What are AASLH Online Courses?

AALH Online Courses are designed for busy history-doers. Each course is offered twice a year, but class sizes are limited. Click here to view courses currently open for registration. Please see each individual course description for more information on course style and requirements.

Small Museum Pro! (SMP!) is a professional certificate program for history practitioners who work or would like to work, in small history-minded organizations. It provides practical guidance and education on a variety of topics. To receive a certificate, applicants must complete and pass five courses from the program. Eligible courses are listed below.

  • Caring for Museum Collections
  • Collections Management
  • Developing Exhibitions: Planning
  • Introduction to Financial Management
  • Leadership and Administration for History Organizations
  • Museum Education and Outreach

Submit the Small Museum Pro! Certificate Request Form when you have completed and passed five of the courses listed above.

Registration for AASLH Online Courses is open to the public. Check on course registration and register for upcoming courses in the AASLH Resource Center.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Cancellations/Refunds for online continuing education (webinars and online courses) must be submitted in writing via email or mail. Cancellations made prior to the start date for the online course or the day of the webinar will be given a full refund. No refund will be given after the start date for the online course or on/after the day of the webinar. Registrants may transfer their registration to another person. Registrations cannot be transferred between courses or course sessions. AASLH is not responsible for cancellations that were mailed or emailed but never received.

The 2021 online course schedule is currently being updated and finalized. Please check back soon for a complete schedule of courses.

Winter

Open Registration: October 1, 2020 through January 11, 2021

Course Session Dates
Introduction to Financial Management January 25 – February 22, 2021 
Basics of Archives January 25 – February 28, 2021 
Developing Exhibitions: Design January 25 – March 21, 2021 

Spring

Open Registration: December 1, 2020 through March 1, 2021

Course Session Dates
Leadership and Administration March 1 – April 25, 2021        
Financial Structures and Strategy March 22 – April 19, 2021
Caring for Museum Collections March 22 – May 16, 2021

Summer

Open Registration: March 1, 2021 through May 24, 2021

Course Session Dates
Introduction to Financial Management May 24 – June 21, 2021                
Basics of Archives June 7 – July 11, 2021
Caring for Museum Collections June 7 – August 1, 2021
Leadership and Administration June 7 – August 1, 2021

Fall

Open Registration: June 1, 2021 through August 16, 2021

Course Session Dates
Financial Structures and Strategy August 30 – September 27, 2021
Basics of Archives August 30 – October 4, 2021

Course Catalog

Course Description

The Basics of Archives online course is designed to give organizations and individuals who are responsible for the care of historical records an introduction to the core aspects of managing and protecting historical records collections, using appropriate principles and best practices.

The course consists of seven lessons:

  • Archives and Archivists
  • Acquiring Your Collections
  • Processing Collections
  • Housing Your Collections
  • Access and Outreach
  • Digital Records
  • Digitization

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, self-paced course with instructor feedback

LENGTH: 5 weeks; 15-20 hours to be completed anytime during the five-week course period (dates above).

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Online chat. There are no required times to be online.

MATERIALS: There are no required texts for this course. All materials will be provided.

GRADING: Successful completion of this course (70% or higher) will earn a Certificate of Completion from AASLH.

COST: $85 AASLH Members / $160 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with archival materials.

Instructor

Charlie Arp has a BA and MA in history from Ohio University where he specialized in archival studies. From 1991 to 2003 he worked at the Ohio Historical Society (OHS) where he held a variety of positions including archival processor, reference archivist, Head of Reference, Assistant State Archivist and State Archivist. As Assistant State Archivist he was the digital projects coordinator and he formed and chaired the Ohio Electronic Records Committee, an interdisciplinary group formed to draft electronic records policy, guidelines, and best practices for state and local governments in Ohio.  As State Archivist he was a senior level manager responsible for the planning, coordination, and administration of the operations of the State Archives including the Local Government Records program and the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor Archives/Library.

In 2003 Charlie was hired by the Battelle Memorial Institute as Enterprise Content Manager. At Battelle Charlie pioneered managing electronic records in lieu of paper records. Charlie also supervised the Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) archives. GLP records fall under FDA regulations to ensure that the records documenting scientific research for substances put in or on humans are created reliably and maintained authentically over time. In 2015 Charlie tested and validated the use of an electronic management program to enable Battelle to create, manage, preserve and use electronic records as part of submissions to the FDA.

