History Leadership Institute

The History Leadership Institute (formerly “Developing History Leaders @SHA” and the “Seminar For Historical Administration”) is the best professional development opportunity for leaders of history organizations of all types and sizes. Since 1959, it has provided history professionals the tools, ideas, and connections that enhance their ability to lead their institutions and the field. During this three-week residential seminar, History Leadership Institute Associates dive deep into a broad range of current and future issues facing the history and museum field.  Through case studies, workshops, forums, and site visits facilitated by dozens of nationally-recognized experts working on the field’s leading edge, Associates discuss the most pressing issues facing history institutions and develop strategies for addressing them.

The History Leadership Institute occurs over three weeks each November at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Program alumni hold executive positions at such prestigious institutions as the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Dallas Heritage Village, Hanford Mills Museum, Senator John Heinz History Center, Historic Alexandria, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, North Dakota State Historical Society, Oberlin Heritage Center, President Lincoln’s Cottage, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Workman & Temple Family Homestead Museum, Yukon Transportation Museum, and many more.

The History Leadership Institute is led by director Max A. van Balgooy, president of Engaging Places LLC and a professor in the Museum Studies Program at the George Washington University. The program is supported and guided by a diverse coalition of organizations that are committed to excellence and professional development:

Advisory Board


  • Georgia Historical Society
  • Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Minnesota Historical Society

Applications for the Class of 2018 (October 27-November 16) are due May 15, 2018: Click here to learn more and apply.