2013 Class begins this weekend

Posted by John Durel, Coordinator, DHL@SHA

On Saturday I’ll be traveling to Indianapolis to meet the 2013 class of Developing History Leaders @SHA. As in the past, this year’s seminar will be rich in discussions about innovations and best practices in leading and managing historic sites, history museums, historical societies, archives, and historic preservation organizations. Twenty-one public history practitioners and thirty-three faculty from across the nation will spend three weeks grappling with ways to make history organizations more valued, of greater service to their communities, and financially sustainable.

Here is a photo from last year’s class as an example of how students engage in the issues. Image

In recent years the seminar has focused on institutional change driven by the need to engage visitors and communities in more relevant ways; the demand for new funding models; and a better understanding of how people actually use and value history. This year we are adding emphasis on two related topics:

  • How to make historic places more valued and financially sustainable. We are fortunate that the first week of the seminar coincides with the annual preservation conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Estevan Rael-Galvez, Vice President for Historic Sites, will engage in a process of re-imagining the purpose and use of historic houses; and students will attend the conference keynote address by Henry Glassie, as well as other sessions.
  • How to use historical artifacts more effectively in helping people find meaning in the past. Traditionally discussions about collections have focused on how to best care for them. We intend to push the discussion further, asking what distinctive values objects hold for people engaged in seeking to understand history.

Over the next three weeks members of the class will be posting their thoughts about these topics on this blog. It promises to be a stimulating time, with an energetic exchange of ideas and questions. I hope you will follow the discussions and add your own comments to the blog posts.




Posted on October 21, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Museum Minute and commented:
    This weekend the 2013 Class of Developing History Leaders @SHA (Seminar for Historical Administration) will convene for three weeks in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a proud alumna of this program (and now the chair of the SHA Alumni Committee), I would like to take a moment to wish this year’s incoming class the best of luck. You are about to embark on a one-of-a-kind immersive leadership training experience, instructed and facilitated by the cream of the crop of our profession – executive directors, researchers, consultants, and more – all at the top of their game. And what they have to offer isn’t simply a how-to PowerPoint or a clever discussion activity – they will engage you in meaningful conversation, debate, and thought about the real issues facing leaders in our field, both today and in the future. They will also share their real life experiences, struggles, triumphs, strengths and weaknesses in an intimate forum that will give you a real opportunity to discover the value of your own experience and how it can benefit your institution and the cultural heritage profession more broadly. This is an excellent opportunity to open yourself up and discover who you want to be, what you can (and want) to contribute to the field, and – maybe more importantly – where you want to go.

    So my final words of advice are: Don’t hold back. Make your whole self a part of the process and enjoy the ride – you’re about to make memories and create relationships that will last your whole professional life through.

    To learn more about Developing History Leaders @SHA and how to apply for the Class of 2014, visit: https://historyleadership.org/.

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