Making History Matter: A Campaign to Help History Organizations Thrive

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) invites you to join our five-year, $1-million comprehensive campaign—Making History Matter—to better help history organizations and the people who work in them to thrive as we approach the nation’s 250th anniversary. Supporting the campaign enables AASLH to help organizations everywhere to do more inclusive history, foster critical thinking, and be more central to important conversations in their communities.

It also empowers AASLH to help small history organizations prepare themselves to take full advantage of the U.S. Semiquincentennial, and to approach this significant anniversary emphasizing the inclusive and relevant work of history organizations.

Through this campaign, AASLH will raise at least $1 million by 2026 to provide $750,000 in endowment funds to invest in the long-term health of the organization, and another $250,000 to support new programs in years leading up to the 250th in 2026.

Overall, this campaign will widen AASLH’s current path:

  • Promoting inclusive history and inclusive practices. Underscoring history’s and history organizations’ relevance.
  • Advancing the field through continual professional development.
  • Connecting individual professionals and volunteers to each other and to the most critical issues in the field.
  • Emphasizing the reach, especially of small history organizations, in all corners of the country.

These are objectives that AASLH has been pursuing for the past five years and that reflect the priorities of the organization going back to its very founding in 1940.

Immediate Investment of $250,000 in Programs


  • Expanding History Leadership Institute scholarships for diversity and for small institutions.
  • Expanding Annual Conference and Virtual Conference scholarships for diversity and for small institutions.
  • Expanding access to webinars, workshops, and courses to a broader range of participants.

Small Institutions

  • Supporting a Local History Outreach Coordinator position to help small institutions connect to 250th commemoration planning, collaborative networks of peer institutions, and to AASLH resources after 2026.
  • Establishing a fund to incentivize completion of Standards and Excellence Programs for History Organizations (STEPS) certificates by institutions.
  • Supporting a STEPS Coordinator position to foster creation of STEPS cohorts, simultaneously serving multiple institutions.

Long-term Sustainability of Investing $750,000 in the Endowment

  • Annual interest on this addition to the Endowment and on the Endowment’s growth over the next five years will help underwrite a new staff position, such as a Senior Manager for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion.

Erin Carlson Mast, Chair
Lincoln Presidential Foundation, Chicago, Illinois

Michelle Banks
African American Firefighter Museum, Los Angeles, California

Norman Burns
Conner Prairie, Fishers, Indiana

Anita Nowery Durel
Museum consultant, Baltimore, Maryland

John Fleming
J E Fleming LLC, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Jim Gardner
Museum consultant and author, Washington, DC

Frances Levine
St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

Burt Logan
Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio

Jennifer Kilmer
Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, Washington