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Introducing the History Leadership Institute

We are excited to announce a major re-envisioning of the Seminar for Historical Administration. Effective immediately, SHA will become the History Leadership Institute. This new vision and identity more effectively convey the purpose of the program: helping both established and emerging history leaders to develop and sharpen the skills, networks, and habits of mind the history community requires of its leaders. Not only will the name provide clarity for faculty and prospective participants about what the program is, we hope it will also bring the program sharper national attention, attracting a broad base of new sponsors and supporters across the country. Indeed, we are pleased to welcome the Georgia Historical Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society to our ranks as supporters of the new History Leadership Institute.

This new direction is a reflection of developments that have been emerging within the program for the past several years and that we will continue to implement in 2018 and beyond. Most immediately, beginning with Max van Balgooy’s tenure as Director last year, the seminar began to shift away from practical skills training to focus on the major, critical concerns and questions facing the field. Moving forward, the History Leadership Institute will challenge its classes of “Associates” to ask not “Are we doing things right?” but rather to ask “Are we doing the right things?” This shift in focus will challenge history leaders to think about the big questions—decolonization, strategic planning, community engagement, mission and vision, deaccessioning, and much, much more—to help ensure that the next generation of history leadership is prepared not just to solve the problems of the present, but those of the future.

While AASLH has been involved in this program since its early days at Colonial Williamsburg, the History Leadership Institute will begin formally operating as a program of the AASLH, with the current partner institutions (Conner Prairie; Indiana Historical Society; International Preservation Studies Center; National Association for Interpretation; and Nebraska State Historical Society) constituting its Advisory Board. This change, while subtle, will offer the program the stability and resources required for it to grow. AASLH, Director Max van Balgooy, and the Institute’s Advisory Board are continuing to assess all aspects of the program, maintaining and bolstering its reputation as the premier professional development opportunity for the history field. We are also exploring ways to strengthen the program’s inclusivity and geographic reach, to diversify the topics and facilitators invited to participate in Indianapolis, and to extend the conversations and questions of the Institute to new venues, including the development of a national critical issues forum, which will build upon and feed into the annual seminar.

If you have questions, thoughts, concerns, or ideas about the History Leadership Institute, please contact John Marks at AASLH (marks@aaslh.org) or Director Max van Balgooy (max.vanbalgooy@engagingplaces.net).

Applications to join the History Leadership Institute’s 2018 class of Associates will be accepted through May 15. The program will take place at Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana, from October 28 through November 17. For application instructions and further details, please visit www.historyleadership.org.

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