Monthly Archives: October 2017
This year’s Seminar for Historical Administration (SHA) is meeting in Indianapolis and all of our hard work in selecting participants and presenters over the past months is coming to fruition. For three weeks in Indianapolis, a dozen people in the history field will be discussing the leading issues facing leaders and debating their solutions. I’ve assembled the schedule and directing the program, so I’m particularly excited to see how it unfolds each day. A big thanks to the dozens of people who are helping to make this extraordinary experience possible.
SHA opened on Sunday with Erin Carlson Mast, the President and CEO of President Lincoln’s Cottage, laying out the trends in the field. She noted how much has changed in the last ten years and that our work is more important than ever. I was particularly intrigued by her insistence that the mission and vision of the organization need to be manifested not only in the public programs and activities but also in the budget and operations. For example, their interpretation of slavery during Lincoln’s era motivated them to examine modern-day slavery (human trafficking) through their award-winning SOS program for teens AND make choices about the restoration materials used in the Cottage. Afterwards, we visited the library and archives at the Indiana Historical Society and had dinner together at a local restaurant.
Developing History Leaders @SHA will begin in a month and the three weeks in Indianapolis will be packed with sessions covering a wide range of topics that affect leaders at history organizations. With forty-four presenters involved, there will be a diversity of perspectives on the relevance of history, collections care and management, interpretive programs, historic preservation, governance and management, inclusion and equity, and planning and strategy. You can learn about these topics in a book or conference session, but only at SHA can you discuss them in-depth with other leaders in the field, wrestle with their interconnectedness, and think about them well outside the daily demands of the office.
Each year SHA changes and it’s certainly evolved from where it started in 1959 at Colonial Williamsburg as a six-week summer program for 18 National Trust Fellows (graduate students in history preparing for careers outside of teaching) and a few people who were already working in the field but had little experience or training (today we call them “emerging professionals”). For the last dozen years, SHA has been based in Indianapolis and we’ve annually adjusted the curriculum to address provocative issues or emerging practices that affect the field of public history. For 2017, the syllabus adds: Read the rest of this entry