If you manage an historic site or house museum, there are several ways to sharpen your skills in the next few months.
Historic House Museum workshop at the Haas-Lilienthal House in San Francisco, 2014.
For nearly fifteen years, the American Association for State and Local History has offered a two-day workshop on historic house museum issues and operations and next month it will be in Charleston, South Carolina on February 26-27, 2015. Held in partnership with the Historic Charleston Foundation (one of the oldest historic preservation organizations in the US) and co-taught by me and Dr. George McDaniel of Drayton Hall, we’ll examine a wide range of topics from the unique perspective of house museums and historic sites, including leadership, interpretation, disaster preparedness, membership, and audience, through interactive presentations, group discussions, and site-specific exercises. You’ll leave with a better sense of how your organization can better fulfill its mission and be more financially sustainable. Registration is $345, $270 for AASLH members, plus there’s a $40 discount if you register by January 22. Be sure to add a day to explore the historic sites in Charleston–it’s one of the best places to see a wide variety of visitor experiences in one place.
New this year is “Re-inventing the Historic House Museum,” a one-day workshop offering current thinking, practical information, and solutions to the challenges facing historic sites. The historic house museum in America is not dead nor are most of them dying. The field, however, needs to reflect and renew as the world around our historic sites continues to change. This workshop was inspired by a sold-out symposium presented by the Historic House Museum Consortium of Washington, DC at Gunston Hall in March 2014, and now has been taken nationally to various regions by the American Association for State and Local History. Ken Turino of Historic New England and I will be giving the core presentations and the others will vary to take advantage of the workshop location. We’ll be at Strawbery Banke in New Hampshire on April 21, 2015 and the Margaret Mitchell House in Georgia on June 12, 2015. Registration is $170; $95 for members of AASLH and NEMA (for April 21).