Applications Being Accepted for NMAAHC StEPS Program

Photo courtesy of National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History & Culture is pleased to announce a new institutional development opportunity for organizations devoted to the research, preservation, and interpretation of African American history, art, and culture.

In partnership with AASLH, applications for the inaugural cohort of the NMAAHC StEPs Program are now being accepted. The NMAAHC program is an adapted version of AASLH’s proven StEPs self-study program which gives small and medium-sized museums, historic sites, and related organizations the opportunity to assess their policies and practices and benchmark themselves against national museum standards. More than 950 history organizations across the US have enrolled in the program.

Program Components
This new program will provide up to seven organizations with a year-long assessment, planning, and cooperative learning opportunity focused on mission, governance, and management. Participants will:

  • Receive and use the official StEPS workbook and curriculum
  • Be assigned a peer mentor to help guide them through the process
  • Participate in two AASLH continuing education webinars
  • Attend both the 2018 AASLH annual conference and the 2019 AAAM annual conference.

Using guidance from a mentor, in-person meetings, webinars, and other tools, participants will form a cohort intended to provide support and a new community of colleagues. For several years, AASLH has encouraged the formation of StEPs groups not only for the benefit of increased networking, but also for the shared learning, validation, and empowerment opportunities the group structure offers.

At the end of the one-year NMAAHC program, participating institutions will not only be a part of a cohort, but they will be able to demonstrate progress toward or fulfillment of national standards in two of the six StEPs workbook sections: Mission, Vision, and Governance and Management.

Eligibility
Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • AAAM institutional membership status
  • Focus on the study, preservation, or interpretation of African American history and culture
  • Annual operating budget size
  • Support letter from executive director or board of directors chair/president
  • Commitment to fully participating in the program, including attending all in-person meetings and webinars, and completing the StEPS workbook activities on an appropriate timeline.

Participation Requirements
Participating organizations will:

  • Dedicate time and staff/support to use the StEPs workbook to assess their policies and practices in two workbook sections
  • Work with their mentor to identify opportunities for improving policies and practices that will, when implemented, move the organization closer to meeting national museum standards
  • Participate in two AASLH continuing education webinars
  • Arrange and fund their own travel to the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City and the 2019 AAAM Annual Meeting (Location TBD). Conference registration will be provided.

Benefits
Participating organizations receive:

  • Full enrollment in the StEPS program
  • StEPs workbook and other program resources
  • Additional physical and virtual resources, including publications and archived webinars
  • One complimentary registration to both the 2018 AASLH conference and the 2019 AAAM conference. (Participants must arrange and fund their own travel to each conference.)
  • A peer mentor, considered a subject matter expert on museum practice national standards, will be assigned to each participating organization to help guide their progress through the program. Each peer mentor will make one site visit to the organization to discuss their progress and have an opportunity for in-person guidance and assessment.

Tentative Timeline

DEADLINE EXTENDED: August 10, 2018
Applications due by August 10, 2018.

August 2018
Announcement of selected applicants by email.

Sept. 26, 2018
In-person orientation meeting to be held in conjunction with the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City

November – April 2019
Museums address Mission, Vision, and Governance curriculum, work with mentor, and participate in AASLH continuing education webinar

March – June 2019
Peer Mentors complete one site visit

May – Aug 2019
Museums address Management curriculum, work with mentor, and participate in AASLH continuing education webinar

August 2019
In-person final meeting, held in conjunction with AAAM Annual Meeting

Applications
Organizations devoted to the research, preservation, and interpretation of African American history, art, and culture are encouraged to apply for this program. Interested organizations must submit the full application including the two files to be uploaded at the end of the form. Deadline for applications is August 10, 2018.

If you have questions about the application, contact Nicole Bryner, NMAAHC Museum Programs Specialist, Office of Strategic Partnerships, at [email protected] or 202.633.1542.