Creating the History Field’s Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Arcus assists those working or volunteering in the history field to think as entrepreneurs and leaders. Specifically designed for emerging and mid-level professionals and volunteers, Arcus courses help participants understand the most critical topics in the history field and incorporate that understanding into their work. 

Arcus courses are available on the AASLH Resource Center

Access Arcus Courses

What is Arcus?

Arcus is a professional development program designed to help participants think as entrepreneurs and leaders. Through self-paced, online courses, participants will understand the most important topics in the history field and how to incorporate that knowledge into their work. Courses are created by subject matter experts and include topics such as:  

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Accessibility
  • Working with Native American communities and incorporating their perspectives 
  • LGBTQ+ inclusion 
  • Fundraising 
  • Strategic planning

There are three tiers of courses. Participants may advance to the next tier when they complete four or more courses. 


Who should use Arcus?

Arcus has been specifically developed for emerging and mid-level professionals and those who are new to volunteering in history organizations. Individuals working in organizations of any size will benefit from the program, including those entirely run by volunteers. Anyone looking to improve their entrepreneurial and leadership skills and to improve their understanding of critical topics in the history field should take Arcus courses. 


How does Arcus fit into the work you are already doing?

Arcus courses are designed to develop the skills and knowledge of professionals and volunteers and to help them apply newly gained knowledge to improve the operation of their organizations. Arcus will help participants enhance the operation of their institutions by helping them serve a diverse public, raise funds, and plan for the future. 


What does Arcus stand for?

Arcus is a Latin word meaning either arch or bow, both of which we think are evocative of strong, prepared leadership.

How does it work?

Arcus courses are available online and are self-paced so participants can complete them at the time most convenient to their schedule.  

The courses are divided into three tiers, with courses that build on what participants have learned in previous tiers. All participants begin with Tier 1 courses. When they complete four or more courses from Tier 1, they can take courses in Tier 2. Four or more Tier 2 courses are a prerequisite for Tier 3 courses.  

Arcus courses launched on October 1, 2022, with Tier 1 courses. The program will build from there, with additional courses released in all tiers. 

Arcus Certificates

While all courses will be self-paced, participants who complete courses by certain deadlines will be eligible to receive certificates of completion. 

A Fundamentals Certificate will be available to those who complete 12-17 courses.  

A Professional Certificate will be available to those who complete 18 or more courses.

Membership Discounts

AASLH members receive discounts on all our professional development programs, including a $25 discount on all Arcus courses.  

All new Individual Members receive 20% off one Arcus course.  

Click here to learn more about AASLH membership. 

History of Arcus

Arcus was created and originally funded by the Preservation50 coalition, the SRI Foundation, Cultural Heritage Partners, and American Express in 2016.

That year marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Historic Preservation Act, which formally recognized historic preservation as an important policy in the United States. An unprecedented consortium of 100 heritage preservation groups came together under the banner “Preservation50.” They sought to leverage the anniversary to take steps to strengthen the preservation movement in the next 50 years.

Among their top priorities was developing new approaches to preparing emerging leaders of the preservation movement to achieve greater impact, recognizing that the heritage preservation movement must become more visible, entrepreneurial, and diverse to succeed. From this goal evolved Arcus – a leadership academy offering an array of courses in leadership theory and practice tailored to the specific challenges facing leaders in the field.

AASLH acquired Arcus from the SRI Foundation and Cultural Heritage Partners in March 2022.