Upcoming Topics

VSA offers opportunities for professionals and students to further hone their skills through webinars, web chats, book clubs, and virtual networking. Virtual learning offerings address a variety of topics in our field and provide helpful resources and strategies relevant to a wide range of practitioners. These offerings provide opportunities for audience engagement, and provide time for participants to ask questions. Members of VSA receive discounted registration to these events, so consider joining!

If you would like to make suggestions for future Professional Development topics, please contact [email protected]. For technical assistance accessing the hangout, please contact [email protected].

** All fee-based web chats will be recorded. Those recordings will be sent out to registered participants after the session (both those who joined live and those who did not). The slide decks and chat messages shared during the live session will not be made available since they should be interpreted within the context of the speakers’ presentations. Participants during the live session do have the ability to save the chat to their devices.

 Upcoming JARFIG (Justice and Anti-Racism Focused Interest Group) Meetings:

Please join us for our monthly, informal conversations focused on the role of evaluation and visitors studies in supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within informal learning institutions, which may or may not have a strong justice or anti-racist stance. These conversations will be free and open to VSA members, non members are welcome to attend at a $5 registration rate.

It was so great to connect with many of you at the VSA Virtual conference (July 13-15) and to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to focus on in the JARFIG as we move forward. Based on your great ideas, we are planning the following for our upcoming meetings (note the new time!):

October 15, 3pm ET

Museum Funding Opportunities from the Institute of Museum and Library Services: 1-Month to Deadline Webchat


IMLS program staff will facilitate this interactive webinar geared to potential applicants for its November 15, 2021 deadline. The session will include an overview of IMLS's six museum grant programs, examples of successful proposals, and tips for submitting competitive proposals. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion about project ideas and the grant application process. We encourage you to see IMLS’s webinars about each specific grant program for detailed information about eligibility requirements, allowable activities and expenses, and application components. Videos, slides, and transcripts are available here:

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff

Museums for America

National Leadership Grants for Museums

Museum Grants African American History and Culture

Native American / Native Hawaiian Museum Services

This event is free to members and non-members.


October 20, 1:30pm ET

CARE Webinar: Psychological Science and the Visitor Experience


When visitors leave a museum, in what ways are they different than when they walked in? What intellectual connections did visitors make with the ideas and artifacts with which they interacted? To what extent were visitors touched emotionally by what they saw, heard, or touched and how intense where their emotional reactions? These are some of the big questions that museums are interested in. However, answering them poses tremendous conceptual and methodological challenges. This webinar will focus on traditional and state-of-the-art concepts and methods of psychological science that museums can use to measure different aspects of the audience experience, especially those that have proven to be most challenging to measure.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Pablo P.L. Tinio is Chair of the Department of Educational Foundations at Montclair State University where he also heads the Creativity and Aesthetics Lab. He holds a Doctorate from the University of Vienna, Department of Psychology, an M.A. in Educational Psychology from Rutgers University, and an M.A. in Behavioral Science from Kean University. Dr. Tinio’s work is focused on the psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts; arts and aesthetics in education; learning and engagement in cultural institutions; and program evaluation and assessment. He has conducted research in, and published scholarly works with, schools as well as museums in the United States and Europe.


October 21 at 4pm ET

Defining Justice and Anti-Racism in Our Visitor Studies and Evaluation Work.


We will explore such questions as: How do you define justice and anti-racism in your evaluation practice? How does this align (or not) with your organization's perspectives? How can evaluators and visitor studies professionals be advocates for social justice and anti-racism and how can VSA better support this work?


November 18, 4pm ET

Moving Beyond “One Off” Programming.


Many museums and cultural institutions mark Indigenous Peoples Day and National Native American Heritage month with special exhibits and programming. How do you evaluate these types of efforts, and how can we use visitor studies to push the paradigm around moving beyond these "one off" celebrations and deepening authentic relationship with Indigenous communities and tribal nations year-round?


December 16, 4pm ET

Planning Ahead for the Justice and Anti-Racism FIG.


Let's create a "wish list" for the JARFIG for 2022! What would we like to accomplish, how would we like to engage, and what would we like to learn together? This will be an open dialogue and emergent discussion with some interactive elements.