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.
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.