• Are you a new member of AASLH? Interested in AASLH membership? Eager to make the most of your important role in this community? Join AASLH staff for an interactive orientation on the services, programs, events, resources, and networking opportunities available to AASLH members. As your home for history, we want to ensure you are getting […]

  • Editors Robert P. Connolly and Elizabeth Bollwerk present a “how to” guide for museums to integrate themselves into their communities as co-creators and valuable assets. Positioning Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset: A Practical Guide uses six thematic sections with case studies from museums around the world that successfully aligned their mission and resources with the needs […]

  • Detroit’s story reflects our own. Collectively and individually, we are constantly evolving, embracing new opportunities, and reacting to forces beyond our control. Navigating these contemporary challenges, while facing an unpredictable future, requires periodically re-thinking our direction.  In doing so, we rely on the past for context, examples, and inspiration. The role of a public historian […]

  • Because of limited (or no) staff, membership management in libraries and museums is often undertaken by staff and volunteers with no experience in membership. This can mean that museum membership levels are stagnant or dropping or Friends of the Library groups have few members. In either case, the organization suffers because of less-than-optimal revenues. Membership […]

  • The 2015 Meeting of the Membership included reports from Norman Burns (Council Treasurer) and John Dichtl (President and CEO), as well as an address from Julie Rose (Council Chair) and results of 2015 Council elections. Tobi Voigt of the Detroit Historical Society issued the invitation to Detroit for AASLH’s 2016 Annual Meeting.

  • AASLH Recorded Webinars

    March 19, 2015

    Did you know we offer recordings from many of our past webinars online to download and stream, and that some are even free? These are a great way to take a virtual “class” from an expert and to learn about topics that matter to you and your organization! From fundraising to creating collections policies to […]

  • Does your membership program operate on the assumption that people will renew this year because they did last year? It’s not enough to assume your members will support your organization because it does good things. The trends of the past two decades have changed everything when it comes to membership and engagement, and where people choose […]

  • Attracting younger generations to your organization can present major challenges. This technical leaflet details how The Abbe Museum formed the Abbe Underground, an affinity group for the Gen X and Gen Y community, how they did it, and their ongoing challenges. “For organizations that depend on membership and private donations, as well as public interest […]

  • Does your organization’s membership program need a jumpstart? Are you trying to grow new members? Join us for a lively discussion about how to develop a membership marketing plan for your organization and increase revenue. Everything has changed when it comes to membership and engagement. Learn about the Membership Life Cycle and how to engage your […]

  • Does your organization jump from one fundraising idea to another without a clear plan? Do you exist on a shoestring budget, hoping someone discovers the wonderful things your organization does and magically makes all worries melt away with a large financial gift? Does you membership program operate on the assumption that people will renew this […]

  • The Gift of History

    September 17, 2013

    Dennis O’Toole explores what history means for communities, families, and individuals and its prevalence in everyday life. History organizations play a key role in how history is preserved and the connections the public makes with the past. Americans consistently report museums and historical organizations as the most trustworthy places to learn about history and cite […]

  • The Chester County Historical Society’s job description for Director of Development highlights desired traits for the position including education, work experience, and special skill. The description also highlights the duties, responsibilities and reporting relationships the position entails. The job description clearly indicates necessary information to the applicant such as department, salary range, supervisor, and number […]

  • The Chester County Historical Society’s job description for a development associate highlights desired traits for the position including education, work experience, and special skills. The description also highlights the duties, responsibilities and reporting relationships the position entails. The job description clearly indicates necessary information to the applicant such as department, salary range, supervisor, and number […]

  • LISTEN: Download audio The Field Services Alliance presents its annual session on on best practices in museums. This session includes presentations on the following topics: Free things you can do to make your historical organization better Caring for photographs in your collections Getting membership right How to build fast and easy storage supports AASLH makes […]

  • In order to find out what the word “authenticity” truly means to museums and historical societies, Reach Advisors conducted a visitor survey that delved into a number of issues, including why people visit outdoor history museums and why they felt these sites were important. The results found that authenticity is perhaps the most critical attribute […]

