Affinity Communities

Affinity Communities are informal digital and in-person groups that provide resources, advice, and networking to those interested in particular aspects or niches of public history work. They serve as forums and sounding boards for their members, who work or volunteer with diverse organizations across the country to advance the mission of innovative and inclusive state and local history. Through AASLH and these communities, members stay up-to-date with developments and trends in their area and create programming that serves their audience in the form of Annual Meeting sessions, webinars, in-person workshops, and more. They also advocate for the value of their area to the wider field, and provide guidance for AASLH as we seek to provide meaningful training and resources for these topics. Affinity Communities are where history practitioners gather to learn from, question, guide, and support one another in their work.

Each community is led by a committee of AASLH member volunteers who communicate regularly to steer the agenda, plan events, maintain a web presence and resource library, and facilitate communication with the wider group, with AASLH staff and Council, and with the field as a whole.

Business history preserves the material culture of corporations and tells the story of American business history as well as community history. This AASLH community is designed for professionals within corporations or corporate museums who collect and interpret history or use history to market corporations, and provides a forum for networking and professional development.

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The Educators and Interpreters Community is committed to helping paid and unpaid history professionals create quality educational programming and experiences. By promoting best practices, sharing resources, and providing opportunities to network, the community creates a foundation upon which all professionals can build and grow as they explore museum and informal learning, educational theory, and interpretive techniques.

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The AASLH Emerging History Professionals (EHP) Affinity Community supports, connects, and unites the newest generation of state and local history practitioners through programming that focuses on mentoring and real world advice. Graduate and undergraduate students, hobbyists, early-career professionals, and others who feel that they would benefit from the support offered by this community are welcome to join.

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The Field Services Alliance (FSA) is an organized group of individuals, offices, and agencies that provide training, guidance, and other forms of assistance to local historical societies, archives, libraries, and museums in their respective states or regions.
The Field Services Alliance exists to create a forum to share information, provide mutual support and collegiality, and promote scholarship among those who, on a statewide or regional level, offer educational services to local historical organizations and others who practice history.
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Historic houses are among the most numerous museums in the country, and this community develops programming and resources to address their unique needs. More house museums belong to AASLH as members than to any other organization.

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The Law and Civics Community serves those working to preserve and promote legal and court history around the nation in history organizations of all types and sizes. Its members include university faculty, state and federal court historians and educators, law librarians/archivists/researchers, judicial assistants, a U.S. Supreme Court curator, and independent historical societies affiliated with courts such as the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and the Historical Society of the New York Courts.

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Military sites and collections face unique interpretive and curatorial challenges. The Military History Affinity Community provides advice and direction for the development of programs and services that benefit history institutions with a military focus, as well as museums/historic sites with military items in their collections.

Military History

Robert G. Chenhall’s nomenclature for classifying man-made objects is the standard cataloging tool for thousands of museums and historical organizations across the United States and Canada. Nomenclature’s lexicon of object names, arranged hierarchically within functionally defined categories, has become a de facto standard within the community of history museums in North America.

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The Religious History Affinity Community provides a forum in which the history of all faith communities may be shared, understood, and appreciated. Additionally, the group serves as a resource for sharing best practices in research, interpretation, and exhibition of religious history, particularly for those organizations with minimal experience in these areas.

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The Small Museums Affinity Community provides resources and a forum specifically for institutions with budgets under $250k/year. Through programming and initiatives, this community spotlights and develops successful strategies for sites with limited resources and demonstrates what the field can learn from small museums.

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The Women’s History Affinity Community is comprised of those who are interested in presenting and encouraging accurate, compelling, diverse, and often controversial women’s history. The community encourages thoughtful scholarship, curriculum, interpretive content, public and educational programs, and shares best practices and strategies for including women’s history in sites and locations of all sizes.

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Interested in starting an Affinity Community?

AASLH Affinity Community Committees are member-led. If you have a passion for an area you don’t see represented in this list, we welcome you to start a group. Please contact us for more information.