Community in action at #AASLH2018.

By Aja Bain, AASLH Program and Publications Manager (and Community Enthusiast)

For years as a public historian, I’ve heard that the best conversations at conferences happen in the hallways, when spirited discussion continues long after the audience packs up, when listeners take the session as inspiration to connect with others and think creatively, and when the regular Q&A model of a traditional session evolves into something more equitable and participatory. And for the same number of years, I’ve thought “How do I get in on this?” It can’t just be being in the right place at the right time… can it?

Conference sessions in our field usually have a questions section at the end, but many things can make this problematic for sharing deeper insights: time constraints, tech constraints, and the reality of a situation where you might have to stand up and shout your question across a room full of strangers who may or may not have consulted this helpful flowchart.

Our recurring experiment is to create deliberate informal space for these “hallway conversations.” At this year’s Annual Meeting, join representatives from AASLH groups and colleagues for discussions and one-on-one conversations about emerging trends, new initiatives, and field-wide connections in the Community Conversations Area in the Liberty Foyer. Each conversation has a leader/facilitator, but it’s really more about generating discussion within the group than a one-sided presentation. Each participant brings their own experiences and is free to offer and partake of expertise and ideas from a broad spectrum of peers. There are no slides or podiums; just a group of interested folks who want to discuss diverse topics and to hear what others experience in their work.

Whether you drop in for a moment or stay for the whole conversation, we invite you to join these gatherings to learn, connect, and contribute as a vital part of the AASLH community. Your voice matters, and we are stronger when we all have a platform to speak and a place to listen.

Thursday, August 29

10-10:30 am
Publishing with AASLH
Come chat with AASLH editors about publishing opportunities with our blog, magazine, and book series, and weigh in on future topics and issues to be covered. First time writers with unique ideas and perspectives are especially encouraged to join us!

12:30-1:15 pm
The Management and Deaccession Toolkit: Making the Right Decisions for Your Institution and Collection
Using the most recent draft of the Management and Deaccession Toolkit (an AAM initiative) as a focus for discussion, our Standards and Ethics Committee will explore how the toolkit can help historical organizations constructively assess whole-organization sustainability while considering deaccessioning as part of effective collections management.

3.10-3.50 pm
Diversity, Inclusion, and Religion
Join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Religious History Affinity Community for a discussion of the intersections and challenges of understanding and interpreting these topics. We’ll explore definitions of diversity and the goals of inclusion as “diversity in action” to bring together and amplify essential voices.


Friday, August 30

9:30-10 am
Leadership in History Awards 101
Members of AASLH’s Awards Committee will be on hand to discuss our national awards process and how to craft a great nomination. Come meet your state and regional representatives and learn how you can prepare your exhibits and projects for a winning 2020 awards season.

11:30-12:15 pm
Understanding Web Accessibility
Join John Mahon of Crown Internet LLC and AASLH staff to learn how we are making our new website more accessible than ever, and how your institution can make its web presence more inclusive with thoughtful design and accessibility tips.

3:15-4 pm
Choosing a Collections Management System
PastPerfect, Re:discovery, Mukurtu? Using the newly published collections management system (CMS) Technical Leaflet as a focus for discussion, this conversation with our CMS Task Force will explore how organizations can choose among the dozens of CMS companies on the market to find one that fits their needs and resources. Bring your questions for group troubleshooting.


Saturday, August 31

10-10:45 am
Introducing The Inclusive Historian’s Handbook
Chat with the editors and advisory committee of our newest resource in partnership with NCPH: a digital handbook for centering equity, inclusion, diversity, and service in public history work. Learn about the project’s debut and share feedback and ideas for future content.

Learn more about #AASLH2019!