You can’t change your organization’s name on its homepage and expect people not to notice.
If you surf over right now to the URL of the website that was formerly the homepage of the American Association of Museums, you will see this:
The president, Ford Bell, is still the same.
Already, a few commenters on AAM’s Facebook and Twitter pages are wondering “what the heck is this all about?”, why this change in identity to “American Alliance of Museums” wasn’t made in consultation with AAM’s membership, and why there’s been no formal announcement. One perplexed AAMer thought the dramatically transformed website might have been commandeered by hackers!
So what exactly IS going on with the premier association for U.S. museums of all stripes (not just art museums)? Is this just some marketing genius’ dubious rebranding gambit, or are substantive changes afoot?
“There are lots of exciting things we’ll be unveiling on Sept. 5,” AAM promised on Twitter, in response to a query by Mark Schlemmer, assistant registrar for collections at the Guggenheim Museum.
In response to my own e-mailed query, Dewey Blanton (reassuringly still AAM’s director of strategic communications) replied, “All will be unveiled Sept. 5. You’ll receive the full details then.”
We can hardly wait. Since the online cat is already out of the bag, inquiring museum professionals and CultureGrrl would like to know a bit more.