SHA 2017 Will Address Inclusion, Intentional Practice, and Design Thinking

Kelly SHA 2016F_DxOVPDeveloping 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:

Achieving Impact through Intentional Practice

Randi Korn will discuss the need for and purpose of Intentional Practice in museums. Intentional Practice is when a museum continually clarifies its intended impact on audiences, evaluates its effectiveness according to what it hopes to achieve, reflects on evaluation results, and realigns its practices and resources so the museum achieves greater impact. She will make a case for balancing mission-driven planning with impact-driven planning—a necessity for museums that are interested in pursuing and achieving impact. An organization that is intentional in its practice has an inclusive, process-oriented infrastructure that promotes continuous learning opportunities for all staff while also achieving impact in its community. The morning will include exercises that Randi uses with museums to clarify a museum’s intended impact—exercises that participants can take back to their organizations and implement with their boards and staff. Randi Korn, Intentional Practice Leader and Founding Director of Randi Korn & Associates

Funder’s Perspective

Effective fundraising isn’t just about writing stronger proposals. By seeing your work from the funder’s perspective, it will give you a new insight into the purpose and impact of your organization. With assets of nearly $12 billion, the Lilly Endowment has generously supported historical and cultural organizations for decades and they’ve agreed to share an insider’s perspective on the granting process, the common challenges and weaknesses of proposals, and the trends and directions in philanthropy. Ronni Kloth, Program Director, Community Development, Lilly Endowment Inc.

Diversity and Inclusion

According to AASLH’s new Diversity and Inclusion Statement, “Everyone makes history. Relevant history is inclusive history.” History organizations hope to be diverse, but how should it be achieved in the field or at your institution? While there are many types of diversity, what does inclusion mean for different races and ethnicities, gender and sexual identity, political perspectives, physical and mental abilities, age, education, employment experiences, or geographic location? What’s appropriate, what’s merely window-dressing, what’s interfering, what’s incongruous? Ken Turino, Manager of Exhibitions and Community Engagement, Historic New England, SHA 1983

Saving Living History

Preserving and advocating for authentic historic places offers a wide range of challenges and opportunities. We’ll hear about what’s happening now in Indiana and how museums and historic sites can be involved in advocacy (or historic preservation in general) as well as trends they envision in the U.S. from one of the strongest historic preservation organizations in the nation. Todd Zeiger, Director, Northern Regional Office, Indiana Landmarks

Future of Interpretation

We are storytellers—everyone loves a good story! Interpretation is how we communicate with the public. That includes websites, objects, exhibits, structures, furnishings, costuming, and landscapes. It is how we select, shape, and share our stories to attract and engage our audiences. This includes directors, curators, designers, educators, interpreters, and guides. We are all interpreters. We will hear a quick review of the evolution of interpretation, then learn where we are today and discuss “the end game” that makes interpretation such a powerful and memorable management tool. We will conclude with five obligations that museums and historic sites should achieve to be relevant in the future. Margo Carlock, Executive Director and Jay Miller, President, National Association for Interpretation

Design Thinking

Now more than ever, “T-shaped professionals” are in high demand for their ability to collaborate across disciplines, build relationships, and advance innovation. These contemporary workers are characterized by the possession of deep skills in a specialty as well as the knack for solving problems in other areas of expertise, allowing them to move beyond boundaries. The emerging field of Design Thinking responds to this paradigm shift as a human-centered approach to connecting the dots. Pamela Napier, Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI and Cofounder and Design Strategist at Collabo Creative; Terri Wada, Cofounder, Design Strategist and President of Collabo Creative

SHA may not be appropriate for you but if you’ve been working in the history field for a while and are looking to move up to the next level of performance, explore the full schedule to learn more or visit

About Max van Balgooy

President of Engaging Places LLC, a design and strategy firm that connects people to historic places.

Posted on October 2, 2017, in Seminar for Historical Administration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on SHA 2017 Will Address Inclusion, Intentional Practice, and Design Thinking.

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