Monthly Archives: March 2012

Conversation with Terri Anderson at Engaging Places blog

Max van Balgooy’s excellent blog, has an interview with Terri Anderson, formerly of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Max asks Terri what books, websites, conferences, or other resources were most useful in her work at the National Trust?

She references SHA as part of her answer: “As far as conferences, probably my favorite since I’ve been at the National Trust was attending the Virginia Association of Museums annual conference.  I felt like it was the perfect size and conference topics for professionals working in smaller museums or historic sites.  I have also enjoyed attending the AASLH annual conference and I am glad that AAM has offered a small museum track in recent years.  I have not attended these training opportunities myself, but many colleagues swear by the Seminar for Historical Administration and the Attingham Summer School.”

To read the full interview, click here.


Guidance: Pass It On

The weather may be a bit off kilter, but believe it or not, it is officially springtime and that means it is time to prepare for AAM; this year’s annual meeting is in Minneapolis. AAM’s annual meeting is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and former colleagues, maybe even with fellow classmates and alumni. It provides a chance to reconnect and reflect on how we got into the museum business and how we have managed to stay in this whirlwind field. By removing all those troublesome day to day activities, we can remember what we love about our jobs and our profession.

Attending AAM is a great opportunity and one to take advantage of when possible. One specific opportunity available at AAM is the Seminar for Historical Administration (SHA) Reception. It will be on Tuesday, May 1 at 5:30 pm. All SHA Alums are invited to attend as well as potential applicants.

If you are thinking about applying to SHA, or if you have applied to SHA and want to talk with alumni please attend the reception. In addition to encouraging you to attend the reception, I also encourage you to think about people you know who would be right for SHA.

Many people have had mentors, someone to look to for advice and guidance, supervisor or not, officially designated or not, who can help you to prepare for the path ahead. Are you a mentor to someone in our field? You can recommend the program without being a supervisor to that person, or even working at their institution. When one of my mentors told me to apply, I didn’t know much about SHA though I am very grateful for their suggestions and encouragement. It was the exact right program and the right time.

So I am asking members of our field, “Who should apply to this program? Who would be a good fit for Developing History Leaders at SHA?” You most likely know someone who should.

Be a mentor, encourage or recommend someone to apply, or look into the program on your own. Join me at AAM. See you there!


Kat Burkhart, Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County

Developing History Leaders

Below is excerpted from an email from Kent Whitworth, Director of the Kentucky Historical Society. An SHA grad himself, Kent sent the following to his fellow CEOs commenting on his support of the SHA program.


Dear Colleagues,

Your organization, like the Kentucky Historical Society, probably has experienced major changes since 2008.  By July 1st of this year, our general fund budget will have been cut by 49%.  We now operate with far fewer staff, yet we are doing far better work.  This is in large part due to the leaders we have developed on our staff.  Four of those leaders are recent graduates of the Seminar for Historical Administration:

* Jody Blankenship, Director of Education, SHA 2007

* Trevor Jones, Director of Museum Collections & Exhibitions, SHA 2009

* Scott Alvey, Assistant Director, SHA 2010

* Sarah Milligan, KY Oral History Commission Administrator, SHA 2011

In my view the Seminar is the single best investment you can make in developing leaders for your organization.  The cost (around $3,500) and the time away (3 weeks in November) are not insignificant; however, in our experience it’s worth it.  In return you gain a leader who is more knowledgeable about issues and best practices, more confident and ready to take on new responsibilities, able to pick up the phone to talk with colleagues about new ideas, and more committed to the overall success of your institution.

I urge you to encourage someone with leadership potential in your organization to apply this year. Applications are due May 21.  You can get more information here.

Thanks for considering this. You won’t regret it.


Kent Whitworth

Seeking applicants for SHA Class of 2012

The field of public history is experiencing rapid and major change, and a new generation of leaders will soon be stepping up to set the course for the future of America’s history organizations.

Do you want to:

  • Play a greater role in your institution and the field?
  • Improve yourself as a leader?
  • Help shape the future of public history?

For over 50 years, the Seminar for Historical Administration has provided an intensive residential professional development experience for history professionals.

Applications for the SHA Class of 2012 are due May 21.

We are seeking leaders at all levels – executive directors, curators, educators, archivists, historians, interpreters, marketing and development professionals, and others – who want to improve their knowledge and skills, who want to become better leaders in their own institutions, and who are ready to be part of the larger network of history leaders around the country.

At the Seminar for Historical Administration (SHA) you will have an opportunity to examine and discuss issues facing the practice of public history with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable leaders in the field.

What SHA Graduates are saying:

“In midcareer, it often seems a mystery how the leaders of the field got from where we are to where they are – how they developed their scope of knowledge about administration, purpose, and the issues of public history. SHA demystifies this process concentrating years’ worth of mentorship into a rich, intensive three weeks. Nowhere else will the midcareer professional find the breadth and strong grounding in leadership basics in such an efficient package.” – Michelle Moon, Class of 2007, Assistant Director of Education for Adult Programs, Peabody Essex Museum

For application information visit

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