We sent all attendees of the 2015 Annual Meeting a survey to find out what we did right and what we could improve. In that survey, we asked what types of sessions attendees would like to see on the program for AASLH 2016. Here’s a quick summary of the big ideas. Feel free to use these as inspiration for your 2016 session proposals. (See the Call for Proposals here.)

Practical Solutions & Tangible Take-Aways: Attendees want examples to follow, toolkits for implementing what they’ve learned during sessions, and practical take-aways that they can put into practice at their instuitions.

“As a small historic house museum with a small budget, we really need practical sessions.”

Diversity & Accessibility: Attendees were excited by the conversation on diversity at AASLH 2015, but they challenged 2016 presenters to take it a step further with more discussion about Native American history, LGBT history, interpreting women’s history, first generation Americans, and intersectionality in women’s history.

“How historic site and museum identities shift over time when they take on new programming and new audiences…”

“Encouraging your institution to make diversity and inclusion a focal point of the mission and how to talk about diversity and inclusion (making sure your institution’s programming and staff best represent the community).”

“More sessions on accessibility. More about how to make our organizations more inclusive in hiring.”

“Sessions on women’s history/interpretation. Sessions on community engagement, social change, and the role of history.”

“Museum experiences for first generation museum goers, new Americans, and non-English speaking audiences.”

“Making racial equity a reality in exhibits, programs, collections, communities.”

“More sessions on accessibility. I went to the workshop at the American Printing House for the Blind and I was different when I came out. Very transformative.”


History Relevance Campaign: Attendees asked for more sessions about the HRC, implementing the History Matters message, and integrating its principles into their institutions.

“Specific implementation of the History Relevance Campaign: how to engage the media, how to engage different types of staff (curatorial, marketing, development), etc. The message may be the same, but the dissemination and implementation with various audiences is different. How to “speak” effectively to different kinds of groups.:

“More with history relevance, historical thinking, why we need to teach it.”

“Continue with History Matters program, and find ways to interweave it as a theme into other sessions. Ask state and local history/social studies coordinators, and/or superintendents of school systems, and school board members to attend and to present their thoughts about history education — what are their pressing priorities? If and why history education is declining in comparison to other disciplines like STEM –honest assessments, not what we just want to hear. Ditto with undergrad education. What is the situation now and what will it like be ten years from now if current trends continue?”

Management: Attendees loved all the management sessions at AALSH 2016 and asked for more, including guidance for managing volunteers and interns, working with board members, and managing a small staff.

“Over the years I found that change is the most difficult for workers to deal with. Explore how to manage your staff through a transition might be useful.”

“Sessions for all-volunteer museums…”

“I really enjoy the management/admin sessions. My favorite sessions typically show how to implement ideas and strategies verses showing and explaining what one particular site has done.”

Archives & Collections

“I’d love to see more on archives and research libraries. And there could probably always be more discussion on copyright, especially as it applies to historic photographs and digital collections.”

“Managing archival collections in small museums.”

Fundraising & Grants: Attendees were interested in practical revenue ideas, help getting grants, and examples of successful fundraising.

“I’d like to see more sessions helping to spark ideas for creative revenue streams.”

Evaluation and Visitor Surveys: Attendees were eager to hear more about strategies for evaluating their exhibits and surveying their visitors.

2015 AASLH-44 Visit the Call for Proposals to read the guidelines and submit a proposal for AASLH 2016.