SHA Class of 2013 Curriculum Taking Shape


Indiana Historical Society, host site for Developing History Leaders @ SHA

SHA coordinator John Durel is busy finalizing the 2013 SHA schedule. Below are his thoughts on this year’s program.


The curriculum for Developing History Leaders @ SHA 2013 is taking shape, with continued emphasis on trends and innovations that are affecting the work of history organizations, as well as fundamental skills necessary to be a successful leader in our field. This year Katherine Kane, Executive Director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, will give the keynote on the first day of the seminar, setting the stage for discussions over the next three weeks. The Stowe Center is more than a traditional historic house. It is a place that uses Stowe’s life and work to inspire others to take action addressing the concerns of today. It is a prime example of making history useful to contemporary life.

Discussions the first week will center on other innovative ways to use history to engage audiences and benefit communities, sometimes dealing with sensitive issues. Among the topics will working with communities to create meaningful exhibitions, the latest use of technology to enhance history experiences, and reinterpreting historic sites using historical research and community engagement. In addition, we are working with SHA partner the National Trust for Historic Preservation to include seminarians in the 2013 National Preservation Conference. (Check out this fantastic video on Indianapolis and the Trust conference.)

Week two will begin with discussions led by five executive directors who are taking different approaches to reinventing their organizations. To varying degrees they have focused on the guest experience, the financial model, community engagement, the collections, the staff, and the board. Their stories reveal the complexity of leading change for a whole organization, and not just a single function or department. Students will have opportunities to talk with these directors, both formally and informally.

In the latter part of the second week we will address questions about audience, specifically demographic trends and evaluation, and end with a field trip to see and discuss the Power of Children exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and to participate in Follow the North Star at Conner Prairie.

In the final week we will turn attention inward to organizational development, with sessions on creating a vision, raising money, managing change, leading from the middle, and building teams. Increasingly the conversation will turn toward practical steps and strategies that students can employ when they return home, ready to be stronger leaders in their respective institutions and in the field as a whole.

Applications for SHA 2013 are due May 13.

Posted on April 9, 2013, in Application, History, Leadership, Seminar for Historical Administration, SHA. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sounds just wonderful – the focus on leading change and centering audience is timely and important!

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