An Emerging History Professional’s Guide to #AASLH2019

By Casey Wooster, AASLH Emerging History Professionals Affinity Community

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I love conferences. I look forward to inspirational speakers, new connections, and rooms filled with discussions. The smell of coffee mingled with the chance to discover new topics excites me. Most of all, I relish the opportunity to grow as an emerging history professional. 

The 2019 AASLH Annual Meeting offers all this and more with over eighty sessions as well as tours and events. Here are some highlights from this year’s program for my fellow emerging history professionals (and conference enthusiasts):

Thursday, August 29
9:45-10:45 am
New Member/First Time Attendee Reception
Cost: Free; Preregistration Recommended

Are you or your institution a new member of AASLH? Is this your first AASLH Annual Meeting? Come learn about what AASLH and the Annual Meeting have to offer and how you can reap the benefits from your membership and your time at the conference. Also, meet fellow AASLH members, along with members of the AASLH Council and staff.

10:45 am-12 pm
Lightning Sessions—What Was I Waiting For?

Join the Educators and Interpreters Affinity Community for a series of quick talks on the topic of breaking through, taking risks, being creative despite barriers, and creating a workplace culture that embraces change and managed risk. Engage in conversation about how to break through a seemingly impossible issue, task, or topic.

Chair: Megan Wood, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH; Mark Howell, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Williamsburg, VA; and Jacqueline Langholtz, Thomas Jefferson Foundation/Monticello, Charlottesville, VA

5:30-6:30 pm
History Happy Hour
Cost: Free (food and drinks not included)

Looking for a way to network with new colleagues? Many of our Affinity Communities will be hosting informal meet-ups in the hotel or at nearby restaurants and bars where you can come together and meet people with similar professional interests. Find a list of offerings on the AASLH website, the conference app, or at the conference registration desk.

Friday, August 30
12:30-1:45 pm
Seizing the Power of the Pen 

Calling all writers! Whether you are thinking about writing or doing it, this session focuses on the power of the pen to expand the reach of history. Don’t put history books in a box, there are many ways to make history appealing through writing. What are you waiting for?

Chair: Tim Grove, Grove History Consulting, Falls Church, VA; Trevor Jones, History Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; Josh Leventhal, Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, MN; and Rebecca Shrum, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN

4-5:15 pm
Advocating for Equity: How to Talk about Salaries in Your Museum

From unpaid internships, to salaries that don’t pay a living wage to gender disparity, poor pay creates an unhappy workforce. It also influences workforce demographics since those who can afford to accept low salaries tend to be more affluent and less diverse. We’ll discuss the issues—and potential solutions. 

Chair: Scott Wands, Connecticut Humanities, Middletown, CT; Joan Baldwin, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT; Kelsey Brow, King Manor Museum, Jamaica, NY; Ilene Frank, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT; and Diane Jellerette, Norwalk Historical Society, Norwalk, CT

Saturday, August 31
10:30 am–12 pm
Countering the Optics of Distortion and Doing Public History “In Real Time”

How can we expand our repertoires of public engagement by fostering real or virtual spaces for responding to historical controversies in the current political climate? The session’s goal is to provide inspiration for new forms of rapid-response public history, informed by concrete ideas of how to make that possible.

Chair: Nan Kim, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of History, Milwaukee, WI


Be sure to visit the Emerging History Professionals web page for additional resources and join us for a History Happy Hour at the City Tap House Logan Square on Thursday, August 29, from 5:30-6:30 pm!