Wrapping Up Week 1
By Kajsa Harley
We made it through Week 1 of SHA! After six days of sessions, discussions, and field trips, the class of 2015 wrapped up our week this morning with a facilitated discussion with John Durel. This morning has helped me to process at least some of the many ideas and themes that we’ve covered during the week, and I’ve started to more clearly put some of my ideas into more concrete thoughts, both about leadership and the field in general as well as how this week applies to my work at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY.
I left Hanford Mills Museum for SHA in the midst of a slew of planning efforts for 2016, and while the museum has joined AASLH’s StEPS program, we have yet to actually start the process. And now that I’m here at SHA, I can’t think of a better time to be starting a self-assessment program than after completing these three weeks. I have a section of my notebook set aside for ideas from our sessions that I find especially connected to my own work, and the assessment process will be a setting where I can share what I’ve learned as I think critically and collaboratively with my coworkers about Hanford Mills.
This week has been action-packed, and some of my most valuable discussions have also come out of the evenings when our class has been able to unwind and talk informally. I love being able to continue our conversations outside of the formal sessions, especially when the weather is warm enough for us to include a cookout for dinner! I’ve found one of the greatest strengths of this program to be not only the quality of the faculty, but also of my classmates. I’m surrounded by 18 other smart, thoughtful, articulate, and passionate professionals who are as eager as I am to get the most of this program and our time together. And with a statement like that, it’s probably no surprise that my work style tends towards Integrator.
At the beginning of the week we set some goals and talked about why we are attending SHA. I feel like I have already made some great progress in seeing new perspectives, networking and connecting with both classmates and faculty, and gaining clarity in many small ways. After enjoying a day and a half of some more museum visits and downtime, I’ll be ready to jump back into sessions for Week 2!