In early 2016 Charlie accepted an offer for early retirement from Battelle. Since then he has started an archival and records management consulting firm and is writing a book on archives.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description

This eight week course will deal with the physical care and preservation of your museum collections. This practical course will cover how collections age and deteriorate, handling collections, storage requirements, environmental considerations, housekeeping, and risk management.

Each week of this course contains a narrative discussion of a topic in the form of Lessons. The lessons and web-based readings, combined with your professional experiences, will provide you with a grounding in the week’s topic.

Participant Outcomes

After completing this course, participants will understand principles and best practices of physical care and preservation of museum collections including the following:

  • Know the major causes of deterioration for museum objects and how to use that information to enhance long-term preservation;
  • Know how to handle objects in the safest way;
  • Know how to examine and document the condition of objects in your collections;
  • Know how to display your collections in a way that prolongs their life;
  • Know how to store and house your collections in the way that best preserves them;
  • Understand the importance of environmental control for the preservation of your collections;
  • Know the best ways to clean your museum; and
  • Know how to perform a risk assessment of your museum and use it to write a disaster plan.

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course 

LENGTH: 8 weeks 

PARTICIPATION: Weekly readings and exercises; Weekly forum discussions; Four real-time Zoom video chats – schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course – if you are unable to attend a chat you can view the recording and then post your thoughts/questions in the General Forum; Students should expect to spend approximately 5 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: For this course, it is preferred participants have access to museum collections either as a staff member, volunteer, or intern. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, adjustments have been made to the course to adapt to situations where participants may be teleworking and not have immediate access to their organization’s collections. However, participants will need a moderate knowledge of their organization’s environment and policies, or access to a staff member with that knowledge. There are no required texts for this course. All other materials will be provided.

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with conservation of collections.

Instructor

Rebecca Elder is an experienced cultural heritage preservation consultant who helps clients find practical and achievable solutions to care for their history collections. She collaborates with libraries, museums, archives, municipalities and families to tailor preservation plans to their resources and timelines.

In 2014, Rebecca founded Rebecca Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation to provide preservation advice to clients holding history collections. Rebecca has also worked at Amigos Library Services, the Harvard University Libraries and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Rebecca received her MSIS and a Certificate of Advanced Studies for Conservation of Library and Archival Materials from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, and now is adjunct faculty at the iSchool, teaching Preservation Management and Treatment Techniques for Bound Materials.  She also serves as coordinator for the National Heritage Responders, a team of volunteer conservators and allied professionals who respond to disasters.

Rebecca is a Professional Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. She also engages in professional service with the American Institute for Conservation, the Society of American Archivists, the Society of Southwest Archivists, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums.

Rebecca lives in Austin, TX with her four cats: Frankie, Princess Snowball, Thingy and Tucker the Most Interesting Cat In The World (@heytuckercat on Instagram). She knits obsessively, collects smashed pennies, and isn’t afraid to admit that she loves 1970s white polyester jumpsuit Elvis.  Looking to connect? Head to www.elderpreservation.com. She’ll be glad you did.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description

This eight week course will introduce participants to the professional principles and practices in the management of museum collections. Topics will include collections development, registration and record keeping with an emphasis on the development of Collection Policies and Procedures and what it means to be intellectually and physically responsible for museum objects.

At the beginning of the course participants will be asked to select five objects from their museum to work with throughout the eight weeks. During the course, participants will be working on a collection management policy draft, and conducting some management tasks with their mini-collection objects.

Participant Outcomes

By the end of this course participants will:

  • Develop a detailed draft of a Collections Policy
  • Identify a collection of objects
  • Develop a standardized set of registration records and forms including inventory, catalog, accession, and loans
  • Learn about various registration numbering systems and how to mark objects appropriately
  • Discuss issues related to collections strategies, mission, purpose, and scope of collections
  • Develop a broader understanding of legal and ethical concerns of managing collections

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 8 weeks

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Four one-hour online chats, participation is expected for at least two chats – chat schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course – if you are unable to attend a chat you can read the transcript and then post your thoughts/questions in the General Forum; weekly readings and assignments; final course assignment. Students should expect to spend approximately 2-5 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: One required text: John E. Simmons, Things Great and Small: Collections Management Policies, 2nd Ed. Washington, DC: American Alliance of Museums, 2017 (ISBN 10:1-933253-03-07). Optional text: Daniel B. Reibel. Registration Methods for the Small MuseumFourth Edition, Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2008 (Paperback ISBN 978-0-7591-1131-8)  (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with your registration. You must order the book separately from the book seller of your choice.)

