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AASLH Call for Proposals

The American Association for State and Local History has issued a call for proposals for its 2013 Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, and they’ve got a really terrific theme. Here’s what they have to say:

Birmingham is a city which has reoriented its history, inspiring international human rights movements. It is the perfect place to think & talk about how stories of ordinary people and extraordinary change inspire and inform us, our publics, and our programs and outreach.

Focusing on the famous names of history neglects the unnamed people who insisted on their rights, worked together, and who were anything but ordinary in their courage and resolve. Founded in 1871 as a transportation and industrial center of the New South, Birmingham was nicknamed the “Magic City” for its fast growth. And it was the center of a movement that caught the attention of the world and led to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Birmingham Pledge to eliminate prejudice. The 1963 Birmingham Summer transformed the city and changed the United States.

Session and Workshop proposals are now being accepted.

Fifty years after hundreds of young people stood solid for freedom. Fifty years after King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” articulated principles of nonviolence. Fifty years later we ask: If history is the example, the provocateur, and the context—how do we best use it today? How do you incorporate stories of ordinary people’s extraordinary lives in your institution? How can we build programs that deal directly with issues, making history interesting, relevant, useful, and human? What interesting and unusual techniques do you use to fulfill your organization’s mission? What kinds of program ideas are you trying out that are a little different than what you’ve always done? How do you encourage active involvement from your public? What have you tried that hasn’t been as successful as you want? How do you take the history your organization uses and connect it to people’s lives?  How is change reflected in your institution’s programs? What ideas and examples are there in local history that can inspire us?

Visit the 2013 AASLH Annual Meeting website for more information and to download a session proposal with instructions.

Proposals for sessions or workshops for the 2013 Annual Meeting must be submitted on a Call for Proposals form. You may submit the form via email, fax, or mail.

Deadline: November 16, 2012

More on AASLH’s Museum Education Workshop

We already mentioned that there’s going to be a terrific AASLH workshop in Boston in March; here are some more details to tempt you to sign up.

The registration for AASLH’s Museum Education 101 workshop scheduled for March 15-16 in Boston, MA, is now open at www.aaslh.org/workshop.htm.  The workshop is hosted by Historic New England and will be held at the Otis House. Register by February 13 and save $20 on your registration fee.

What is Museum Education 101?
Museum Education 101 provides an overview of the role of education within museums from an experience–based perspective.  Seasoned educators direct conversations about museum education and what it is museum educators do.  Through interactive activities, hands-on training and case studies, participants will learn about volunteer management, docent training, tour techniques, active learning  with people of all ages, developing exhibits with visitors in mind, on-line education and working with others to build education programs. Participants will leave the workshop with information and materials they can take back to their organizations to adapt and use!

The themes of this workshop are based on the recent publication The Museum Educator’s Manual: Educators Share Successful Techniques, coauthored by instructors Huber and Grove along with Nancy Cutler, Anna Johnson, and Melissa Bingmann. A copy of this must-have education manual is included in the workshop registration.

Who Should Attend:
This workshop is ideally suited for staff (first-time museum educators, directors, tour guides or volunteer managers and mid-career professionals), museum studies students, or dedicated volunteers working in all types of museums  who are given the responsibility of education and public programming.  For more information including an agenda, visit http://www.aaslh.org/mused101.htm.

Cost: $280 members /$355 nonmembers; $20 discount if fee is received by February 13.

Early-Bird Registration Deadline is now February 13!!  You can register today at www.aaslh.org/workshop.htm.

Please contact Bethany Hawkins, Program Associate at hawkins@aaslh.org or 615-320-3203 if you have any questions about these or other upcoming workshops.

AASLH Spring Workshops

AASLH does workshops all over the country, and we’re lucky enough to have a terrific one right in our backyard this spring, and the other a short train ride away.

(They also have a great emerging professional scholarship program that you could use to attend one of these workshops. The catch is that the deadline has passed for this year’s applications, BUT you should keep it in mind for next year. Info at the bottom of this page.)

Here’s their text:

Museum Education 101
Dates: March 15-16, 2012
Location: Historic New England, Otis House, Boston, MA
Through interactive activities, hands-on training, and case studies, participants will learn about volunteer management, docent training, tour techniques, active learning with people of all ages, developing exhibits with visitors in mind, and online education. Participants will leave the workshop with information and materials they can take back to their institutions to adapt and use.
Cost: $280 members/$355 nonmembers
$20 discount if payment received by February 10

Historic House Museum Issues and Operations
Dates: March 22-23, 2012
Location: Decatur House and Octagon House, Washington, DC
This workshop focuses on the unique needs, management, and interpretation of historic houses. With a focus on historic house museums, topics include collections care, types of research appropriate for historic house museums, exhibition development, interpretative tours, volunteers and building and landscape maintenance.
Cost: $250 members/$325 nonmembers
$20 discount if payment is received by February 17

AASLH Webinars: StEPs Program

First things first: What is StEPs?

StEPS stands for Standards and Excellence Program [for History Organizations]. It’s organized by those marvelous folks at the AASLH (that’s American Association for State and Local History, in case you’re in a post-holiday stupor). I’ll let them describe it in their own words:

StEPs is a voluntary assessment program for small- and mid-sized history organizations. The program, created by AASLH with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, encourages awareness and achievement of national standards. Organizations that enroll in this new self-paced, self-study program use assessment questions and performance indicators (Basic, Good, Better) to rate their policies and practices in six standards sections. Participating organizations can clearly identify their strengths and areas needing improvement, and begin taking steps to plan for positive change.

