Get Ready for the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting

The setup for this year’s virtual conference space is similar to that of our in-person events. The lobby is the entry point for all events during the Annual Meeting. (See Figure 1.) From the lobby you can go to the Auditorium (where the sessions will be held), the Lounges (receptions and other networking events), and the Exhibit Hall. The lobby includes a help desk where you can chat live with OAH staff via type or one-on-one video. When you first arrive in the lobby, you should create your profile. Be as detailed as possible so your fellow attendees can easily identify you because just like at the in-person conference, unless you happen to bump into someone in a shared space, you can often attend an entire conference and miss seeing your friends. Our virtual platform offers the opportunity to search for friends and message them if they are online. Make plans to meet up for coffee at one of the various lounges or booths!

There will be a new welcome video that can be viewed in the lobby for each day of the conference.

The Auditorium

Live and on-demand sessions can be accessed by going to the Auditorium. All sessions (including the live sessions) will be available as recordings until May 13. This year will be the first OAH Annual Meeting where you do not have to make the tough decision about which session to attend when there are two, three, or more great sessions happening at the same time. There are four categories of sessions held in the Auditorium. There will be a selection of live sessions where you can interact with both the session participants and your fellow attendees. Presenters will take questions during live sessions. If your conversations last longer than the 90- minute session slot, move to the Hallway, a lounge designed specifically for this purpose. All workshops will also be presented live via Zoom. Workshops have no additional cost but registration is required because space is limited. Pre-registered attendees can link to the Zoom Room via their registration listing in the OAH User Portal. On-demand sessions can be watched anytime during the conference. Some on-demand sessions will host Q&A sessions in the Discussion Hall (found in the Auditorium) between Friday and Sunday of the conference. The schedule for these discussion sessions is listed in the Annual Meeting Program. The Chat Room Seminars, which have been held in the Exhibit Hall in years’ past, will take place in the Discussion Hall.


Join a group chat or invite a colleague to a one-on-one video chat in one of the networking lounges. The lounges are available throughout the live conference for attendees to gather and network. Scheduled social events will take place in the various rooms. Virtual Tours and other resources links are also located within the lounges. For a complete list of tours and receptions, please refer to your Annual Meeting Program.

The Exhibition Hall

The Exhibition Hall is made up of several sections. Exhibits will include the exhibitor’s links to books and discounts, information, videos, and supplemental material. Each booth will also include the ability to chat live with the exhibit personnel or anyone else in the booth via the chat window or in one-on-one video chat.

You can move through the Exhibit Hall by going from section to section or from booth to booth. If you are looking for someone in particular, use the search bar to see if they are in the Hall.

Special Chat Feature

The virtual conference space will include an area within every room for you to engage with other attendees, session participants, or exhibitors. (Figure 3) The area, located on the lower portion of the screen shown in Figure 3, will be designated for group conversations. You will be able to see who is in the space with you in the side bar and chat to them while in the same room. If you see a friend, you can “whisper” to them and invite them to a one-on-one video call!

We can’t wait to see you in April!