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with collections management. This course requires participants have access to museum collections to successfully complete this course, either as a staff member, volunteer, or intern.

Instructor

Dr. Erin Richardson facilitates museums’ and cultural organizations’ capacity for mission delivery, particularly relating to art and artifact collections. With over 20 years of experience working with museum communities at Five Colleges, Inc in Amherst, MA, Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY, among other organizations, she founded Frank & Glory in 2018 to assist museums in solving long-term collection problems so that they may effectively serve their communities. Clients include the American Numismatic Society, New Brunswick Museum (Canada), Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Olana Partnership. Her research and writing centers on how New York State’s unique chartering policy for museums affects organization health. Richardson holds a PhD in Leadership and Policy from Niagara University, a MA in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a BA in American Studies from the SUNY Geneseo.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description

Developing Exhibitions: Planning is an online course about how to plan exhibitions. This course focuses on developing an understanding of current issues within exhibit development and creation of original planning material for a potential exhibit at participants’ institution (or other selected venue). Drawing upon their professional and educational experiences, course participants will examine their own perspectives on exhibition development and strengthen their role within its practice.

Whether participants come to the course with an imaginary exhibit in mind, or with the intention to develop an actual exhibit, this course will guide them through the process, providing encouragement and guidance along the way and a chance to exchange ideas and experiences. Educational support is provided by the course instructor, the participants’ professional colleagues in the course and in their institution, and visiting professionals who may join our online chats.

Participation Requirements

  • Complete required readings.
  • Review supplemental examples and case studies.
  • Complete weekly assignments, including an exhibit critique.
  • Participate in two online chats. (If unable to attend, you may receive credit by submitting a written response to the chat transcript).
  • Share your own knowledge, experience and resources with the class.

Participant Outcomes

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Research and evaluate exhibitions around the country
  • Develop, describe, and present exhibition concepts that are impactful based upon a museums mission, vision, audiences and goals
  • Consider and incorporate the perspectives and concerns of multiple audience groups into exhibit planning
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of an exhibit concept using professional feedback, and adapt it accordingly
  • Engage with the professional community to build personal knowledge, as well as contributing to the field of museum exhibitions

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 8 weeks

TIME COMMITMENT: Approximately 3-5 hours of work per week

PARTICIPATION STYLE: This is a dynamic course comprised of reading and research, exhibit development practice, and evaluation of participants’ own work and the work of others. A free flow of ideas, supportive and constructive peer analysis, an equal exchange of information and use of critical thinking will make for a lively class that is both enjoyable and highly productive. Participants should ask questions, provide their own thoughts and engage with each other as we go along.

MATERIALS: One required text: Alice Parman, Ann Craig, Lyle Murphy, Liz White, and Lauren Willis. Exhibit Makeovers, A Do-It-Yourself Workbook for Small Museums, 2nd Ed. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with registration. Participants must order the book separately from the book seller of their choice. A discount code is provided after registration.)

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH. This course is a prerequisite for Developing Exhibitions: Design.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries who have little to no experience with exhibit development and design.

Instructor

Profile headshot of woman against pink background Christina Ferwerda is an independent museum consultant specializing in content, exhibit, and curriculum development, and has been creating exhibits and programs with international museum clients since 2001. She is known for infusing cultural experiences with joy, wonder, and fun by drawing on her work as an educator in New York City. Christina develops content into compelling storylines and interactive experiences that engage multiple modes of learning. She has worked for a wide range of clients, including the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC), Wyckoff House Museum (Brooklyn, NY), National Archives (Washington, DC), and the D&H Canal Museum (High Falls, NY). She is enthusiastic about supporting the evolution the field as an Adjunct Professor in the Exhibit and Experience Design Master’s Degree Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York.

Course Description

Developing Exhibitions: Design is an online course about how to design exhibitions. Guided by an expert instructor and supported by cooperative student learning, participants will design an actual exhibit. Participants will decide what their exhibit will be about and why, identify its storyline ideas and organizing concepts, and decide on its look and feel.

