Next up in our continuing series is a more specialized organization. Don’t worry, we’ll be featuring organizations that cover all the wonderfully specific portions of the museum world as we go along!
So, for those historians out there: the American Association for State and Local History.
The AASLH, as it’s called, “provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans.” That’s a huge mission, and the AASLH really does a great job of addressing its tenets.
Membership is $70 for a basic membership, and $30 for a student membership, but be aware with the student membership that you will only receive the newsletter, not the subscription to the quarterly History News. (You will get online access to History News, though.) Other benefits are the usual ones: reciprocal admission, professional development opportunities, and discounts on publications such as those from AltaMira Press.
Here’s the thing: the professional development opportunities are fantastic. The AASLH goes above and beyond to think of ways in which history and museum professionals need help, and then address them. They have a great series of workshops, both online and onsite. Their Seminar in Historical Administration (an intensive four week program focused on preparing history professionals for leadership and administration) is celebrating its 51st consecutive year in 2011, and counts among its alumni some of the top people in the field. Right now, they’re piloting a new program on project management for history professionals – all paid for if you apply and are accepted. (I’m attending in March in Atlanta, and will be blogging here about the experience, so watch this space!) They also have an intensive mentoring program.
They also have some really interesting programs and national initiatives, among them:
- Visitors Count, which “offers a proven survey instrument and professional data analysis that allows you to make positive changes and gain valuable knowledge to support increased visitation, fundraising, and improved marketing strategies.”
- The Small Museums Committee and Affinity Group
- The Educators and Interpreters Committee
- Resources for the upcoming Civil War Sesquicentennial
- Access to the Heritage Emergency National Task Force
- Resources for Succession Planning (more important than you think!)
- Shall I be a cliche, and say: and so much more!
Spend some time on their website, apply for some of their professional development programs (there are still spots in the project management workshops, which are free AND offer a small travel stipend), and consider becoming a member. Even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself an historian, there’s a lot to like at the AASLH.