish pandemic programming that made our closest neighbors the target audience.  Roebling Museum learned a lot during 2020 and the lessons will stay with us as we make our way towards recovery in the post-pandemic landscape.

Lynne Calamia is a public historian dedicated to building bridges from the past to the present at historic sites and museums. In her role as Executive Director, Lynne has led small museums to greater organizational stability through strategic visioning, community building, and targeted fundraising. Lynne holds a PhD from Penn State University where she focused on historic preservation and museum studies. In addition, she serves as an appointed member of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Board.

“Voices from the 2020 Layoffs: Resilience in Reinvention”

Presented by Alli Hartley-Kong,Playwright & Digital Strategist 

What would you do if you no longer worked in a museum? Like many museum workers who were laid off in 2020, Alli Hartley-Kong reinvented her career and personal mission. Alli’s talk is a love letter, not a break-up message, to museums, detailing the success she’s found as a freelance writer and social media strategist in life after—and sometimes with—museums. 

Alli Hartley-Kong is a museum educator, content strategist, playwright, and freelance writer based in northern New Jersey. She worked for the Smithsonian and local park agencies, such as the Morris County Park Commission. Her plays have been produced by national and international theatres, and she has contributed to Smithsonian Magazine and Hyperallergic. She currently writes digital strategies for museums and other learning nonprofits serving as a strategist for 1909 DIGITAL, an agency that helps digital work better for the people who work in digital. You can find out more of what she's up to and read her plays at

“Developing Stronger Ties with the Community: The Case of the Newark Museum of Art”

Presented by Jessica Nuñez, Manager of Youth Programs, and Darryl Dwayne Walker, Coordinator of Community Engagement, The Newark Museum of Art

The Newark community was deeply affected by the pandemic and the social justice issues that came to the forefront in 2020. According to the latest census, over 50% of Newark’s residents identify as Black or African American, a contingent of the population that has been disproportionately affected by these issues. This presentation will discuss how the Museum responded to these challenges in the last 15 months by becoming a more community-driven organization. This was achieved by creating programs that informs our stance on social issues directly impacting the people around us, by creating an advisory committee to help develop and promote innovative programming centered around our community and by building partnerships with local organizations and artists.

Jessica Nuñez is the Manager of Youth Programs at The Newark Museum of Art. She is responsible for cultivating community partners and activating the surrounding neighborhoods to grow the Explorers Program and Camp NMOA. As an alumna of the Explorers Program, her priority is to expand and develop an exciting curriculum focused on college and career readiness for youth in Newark and the surrounding communities. Passionate about Museum Education, Ms. Nuñez has focused on K-12 programming for over 14 years. Before rejoining The Newark Museum of Art, she developed Family Programming for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  

Darryl Dwayne Walker is the Coordinator of Community Engagement at the Newark Museum of Art. Before joining the staff at the NMOA he worked in the television and performing arts world while working as an educator at Hampton University specializing in dance. Darryl started with the NMOA in 2012 as a contracted Performing Arts Museum Educator.  His passion for the arts and the community he serves became apparent, and eventually he would join the NMOA team as a full-time Museum Educator for Preforming Arts only to later elevate to the position of Coordinator of Community Engagement. His heart and drive for creating equity and his desire to bridge communities through the arts continues to best serve him in his current role. 

"How to Pivot in a Crisis: A New Way to Enjoy the Seward House Museum"

Presented by Emily Kraft, Director of Collections & Exhibitions, Seward House Museum

The Seward House Museum (SHM) quickly pivoted as the shutdown occurred in March 2020. Before the pandemic, the SHM maintained a very active social media presence but had never given many virtual tours, lectures, or even had staff work remotely. To remain relevant to our local and national audiences, we needed to completely "re" imagine and "re" invent how we could reach them digitally and still keep them engaged with our institution.

Emily Kraft is the Director of Collections & Exhibitions at the Seward House Museum in Auburn, NY. At the Museum she was previously the Administrative and Visitor Engagement Coordinator and a 2018 summer intern while in graduate school. She is thrilled to have been with the Museum for three years and is finally in her dream role as the collections manager. Her passion for history and museums brought her to Syracuse to pursue a graduate degree in museum studies from Syracuse University. It is an honor and privilege she is able to oversee and maintain an almost completely authentic collection comprising four generations of family history. While working at a mid-sized historic house museum with a small staff, Emily truly understands what it means to "wear many hats." 

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