Throughout the course, participants will complete readings from the required textbook, review supplemental examples and case studies posted to the course site, and conduct an exhibit critique. Whether participants come to the course with an imaginary exhibit in mind, or with the intention to develop an actual exhibit, this course will guide them through each step, providing encouragement and guidance along the way and a chance to exchange ideas and experiences.

Participation Requirements

  • Study materials directly within the online class site;
  • Find other resources on the web or in the community and share them with the class;
  • Share your own knowledge, experience and resources with the class; and
  • Complete one or more exhibit-development assignments and share your work with the class.

Participant Outcomes

Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Have firsthand, guided experience with a proven, step-by-step process for planning exhibits;
  • Have experience with tools that will assist you in exhibit planning for your museum;
  • Be familiar with other resources for more information; and
  • Have a network of small-museum professionals with whom to confer on future exhibits.

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 8 weeks

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Readings, discussion (two real-time online chats and weekly forum assignments – chat schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course – if a participant is unable to attend a chat they can read the transcript and then post their thoughts/questions in the General Forum), and assignments. Students should expect to spend at least 5 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: One required text: Alice Parman, Ann Craig, Lyle Murphy, Liz White, and Lauren Willis. Exhibit Makeovers, A Do-It-Yourself Workbook for Small Museums, 2nd Ed. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with registration. Participants must order the book separately from the book seller of their choice.)

GRADING: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn a Certificate of Completion from AASLH.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries who have little to no experience with exhibit development and design. Developing Exhibitions: Planning is a prerequisite for this course. Students must have previously completed and passed Developing Exhibitions: Planning before taking Developing Exhibitions: Design

Instructor

Margaret Middleton (they/them) is an independent exhibit designer and museum consultant with a BFA in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design and over 15 years of museum experience. Their writing about the intersection of museum work and social justice has appeared in publications including Exhibition (NAME), Dimensions (ASTC), and Museum magazine (AAM). In 2014 Middleton developed the popular Family Inclusive Language Chart.

Course Description

Intended for those with little to moderate familiarity with financial concepts, this four-week course helps students better understand institutional finance and accountability. Staff, board members, and volunteers will find this course applicable to their work within nonprofit organizations, agencies, and other structures.

“Financial Structures and Strategy” introduces the “big ideas” of organizational financial management: functional accounting, transparency, the annual reporting process, and the relationship between finance and mission. Not only will students learn the basic structures and functions of financial oversight, they will also understand how to activate finance as a strategic tool to benefit organizational planning and evaluation.

Over the four weeks, students participate in dynamic discussions, review relevant and timely readings, and ultimately learn how to prepare and analyze financial systems.

The course is divided into four weekly segments, each accompanied by an online lesson, forum, chat, and assignment:

  • Week 1: Course overview and introduction to financial systems
  • Week 2: Overview of the annual audit process and preparation of financial statements
  • Week 3: Introduction to the IRS Form 990, UBIT, and other tax considerations
  • Week 4: Strategies and recommendations for long-term institutional financial health

Note: The Introduction to Financial Management course presented by AASLH is not required as a prerequisite for this course, though may prove useful in preparation.

Participant Outcomes

Participation in this course will help you:

  • Understand basic nonprofit functional accounting systems and the role of financial transparency
  • Structure and execute the annual financial reporting process
  • Analyze financial data according to mission relevance
  • Establish financial procedures to ensure financial sustainability.

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course 

LENGTH: 4 weeks 

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Weekly real-time online office hours; weekly assignments; final course assignment; Students should expect to spend 2-5 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: One required text, Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums, Rebekah Beaulieu, 2017 (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with your registration. You must order the book separately from the book seller of your choice.) Students should bring real-life financial information to the course to be used in course assignments to create a budget. Students should also have access to and basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel or a similar spreadsheet program as it will be used extensively to complete assignments. Note: all institutional financial information will be kept confidential and shared only with the instructor. 

COST: $150 AASLH Members / $250 Nonmembers

Participant Outcomes

Participation in this course will help you:

  • Understand basic nonprofit functional accounting systems and the role of financial transparency
  • Structure and execute the annual financial reporting process
  • Analyze financial data according to mission relevance
  • Establish financial procedures to ensure financial sustainability.

