2024 AASLH Annual Conference
The 2024 AASLH Annual Conference in Mobile, Alabama, aims to bring together our national history community to explore the vital work of history practitioners with the theme Doing History, which inspires attendees to acknowledge a holistic view of the past, to make space for diverse interpretations, and to strive toward a future where everyone feels like they belong to something larger than themselves. This conference takes it theme directly from AASLH’s Making History at 250: The Field Guide for Commemoration, which encourages pulling back the curtain on “Doing History” as we move towards our nation’s semiquincentennial.
Our conference theme seeks to inspire new ideas for history practitioners to help audiences understand how new questions, evidence, and perspectives shape our understanding of the past and present. In Doing History we must be mindful of how our perceptions and experiences influence our understanding of the past. Therefore, history practitioners must pay close attention to what they do, how they do it, and what influences their decisions. By more transparently communicating our methods for learning about the past, we can help audiences better understand how new questions, evidence, and perspectives inform our histories, how they can better do history in their own lives, and how these histories can speak to present-day challenges.
Today, those engaged in Doing History purposefully strive to include a wide range of voices in their work. We acknowledge that the past can provide valuable insights into the present, but only if we approach its lessons honestly and responsibly. However, we must also consider how our own personal experiences and perceptions influence our understanding of the past. We also need to recognize that in doing this work we have to create a safe environment for ourselves and our colleagues.
To achieve a focused collective experience for the conference, we have adopted the following objectives to guide the issues we want to explore:
Conference participants will:
- Learn how to invite public audiences to participate in the process of Doing History to help them understand what we do and why it is important.
- Discover ways our work can help guide our society to become the people and communities we want to be.
- Be inspired to have confidence that we'll succeed individually and collectively.
- Actively seek greater harmony to help us navigate politics and social imbalance effectively and reach a bigger audience on history's relevance.
Mobile is the perfect location to explore these important topics. The Gulf Coast region has a rich and diverse past, including significant events often unknown outside the area. It has a robust Native American heritage, served as a colonial capital, and played an important role in the efforts of the French, British, and Spanish to establish themselves in North America before becoming a part of the United States. It prides itself on being recognized as the birthplace of Mardi Gras in America. Some parts of its history, however, are especially difficult. The story of the Clotilda, for example, the last documented ship to illegally transport enslaved Africans into the United States, is one of several touchstones for understanding the region's complex and sometimes tragic past. The work done by Clotilda descendants and other Africatown residents as well as government officials, archaeologists, and public historians to tell this story is a lesson in collaborative history for AASLH members to explore during the conference.
The Clotilda has been the best-known chapter of Mobile’s history in recent years, but it followed and prefaced many other chapters of similarly profound significance. Mobile is where the Atlantic world and the Deep South intersected for the commercial exchange of enslaved persons, cotton, timber, sugar, and manufactured goods. The Mobile Bay area was a battlefield during the Civil War and the site where one of the largest contingents of African American soldiers in any battle during the conflict helped defeat Confederate forces in the pivotal battle for control of Mobile. Later, Mobile became a shipbuilding powerhouse during World War II and a city where, in the absence of demagoguery by white local officials, civil rights leaders demonstrated that change in the traditional racial order could be achieved by people of goodwill. In recent years, it has become the centerpiece of a high-tech Gulf Coast economy engaged in aviation manufacturing and global shipping. By immersing themselves in the history of the Mobile Bay area, conference attendees will gain a fuller appreciation of how the past informs our present.
We are excited for you to join us at the 2024 AASLH Annual Conference for substantive discussions about what we can do to help communities across the country as we all wrestle with how we can be of better service to the nation at large to pave the way for healing, reconciliation, and a more equitable future.
The History Leadership Institute Seminar is the best professional development opportunity for mid-career professionals at history organizations of all types and sizes. Since 1959, the HLI Seminar has provided people at all management levels the tools, ideas, and connections to enhance their ability to lead institutions and the field.
Through a combination of virtual and in-person meetings, a cohort of about twenty Associates dives deep into a broad range of current and future national issues facing the history and museum field, including purpose, relevance, impact, decolonization, community engagement, equity and access, facilitating change, and much, much more. Through workshops, discussions, activities, and field studies facilitated by dozens of nationally-recognized experts working on the field’s leading edge, Associates tackle the most pressing challenges confronting history institutions and develop strategies for addressing them. The History Leadership Institute challenges history professionals to ask not “Are we doing things right?” but rather to ask “Are we doing the right things?”
2024's onsite seminar will take place June 3-14 in Indianapolis. The virtual components will take place May 28-30, June 28, July 12, July 26, August 9, and September 6, 2024.
To ensure that the seminar experience is as safe as possible, we will follow the public health guidance and requirements of our host sites.
For additional details about the program, including dates, lodging, and costs, please visit https://aaslh.org/professional-development/history-leadership.
AASLH is accepting submissions of short articles to be posted on our official blog. Specifically, we are seeking articles on issues and challenges facing history organizations and their staffs. Articles should be clear, concise, and offer obvious takeaways or suggestions. There is no deadline, and submissions are welcomed at any time. You can expect a response within two or three weeks.
