Re-Introducing the History Leadership Institute

Indiana Historical Society.

For the past sixty years, the History Leadership Institute has been the preeminent professional development opportunity for mid- and advanced-career professionals at history organizations of all types and sizes. It began as a six-week residential program at Colonial Williamsburg to train individuals with academic history backgrounds in the nuts and bolts of administration; over the past several decades, the program has evolved considerably, with its content, format, and audience transforming to meet the needs of a dynamic, growing field.

Just in the past few years, AASLH has ushered in several major enhancements to the program. Under the leadership of director Max van Balgooy, the History Leadership Institute has increased its focus on the major issues and questions facing history organizations. The yearly seminar challenges history professionals to ask not “Are we doing things right?” but rather to ask “Are we doing the right things?” This shift in focus was accompanied by the change to the current name in 2018. Simultaneously, we also began conducting deeper research to determine how HLI could best serve the field, announcing earlier this year that the program would move from November to June and would redouble its efforts to advance diversity, inclusion, and access.

We are excited today to share further details of these changes and begin accepting applications for the class of 2020. Beginning next June, the seminar will include two weeks of online learning, followed by a two-week in-person experience. The virtual online component will allow the select group of Associates to engage in both live and asynchronous conversations around major questions and readings. Immediately following, Associates will convene in-person for a two-week residential seminar hosted by the Indiana Historical Society. While in Indianapolis, Associates will join nationally-recognized experts working on the field’s leading edge to tackle the most pressing challenges confronting history institutions and develop strategies for addressing them. Both online and in-person, HLI’s cohort of Associates will dive deep into a broad range of current and future national issues facing the history and museum community. Additional details are as follows:

  • Program Dates: June 1­–13, 2020 (online); June 14–27, 2020 (residential).
  • Location: Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Lodging: Associates will be housed in two-bedroom, two-bathroom suites at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
  • Cost: $3,500/person, including tuition and lodging.
  • Scholarships: Two full-cost scholarships are available. More information here.
  • Application Deadline: December 15, 2019. Apply here.

We believe these changes will make the program more accessible and better meet the evolving needs of today’s professionals while continuing HLI’s long tradition of preparing individuals to lead institutions and the field.

In addition to this newly re-envisioned seminar, the History Leadership Institute has begun new ventures to expand its impact as well. The History Leadership Forum will take place each year at the AASLH Annual Meeting. In this workshop, history leaders from around the country will have an opportunity to explore a critical issue or cutting-edge approach to enhance the effectiveness and impact of their organizations. This year in Philadelphia, longtime HLI facilitator Julie Johnson will lead the forum, focusing on how to empower leaders at all levels of an organization.

In future years, AASLH also plans to introduce a History Leadership Symposium. Our hope is that the symposium, which will be scheduled in response to the needs of the field and available funding, will convene about two dozen experts and experienced leaders from throughout the history community to address a single major issue. Participants would be encouraged to use the symposium discussion as a launching point for articles, white papers, Technical Leaflets, or other products that can serve the wider field. Both the forum and symposium represent opportunities to engage a much wider range of history leaders than the small group of Associates who attend the annual seminar.

We believe this new vision for the History Leadership Institute will reaffirm its offerings as the premier professional development opportunities for mid- and advanced-career history professionals. HLI’s suite of programs will provide people at all management levels the tools, ideas, and connections to advance their careers, their organizations, and the broader field.

Learn more at www.historyleadership.org.