StEPs is extremely affordable – $150 for institutional members and $265 for non-members (and that increased fee covers the cost of a one-year institutional membership, bargain!).  With that membership, organizations receive materials and support designed to take them through the assessment process.

To go along with that affordability and accessibility, AASLH is also producing a great series of FREE webinars focusing on different topics. Two of them have gone by and the third is yet to come, but you can register for past webinars and watch recordings, and still get in on the action for the third.

Telling a Good Story (recorded November 17, 2011)
A good guided tour is a good story told well, says guest speaker Linda Norris. What can you do to transform a guided tour from a recitation of facts into a meaningful story that connects with visitors? It’s all about research, attitude, and a commitment to engaging visitors. What tools can you use? How can volunteer guides or docents become a part of the development process rather just a delivery system? What makes a good story and how do we show multiple perspectives? Join us to learn the basics of developing meaningful tours and to explore creative ways guides can connect with visitors who arrive at your site with many different interests.

Instructor: Linda Norris is a consultant who works with museums, historic sites, and communities on interpretation, strategic planning, and a variety of other topics. She also enjoys writing her popular blog, the Uncataloged Museum where she thinks, writes, debates, dreams, and wonders about museums and their place in the world. Linda was a Fulbright Scholar to Ukraine in 2009 and 2010 where her work has included teaching a course at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, developing workshops for museum colleagues throughout the country, and direct work with several museums.

StEPs Connection: This workshop may help institutions achieve the standards in the Audience and Interpretation sections of AASLH’s StEPs Program.


Creating Historic House Interpretive Plans that Connect
Originally broadcast December 8, 2011. Registration is now closed but will reopen as soon as the recording becomes available
Participation is free, but pre-registration is necessary
Creating engaging historic house interpretation that really connects with your audience begins with a solid understanding of your site’s important stories.Guest speaker Nancy Bryk will show you how to develop a research plan includingresearch on the historical characters who lived in the house, the important events that took place there, and changes in the site over time. She will discuss where and how to look for this information and then how to use worksheets to develop your interpretive plan based on that research.

Instructor: Nancy E. Villa Bryk served as Curator of Domestic Life at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan from 1981 through 2005. There, she researched, reinterpreted and reinstalled over a dozen buildings in Greenfield Village including R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House, the D T &M Roundhouse, Firestone Farmhouse, Wright Brothers Home, Henry Ford Birthplace, Noah Webster’s House, Sarah Jordan Boardinghouse, and the Hermitage Slave Quarters. Nancy is now an Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation in Eastern Michigan University’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.

StEPs Connection: This workshop may help institutions achieve the standards in the Interpretation section of AASLH’s StEPs Program.


Redefining Audiences (Registration Now Open)
January 27, 2012
Time: 2-3:15 pm eastern
Participation is free, but pre-registration is necessary
Who is your current audience and how can you engage new ones? Our country is undergoing dramatic changes as Baby Boomers age, immigration shifts take place, and household incomes struggle to keep pace.Looking at the most recent U.S. Census, Susie Wilkening will discuss demographic change and the valuable ways in which your organization can use census data to think about current audiences, future audiences, and their motivations and constraints. We’ll explore:

  • How shifts in household composition may affect who you try to attract to your organization
  • How growth OR constraints in household income may affect your development efforts or your tourism base, and
  • How an aging population may mean boom times for history organizations . . . or not.

We’ll explore these trends and ideas, and much more, and discuss how history museums can effect change in their communities by understanding these important demographic shifts.

Instructor: Susie Wilkening is a Senior Consultant and Curator of Museum Audiences with Reach Advisors. Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Susie worked for ten years in museums including tenures as the Executive Director of the Saratoga County Historical Society and Development Director of Historic Huguenot Street. Susie’s insights are featured frequently through her work as a speaker at leading museum conferences including AASLH. She is the lead author of Life Stages of the Museum Visitor and editor of the Museum Audience Insight blog.

StEPs Connection: This workshop may help institutions achieve the standards in the Audience section of AASLH’s StEPs Program.

So go, register, and watch the past webinars and look forward to the third! (If you’ve been lucky enough to hear Susie Wilkening speak in a Tufts class or read her work, then you know that time spent listening to her is well worth it.)

Free Webinars from AASLH

Copying this one right over from their newsletter; these all sound great and thanks to an IMLS grant they’re FREE.

AASLH is able to offer the following webinar series free of charge with funding generously provided by an IMLS 21st Century Museum Professionals grant. Register for one, two, or all three!Telling a Good Story

November 17, 2011

Time: 2-3:15 pm Eastern

A good guided tour is a good story, told well, says guest speaker Linda Norris. Join us to learn the basics of creating a meaningful tour and creative ways tour guides can connect with visitors who arrive at your site with many different interests.

Creating Historic House Interpretive Plans that Connect December 8, 2011

Time: 2-3:15 pm Eastern

Interpretive plans that connect with your visitors and their lives are the keystone for a positive visitor experience. Guest speaker Nancy Bryk will show participants how research is an integral part of the interpretive planning process.

Redefining Audiences

January 27, 2012

Time: 2-3:15 pm Eastern

Who are our current audiences and how can we engage new ones? Looking at the most recent U.S. Census, Susie Wilkening will discuss demographic change and the valuable ways in which history organizations can use census data.

Webinar content is supported by StEPs standards and performance indicators. Pre-registration is necessary.

Click here to register online or to register by phone or mail, contact Terry Jackson, Program Associate, at 615-320-3203 or by email to jackson[at]aaslh[dot]org

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