Here are ideas on what to write:
- Takeaways from history organizations doing great work
- Lessons learned from recent or ongoing projects at your organization
- Tips on administration and leadership
- Career advice and guidance for professionals in the field
- Unique takes on current trends (i.e. what’s the next Hamilton?)
- Constructive reflections on the state of the field
- Length: 350-800 words
- Posts should be in Chicago Style
- All submissions must include at least one landscape orientation photo with photo credit/caption
- Do not footnote; instead, provide URLs for references
- Single space after sentences
- All submissions must include at least one landscape orientation photo
- Two-three photos are ideal
- Photos should at least 750 pixels wide
- Photos should be free of any copyright restrictions; include attributions/ credit in the captions
- Articles should be original content that has not been published elsewhere
- AASLH reserves the right to turn down any post that isn’t a good fit for the blog
- AASLH is not required to use the photos submitted with the post if they are not a good fit; in that case, the blog editor will supply appropriate photos to go with the post
- AASLH will adjust or replace titles as needed for consistency and clarity and can make minor edits without author approval
Questions? Email Aja Bain at email@example.com
The following courses are part of AASLH’s Small Museum Pro! certificate program. If you have completed and passed five of the courses below, please submit this form to request your Small Museum Pro! certificate.
- CARING FOR MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
- COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT
- DEVELOPING EXHIBITIONS: PLANNING
- DEVELOPING EXHIBITIONS: DESIGN
- INTRODUCTION TO FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
- LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION FOR HISTORY ORGANIZATIONS
- MUSEUM EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
The AASLH book series connects the people engaged in history work to new questions, ideas, perspectives, and each other. By featuring news, current issues, trends, and best practices from throughout the history community, our books inform, inspire, challenge, and link together those who preserve and interpret the past.
We welcome book proposals dealing with all aspects of public history, including current trends, timely issues, and best practices for professional development and the overall improvement of the history field. We are especially interested in books that give a fresh perspective to traditional theories, in-depth case studies that reveal applicable and relevant concepts, and subject matter that has the ability to resonate throughout all levels of the field. Proposals are reviewed by the AASLH Editorial Advisory Committee, who may make suggestions for improvement and needed changes before approval. Once a proposal is approved, authors sign a contract with Rowman & Littlefield and are responsible for producing the work within 15-18 months.
AASLH reserves the right to reject material that is not consonant with the mission, values, or goals of the organization. Contact the book series editor Aja Bain with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-320-3203.
History News connects the people engaged in history work to new questions, ideas, perspectives, and each other. By featuring news, current issues, trends, and best practices from throughout the history community, it informs, inspires, challenges, and links together those who preserve and interpret the past.
We welcome article proposals dealing with all aspects of public history, including current trends, timely issues, and best practices for professional development and the overall improvement of the history field. We are especially interested in articles that give a fresh perspective to traditional theories, in-depth case studies that reveal applicable and relevant concepts, and subject matter that has the ability to resonate throughout all levels of the field. AASLH reserves the right to reject material that is not consonant with the mission, values, or goals of the organization.
Before committing to a full article, we ask that you submit an abstract here. In 300 words or less, outline the main points of your article and explain how it supports the AASLH mission. Please include your email address so we can follow up with you.
Four times a year, History News magazine brings you the latest discussions, developments, and innovations in the field of state and local history. That mission includes reviewing books on theoretical and practical topics that our members and readers are talking about and using in their daily work. AASLH is building our pool of book reviewers for History News, and we want you to get involved.
Apply to be a book reviewer and share your expertise with the field. We will match you with a book according to your interests, and send you a complimentary copy.
- Have expertise and experience in the book’s topic or sub-field
- Can discuss how the book will contribute to public history and relate it to similar works
- Commit to writing a 500-word review that summarizes and analyses the book’s thesis or topic
- Work with our editors to meet deadlines and craft a great review
Here are some of the titles we've reviewed recently:
- A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics by Sally Yerkovich (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)
- The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation is Reviving America's Communities by Stephanie Meeks (Island Press, 2016)
- Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of the Past Ended Up in Museums... And Why They Should Stay There by Tiffany Jenkins (Oxford University Press, 2016)
- Collection Care: An Illustrated Handbook for the Care and Handling of Cultural Objects by Brent A. Powell (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016)
- The Art of Relevance by Nina Simon (Museum 2.0, 2016)
And visit our website for examples of great reviews in the style that we look for from the Summer 2015 History News.
Questions? Contact Aja Bain, Program and Publications Manager, at email@example.com or 615-320-3203.
AASLH serves members working with and for all kinds of historical organizations. As we approach the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026, we will be focusing on reaching small museums and historical societies and on promoting inclusive history and inclusive practices. We invite our members to consider serving on Council (the organization’s board of trustees) or the Leadership Nominating Committee (LNC). In these roles, you or a colleague can play a vital part in shaping the organization’s future.
Nominate an AASLH member who is:
- Passionate about history and its place in contemporary culture.
- Connected to a network of peers in the field.
- Willing to both speak their mind and work as a team.
- Committed to innovation, inclusion, and experimentation.
- Holds specific skills and expertise in areas of museum or history work.
- Someone who believes they can make a difference.
You may nominate yourself or nominate a colleague for a position on either Council or for a position on the Leadership Nominating Committee.
Nominations are accepted year-round. For assistance, please contact AASLH at 615-320-3203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.