I’m thrilled to announce that Developing History Leaders @SHA (formerly known as Seminar for Historic Administration) has appointed me as their Director. Since 1959, this prestigious program has brought together some of the leading practitioners in the field of history to discuss best and future practices with a small group of mid-career professionals who want to hone their skills. Over the decades, SHA graduates have become executives doing outstanding work at numerous museums, archives, historical societies, heritage areas, historic sites, and preservation organizations across the country. I’ve always admired the faculty and graduates, and even though I was never able to participate in the program, I made sure that I attended the SHA Reception at the AASLH annual meeting. It guaranteed that I would meet the people in my field who are among the most ambitious, passionate, and thoughtful.
This year will have a steep learning curve because the program has such a long history but I’m anxious to get started. Thankfully, I’m working with a great team that includes Bob Beatty at AASLH and Kyle McKoy at the Indiana Historical Society, and an outstanding group of Partners, who act as the “board of the trustees”. These Partners are a diverse coalition of organizations that are committed to excellence and professional development as well as significant financial support and currently include AASLH, Conner Prairie, Indiana Historical Society, National Association for Interpretation, and the International Preservation Studies Center. In addition, SHA receives generous financial support from the Kentucky Historical Society, Minnesota Historical Society, Nantucket Historical Association, Ohio Historical Society, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. I’m honored to be in the midst of this crowd (and I get to attend SHA, too!).
Right now, I’m focusing my attention on promoting SHA so that those who are looking for an outstanding immersive learning experience can find us. Certainly, if you or someone you know would benefit, visit HistoryLeadership.org to learn more or contact me. The deadline for applications is May 15. Next, I’ll be working on the syllabus for this fall. It’s already in good shape because it’s been well formed by John Durel and Denny O’Toole (the most recent Directors) and we are able to draw on an incredibly talented pool of speakers. More challenging is fitting the speakers, field trips, activities, and topics in a sensible and convenient order. If you have any suggestions or ideas, let me know.