Who Should Take This Course

Whether you have financial responsibilities at your organization, wish to build a skill set for a leadership position in the future, or simply want to better comprehend and contribute to financial decision-making, this course is for you.

Instructor

Rebekah Beaulieu, Ph.D. is the Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, an art museum, National Landmark historic house, and 13-acres of gardens and grounds in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She serves on the faculty of AASLH’s History Leadership Institute, and is a member of the Association’s Finance Committee. Becky is also a board member of the New England Museum Association and Connecticut Humanities, and was recently appointed an AAM Accreditation Commissioner.

Becky is the author of Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). She holds an M.A in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and in Arts Administration from Columbia University; she earned her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description

Designed for staff and volunteers of all abilities and organizations of all sizes, this four-week course provides an accessible, clear, and even fun introduction to financial concepts. From understanding expenses and income to how to establish an endowment, this course will equip you with a toolkit to engage with finance on your terms and to your ability.

Over the four weeks, students will participate in dynamic discussions, review relevant and timely readings, and ultimately build a real, usable budget tailored to their organization’s needs.  

The course is divided into four weekly segments, each accompanied by an online lesson, forum, chat, and assignment:

  • Week One: Introduction to financial terminology and reporting systems
  • Week Two: Understanding earned, contributed, and investment income; UBIT
  • Week Three: Understanding expenses, cost projections and analysis
  • Week Four: The relationship between finance and mission relevance; financial health

Participant Outcomes

At the end of this course you will:

    • Understand processes related to budgets and basic financial systems in accordance with best practices
    • Understand institutional financial planning, goal-setting, and analysis
    • Bridge mission- and non-mission-based activities with financial outcomes
    • Feel more comfortable and better equipped to create operational and special project budgets

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 4 weeks 

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Weekly assignments; final course assignment; elective participation in online real-time chats. Students should expect to spend 2-5 hours per week on the course. 

MATERIALS: One required text, Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums, Rebekah Beaulieu, 2017 (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with your registration. You must order the book separately from the book seller of your choice.) Students should bring real-life financial information to the course to be used in course assignments to create a budget. Students should also have access to and basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel or a similar spreadsheet program as it will be used extensively to complete assignments. Note: all institutional financial information will be kept confidential and shared only with the instructor. 

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

Whether you have financial responsibilities at your organization, wish to build a skill set for a leadership position in the future, or simply want to better comprehend and contribute to financial decision-making, this course is for you.  

Instructor

Rebekah Beaulieu, Ph.D. is the Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, an art museum, National Landmark historic house, and 13-acres of gardens and grounds in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She serves on the faculty of AASLH’s History Leadership Institute, and is a member of the Association’s Finance Committee. Becky is also a board member of the New England Museum Association and Connecticut Humanities, and was recently appointed an AAM Accreditation Commissioner.

Becky is the author of Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). She holds an M.A in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and in Arts Administration from Columbia University; she earned her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description

History museum leadership is more complex and demanding than ever before, requiring updated and innovative ways to meet mission and keep organizations healthy. Thoughtful, intentional museum administration and leadership matters, regardless of the size or focus of your organization.

During the eight weeks of this course, modules addressing governance and administrative structures, nonprofit status and the public trust, mission and vision, the relationship between board and staff, including their roles and responsibilities; strategic planning, human resource development and management, and leadership will be covered.

The course is divided into eight weekly segments and includes a combination of topical reading assignments and related weekly assignments and online chats. A final course assignment is due the last week of class.

Week 1: The Role, Challenges, and Expectations of History Museums Today
Week 2: The New Museum Leadership
Week 3: The Importance of Museum Vision and Mission
Week 4: Aligning Organizational Operating Models, Administrative and Management Responsibilities, Relationships, Structures, Systems and Networks
Week 5: Museum Boards Are Leaders, Too: Their Roles, Responsibilities, Expectations, and Their Relationship to the Director and to Museum Staff
Week Six:  Human Resource Management – Building Effective Teams and Mentoring
Week Seven:  Making Leadership Intentional at All Levels Week Eight: Charting Your Museum’s Future, Inspiring Action, and Measuring Effectivenes

Participant Outcomes

After completing this course, participants will understand principles and best practices of Leadership and Administration including the following:

  • the public trust role and governance structure of most nonprofit museums;
  • the importance of museum mission, vision, change, and strategic planning;
  • the major administrative and leadership roles and responsibilities of the board and staff;
  • the key issues in human resource management, including building effective teams
  • why leadership matters at all levels;
  • charting your museum’s future and measuring effectiveness; and
  • where the museum field is heading in the future.

