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From an Academic Perspective: Why Do I Care about the AASLH Annual Meeting?

by Sarah Milligan on

I can’t wait for the 2015 AASLH meeting in Louisville. Really…I am conference excited.

Sarah Milligan

For me, this year, that is something special, since this will be my fifth conference in six months. In the last year, I left a position with the Kentucky Historical Society for a position in an academic library. This year has been spent learning the professional focus of a different kind organization, while transitioning into a new leadership role. You could be asking why I am still even coming to AASLH now that I work in a non-history oriented organization. I am not presenting on a project that partnered with my local historical society or illustrating an archival assist to a community mapping project or annual scanning day. The truth of it is there is a LOT going on at the upcoming AASLH meeting that remains applicable to me in academics.

For example, and personally appealing this year, is the array of leadership learning opportunities. If you need to sharpen or refresh your management or leadership skills, there are some really strong options from folks who know about theory and practice of institutional health and project management. I haven’t seen such a good dose of managerial philosophy in the other cultural heritage conferences I have hit up this year.

Interested in this topic? Here are just some of the sessions to keep on your radar:

Wednesday:

  • Museum Management Tune Up: The Workshop
  • The SHA Wednesday Workshop” Preview, Renew, or Refresh Your Leadership Potential.

Thursday:

  • Banishing Boredom: Facilitating Meaningful Meetings and Workshops
  • Managing Innovation

Friday:

  • Successful Delegation Makes Great Things Possible

Saturday:

  • Achieving The Impossible: Strategies for Completing Projects that Seem Unlikely

I also see sessions that will help me re-examine my outreach strategy to communities, museums, and even various humanities departments in my own university–something that has a high priority as an employee of a land grant institution. I still need to know where the challenges and trends are for state and local history folks so I can help prepare and engage students towards a career in public history, museum studies or the preservation field.

I am excited to get back into the AASLH fold and I am excited to come back to Kentucky! Seriously, if you don’t already know why Kentucky Kicks Ass, you need to come and find out.

Sarah Milligan is the Head of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at Oklahoma State University and a member of the 2015 Program Committee and a graduate of the 2011 class of Developing History Leaders @SHA.

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