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 We need to review the assumptions that have served us to this point, question old processes, and ponder outdated interpretations.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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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