  • Making Historical Meaning

    September 17, 2013

    For ten years, Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry has offered Nearby History, a program that teaches ordinary people the skills and tools necessary to do their own history from scratch. From framing their historical research project to sharing their final product, Nearby History has helped more that 1,500 Seattleites conduct research, interpret evidence, develop […]

  • Finding a Winning Formula

    September 17, 2013

    This article tells the story of how a relatively new history museum, the Orange County (Florida) Regional History Center, succeeded in hosting two tremendously popular exhibitions. Their tale provides a lesson on the importance of community involvement within the exhibition and planning process. Their two exhibits included a unique collection of Civil War artifacts, while […]

  • Tim Grove explores the new trend of microblogging, more specifically, Twitter. Grove cites advantages of Twitter for museums including two-way, casual and frequent communication with your audience. He also offers helpful strategies and suggestions for museums and history organization who are considering joining the world of Twitter.

  • Tim Grove explores the idea of crowdsourcing data for a historical site or museum. He focuses on Wikipedia and other Wiki features as examples of a successful method for collection and puts great emphasis is on collaborative efforts. Whether it’s building a webpage or allowing the public to participate in research projects, collaborative crowdsourcing can […]

  • Tim Grove discusses with Nancy Proctor, Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution, the effects and opportunities brought on by the advent of mobile technology. Proctor says that mobile technology effects historic sites and museum in three ways: interpretation and learning (think audio tours), outreach (marketing), and research (developing and nurturing a […]

  • Who Loves AASLH, If Not Us?

    September 17, 2013

    In his incoming Chair’s address at the 2010 AASLH Meeting of the Membership, D. Stephen Elliott remarks on AASLH’s accomplishments. He especially highlights advocacy saying that like every other cause, we need to come together with other like-minded organizations and people, agree on our common mission, hone our message, and develop an effective advocacy approach. […]

  • Carol Kammen asks readers for their input on a new project which is a revised Encyclopedia for Local History. She tells the journey of the first encyclopedia made in 2000, when encyclopedias were still widely used, as the internet was still in its infancy. Kammen says that this new version of the encyclopedia aims to […]

  • This article discusses the idea of allowing ordinary people to become their own archivists, curators, historians, and designers as new avenues of audience participation in museums become more and more common. The author discusses four ways that encourage shared authority including the internet, oral history, community-based programs, and contemporary art. The article emphasizes that while […]

  • Address by Outgoing AASLH Council Chair Steven Elliott at the 2012 AASLH Annual Meeting. Elliott emphasizes the importance and the weight that museums and historical societies carry by being a home to objects that help represent the past. What’s even more important, he says, is the way these institutions use the objects to tell and […]

  • Help in a Tough Economy

    September 17, 2013

    The recent economic downturn has everyone thinking about creative solutions for fundraising and generating revenue. This bundle of leaflets provides some new ideas for fundraising and financial management that will benefit multiple nonprofits in hard economic times. Includes these Technical Leaflets: 209: Fundraising for the Small Museum (2000) 237: Membership Matters: Establishing a Vital Membership Program in […]

  • Newsletters are a solution for communicating to an organization’s membership. Charlotte S. Derby provides suggestions for content to include in newsletters, such as upcoming exhibitions, new memberships and acquisitions, gifts and bequests, goals, and policies. The look and feel of the newsletter is also an important component for effectively communicating to members. Derby provides tips […]

  • Daniel R. Porter explains the benefits and importance of membership programs in this Technical Leaflet focused on recruiting members at historical societies. The author provides an overview of the infrastructure necessary for a membership program, outlining the legal framework necessary, such as establishing dues and membership criteria. Porter suggests effective means of recruitment, such as […]

  • Numerous organizations produce newsletters. Rebecca Jacobsen Hagen provides tips for creating a newsletter or reviving an old design. Hagen shows how to plan the content and design of the newsletter with questions to ask before setting to work. Also included are design tips for each part of the newsletter with particular emphasis on low-cost options. […]

  • Membership programs should form connections between an institution’s community and the services the organization offers. Marianne Bez and Amy Cunningham provide a primer on how to create a successful and sustainable membership program. They discuss the need for an active and vital membership base and the reasons why people join organizations. Using these insights, Bez […]