Detroit’s story reflects our own. Collectively and individually, we are constantly evolving, embracing new opportunities, and reacting to forces beyond our control. Navigating these contemporary challenges, while facing an unpredictable future, requires periodically re-thinking our direction.  In doing so, we rely on the past for context, examples, and inspiration. The role of a public historian is especially critical during times of transition. Meanwhile, we must anticipate changes within our profession. The shifting demographics of our audiences and our offices; the increasing pressure on our finances and partnering organizations; and questions about the relevance of our work in a nation beset by discordant political dialogue all require self-reflection. We need to review the assumptions that have served us to this point, question old processes, and ponder outdated interpretations. In the spirit of Detroit, we gather to celebrate our achievements, but with the courage to build new models for the road ahead.


Free Audio

(Available as MP3 downloads or on SoundCloud and iTunes)

Keynote Address: Tom Sugrue

2016 AASLH Meeting of the Membership

Accessibility for the 21st Century: Welcoming All Visitors to History Museums and Historic Sites

Breaking the Mold: Reimagining Traditional Museums, Programs, and Collections

Creating Connection through Creative Expression

Cultural Competency: A Powerful Tool for Change

Democratizing Historical Practice 

Interns: Developing a Diverse Leadership Pipeline

Discussion with Tom Sugrue 

Life After Rebranding: Twenty Insights, Lessons, and Best Practices

Meaningful Change Within Local Organizations: Assessment Makes All the Difference

More Than Just Friends? The Do’s and Don’ts of Interpreting Female Friendship

Passing the Torch: One Museum’s Experience

Reaching Out: Contested History and Community Engagement

Renewal: (Re)Designing a Site Based on Community Engagement and Evaluation


History News Theme Article

“The Spirit of Rebirth” by David E. Janssen


Online Conference Webinars


The 2016 Online Conference Sessions will be available exclusively to Online Conference attendees for one month. In late 2016, they will become available to members and the public for purchase.

Small Museums, Big Impact! Change Agents

Being small doesn’t mean thinking small. Examine the successful reinvention of three small museums that used big challenges to guide their institutions to new levels of excellence. Metamorphosis in small museums might seem impossible but can play a vital part in making 21st century museums relevant and sustainable. Chair: Maggie Marconi, Museum Administrator, Sandusky Library Follett House Museum, Sandusky, OH.


From Farm to Fork: Narratives That Connect 

Agricultural tools, equipment, heritage plants, and animals hold the key to link historic food and fiber production to current trends in agriculture literacy and locavore/ foodie culture. Speakers will share ideas that can turn photographs, equipment, historic buildings, and landscape into thought-provoking exhibits and programs appealing to audiences of all ages. Chair: James C. McCabe, Special Programs Manager, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, MI.


Breaking the Mold: Reimagining Traditional Museums, Programs, and Collections 

See how three institutions are rethinking how they operate in order to reach new audiences, maintain relevancy, and create advocates for history. From tweaking programming to breaking the operational mold, ideas and tips will be shared to inspire staff at institutions large and small. Chair: Alexandra Rasic, Director of Public Programs, Homestead Museum, City of Industry, CA.


Intentional Inclusion: Developing a D&I Strategy for Your Organization 

As demographics in the country continue to become more diverse, museums must create new systems to be more inclusive organizations. Developing a strategy for inclusion can help history organizations efficiently create new patterns of behavior that are inclusive and supportive of all types of diversity. Chair: Chris Taylor, Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN


Deconstructing “Safe Space” 

The concept of “safe space” is often summoned as historical institutions approach challenging topics on race, politics, and identity. But what does “safety” actually look or feel like? Should institutions create experiences in which visitors feel unsafe? We’ll take a critical look at this buzzword and its implications on interpretation. Chair: Maggie Schmidt, Senior Exhibit Developer, 106 Group, St. Paul, MN


Strangelove: How to Stop Worrying and Start Fundraising 

Fundraising is critical to nonprofit work, but it isn’t exclusively reserved for executive directors, development staff, and board committees. This discussion will demystify fundraising and explore how staff and volunteers at organizations of all sizes can advance their mission with better understanding of the fund development process. Chair: Jamie Simek, Fundraising Educator- Local History Services, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, IN


Blog Posts

Greetings from Detroit: A Message from the 2016 AASLH Annual Meeting Host Committee

Little Fish, Big Pond: One Small Museum Curator’s Conference Experience

A Guide to Women’s History at the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting

Improving the Emerging Professional Experience at the AASLH Annual Meeting

The Emerging History Professionals’ Guide to the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting

How to Connect with the  Field Services Alliance at the 2016 AASLH/ MMA Annual Meeting

Corporate History at the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Conference

This Annual Meeting is the BEST for Historic House Museums

What is the Religious History Affinity Group doing in Detroit?

How to Connect with the Military History Affinity Community at the AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting

Celebrating Detroit’s Arab Heritage at the AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting

AASLH Annual Meeting: Don’t Miss the Unconference at The Henry Ford 

AASLH/MMA 2016 Tour Spotlight: Woodward Avenue: A Road From the Past, A Path to the Future

War and Peace: Following the Footsteps of the Huron-Wyandot

The Detroit Museums Pop-Up Shop #AASLHMMA2016

Flint, MI—From Vehicle City to Most Dangerous to Something New

Historians in Motion, the Draw a Scientist test, and the 2016 AASLH 5K Fun Run 

Detroit’s Island Jewel: A Tour of Belle Isle Park

Dodge vs. Ford: The Ways They Lived and Worked (#AASLHMMA2016 Tour Spotlight)

Community Members as Co-Creators at the Detroit Institute of Arts

AASLH Announces 2016 Leadership in History Award Winners