MSA FORWARD 2020 Executive Focus Program Application

New for MSA FORWARD 2020, the Executive Focus program has been created to allow senior level museum executives to experience the conference with the goal of better understanding the value of the museum store and of MSA membership. Keeping with MSA’s strategic focus on advocacy, the Executive Focus program allows store managers to apply for funds for their senior level management to attend all or a portion of the MSA FORWARD 2020 conference to engage with MSA’s leadership, experience the expo hall, and dive into critical educational sessions.

Who Should Apply: MSA Institution Members (from nonprofit cultural institutions) in good standing who plan to attend MSA FORWARD 2020.

Who Should Be Nominated: Museum senior management including, but not limited to, Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, Board member, and Deputy Directors. Note: To be eligible, the executive or museum senior management must be someone who would not normally attend the MSA conference. Ideally this would be an MSA member’s direct supervisor and/or have a significant say in the store’s yearly budget. Previous MSA conference attendees are not eligible.

What Are the Benefits: Approved applications (up to 5 will be accepted for the 2020 conference), will be given a complimentary full or one-day registration for their executive to attend the conference as well as one complimentary hotel night at the official conference hotel, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. While at MSA FORWARD, the executive will have dedicated time to meet with key MSA leadership to learn more about MSA and MSA FORWARD. Additionally, executives will also experience a docent-led tour of the Expo floor, and have the opportunity to participate in networking events, and attend education sessions.   

When Should I Apply: Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis with final applications due no later than March 4, 2020. If you would like to inquire about the status of your application, please email or call 202-367-1106.

Where Can I Apply?/Where Does the Program Take Place: You can apply online using this form. Please be sure to have your store information, the executive’s resume or a link to their LinkedIn page, and a short explanation of how this experience would benefit your institution.

The MSA FORWARD 2020 Annual Retail Conference and Expo is taking place at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, OH April 23 – 27, 2020. More details can be found on our conference webpages.

Why Should I Apply: This is a unique opportunity to immerse your museum’s executive leadership into the MSA community. While at MSA FORWARD, they have the opportunity to not only learn more about the value of museum stores and of MSA membership, but also to also gain additional perspective about the opportunities and challenges museum stores face. The Executive Focus program will allow you to have dedicated time with your executive to focus on this critical part of your institution.

How Are Applications Selected: The MSA Conference Committee will review applications on a monthly basis up through the submission deadline, and will determine which executives will be selected for the program. Applications will be judged on completeness, clarity, and the impact this program will have on the institution (based on the responses provided in the application by the applicant). All applicants will receive written notification of their submission and of their selection or non-selection. Selected applicants will then receive further instructions on how to claim the registration and housing benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can this program be used for developing talent within the museum store?

This program is intended for museum executives who would not normally attend MSA FORWARD and are not day-to-day employees of the store.

What costs are covered if the application is approved?

A member full conference or single-day registration (based on the executive’s availability and schedule) fee is included with acceptance. To learn more about what is included in a conference registration, please visit our website. MSA will also cover up to (1) night’s stay at the conference’s headquarters hotel, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

What costs are not covered if the application is approved?

Transportation to/from Cleveland and to/from the Hilton Cleveland Downton are not covered by this program. Any food and beverage not offered to full conference attendees will not be reimbursed. To learn more about what is included in a conference registration, please visit our website.  The Executive Focus program only covers registration and housing for the executive; the hosting MSA member is responsible for their own registration fees and housing costs.

When will I find out if my application was selected?

All applicants will be informed of their selection or non-selection by 3/31/2020.

Can I apply if I am not an MSA member?

Only MSA members in good standing are eligible to apply. To learn more about becoming an MSA member, please visit our website, or email us at

Are there any requirements of those selected to participate in the program?

Participants, both the MSA member and the nominated executive, shall be expected to attend the conference and engage throughout, including networking events, educational sessions, and the expo floor. After the conference, both parties will be asked to write a short statement (250 words) and complete a survey on their experience to help MSA develop this program further for future years. The MSA member will also be asked to write a blog post or article for Museum Store magazine about the experience.