In December 2017, AASLH was awarded a National Leadership grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This $132,400 federal grant is for comprehensively updating, improving, and expanding our Continuing Education and Professional Development program which we provide for history museums, historical societies, historic sites, and other history professionals and volunteers across the country.

Our grant consultants, Max van Balgooy and Conny Graft, working with staff and a project Advisory Committee (see below), will generate a new framework for creating, categorizing, improving the quality of, and marketing AASLH’s education and training programs. These include our many webinars, online courses, and onsite workshops, but also aspects of the History Leadership Institute, the Annual Meeting, and the StEPs program.

Beginning with an inventory and assessment of AASLH’s current continuing education programs, the team has examined how the historical community’s training needs have been served in the past, how AASLH and similar organizations in the field have provided professional development, and is conducting a range of in-person and online interviews about current and emerging training needs, especially given the role of history organizations to serve diverse publics in a rapidly changing environment. Graft and van Balgooy have also been reviewing the educational literature and are helping us to develop outcomes and define audiences, as well as examining professional development practices in other industries. AASLH will be issuing a field-wide survey this spring to learn more about needs and expectations with regard to continuing education/professional development.

A preliminary report will go to the Advisory Committee and to AASLH staff by May 2019. It will include a set of findings and a preliminary framework (including target audiences, performance indicators, and strategies) for AASLH staff and Council to consider. The second and final phase concludes with a detailed framework that incorporates comments from the advisory group, staff, and Council in Fall 2019. We look forward to sharing more information with the history field as the project progresses.

For more information on the project, contact Bethany Hawkins, [email protected], or Natalie Flammia, [email protected].

Grant Advisory Committee

  • Terry Abrams, Director, Western New York Association of Historical Agencies
  • Anne Ackerson, Principal and consultant, Leading by Design
  • Brad Bredehoft, Principal, Museum Study LLC
  • Karen DePauw, Local History Services, Indiana Historical Society
  • Emily Jacobs, Certification & Training Program Manager, National Association for Interpretation
  • Josh Jeffries, Learning and Development Advisor, Pinnacle Financial Partners (banking industry)
  • Barbara Little, Cultural Resources Office of Interpretation and Education, National Park Service
  • Sarah Sutton, Principal and Consultant, Sustainable Museums
  • Jennifer Thomas, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Museums