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 8 weeks

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Bi-weekly one-hour online chats; weekly assignments; final course assignment. Students should expect to spend 3-4 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: Two required texts: Leadership Matters: Leading Museums in an Age of Discord, Second Edition, Anne W. Ackerson and Joan H. Baldwin, 2019 and Museum Administration 2.0, Hugh H. Genoways and Lynne M. Irleland, Revised by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, 2016. (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with your registration. You must order the book separately from the book seller of your choice.)

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

Successful participants will be individuals in institutional leadership positions at the staff, board, and volunteer levels (where volunteers supervise others), who have significant decision-making responsibilities and who have the ability to affect positive, substantive change within their organizations.  This course is not appropriate for students, interns, or volunteers who do not have managerial responsibilities. We recommend that only one person per institution take this course at a time. To read about a participant’s experience, take a look at this blog post by a Leadership and Administration student: Leadership Matters At Every Level.

Instructor

In a career spanning three decades, Anne Ackerson has served as director of several historic house museums and historical societies in central and eastern New York, the director of the Museum Association of New York, and now currently serves as the executive director of the National Council of State Archivists.

In 1997 Anne began an independent consulting practice focusing on organizational development issues for the smaller nonprofit cultural institution. She writes regularly about management and leadership issues for cultural institutions in her blog, Leading by Design. She is a frequent workshop/webinar presenter on issues of museum ethics, executive leadership, financial management, and board roles and responsibilities. In addition to teaching the AASLH Online Course Leadership and Administration for History Organizations, she developed curriculum materials and a webinar on strategic planning for the American Association of State and Local History’s STEPS program, a national standards program for history museums.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description

At their heart, regardless of type or size, museums are engaging, dynamic places of education. This AASLH online course, Museum Education and Outreach, is about how we can facilitate visitors’ meaningful and memorable experiences in the informal environments of museums. The program looks at the larger umbrella of programming at sites and explores the large concept of who our audiences are, how best to connect with them, and what is needed to develop various methods.

This course requires regular check-ins, sharing and commenting on peer work, and participation in scheduled live chats. Participants will help shape the flow of the course in addition to providing resources and insights on each other’s work. Assignments are made weekly to allow for regular feedback and dialogue. While work can be done at your own pace, meeting deadlines is encouraged to maximize the experience. Throughout the course you will develop a toolkit of strategies, policies, and documents ready for immediate implementation.

  • Week 1: Defining the Museum / Museums and Memory
  • Week 2: Interpretation Strengths, Weaknesses, and Best Practices
  • Week 3: Audiences and Identifying Your Key Ones
  • Week 4: Education Program Planning, Management, and Evaluation
  • Week 5: Organizing of Museum Education and Outreach
  • Week 6: Community Partners and Funding
  • Week 7: Leading Staff and Volunteers
  • Week 8: Action Plan for Future Programming at your Museum

Participant Outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • describe the characteristics and learning needs of various museum audiences;
  • summarize what we know about learning in museums;
  • assess the strengths and weaknesses of interpretive techniques and program approaches;
  • utilize a system for planning, operating, and evaluating museum educational programs;
  • access resources to assist you in future development of effective learning experiences

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 8 weeks

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Bi-weekly one-hour online chats – schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course – if you are unable to attend a chat you can read the transcript and then post your thoughts/questions in the General Forum; weekly readings and assignments; final course assignment. Students should expect to spend approximately 5 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: One required text: The Museum Educator’s Manual: Educators Share Successful Techniques, Second Edition, Anna Johnson, Kimberly A. Huber, Nancy Cutler, Melissa Bingmann and Tim Grove, 2017. (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with your registration. You must order the book separately from the book seller of your choice.)

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with developing education programs and goals for museums. Successful participants should be ready to look past traditional methods and challenge themselves to work around site-specific hurdles.

Instructor

Currently seeking a new instructor for this course.