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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AASLH’s Educators & Interpreters Community addresses the needs of educators and interpreters in history museums and history organizations as they seek to increase appreciation of community history.

The Educators & Interpreters Committee primary goals are:

  • Seek and promote quality education and interpretation sessions for the AASLH Annual Meeting.
  • Promote education and interpretation best practices by using AASLH resources, including publications, books, and Technical Leaflets.
  • Provide opportunities for networking and resource sharing through the use of social media, beginning with an educators and interpreters blog.
  • Serve as AASLH membership ambassadors by helping recruit and retain individual members.
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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.

Their goals include providing support and professional development opportunities for emerging history professionals and creating and maintaining physical and digital spaces where EHPs can meet, discuss ideas, and network. To achieve these goals, they plan to arrange mentoring sessions between EHPs and experienced professionals, offer CV and interview advice, organize networking opportunities, schedule experiential and problem-solving sessions at the annual conferences, and encourage the building of friendships among EHPs.

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The Field Services Alliance (FSA) is an organized group of individuals, offices, and agencies that provide training opportunities, guidance, technical services, 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.

FSA members are paid staff members of organizations that have and promote an organized, ongoing program for delivery of services to small, grassroots history organizations. If your historical organization needs assistance, contact the field services office in your state.

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Historic houses are among the most numerous museums in the country and AASLH consistently develops services to meet the needs of historic house museum professionals. AASLH maintains numerous resources for historic house museums and prides itself on having more historic house museums as members than any other professional museum organization.

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The Legal History 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 history is an important subset of the history field. The AASLH Military History Committee provides advice and direction for the development of programs and services that benefit U.S. 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 Group 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 Community assists America’s small museums in their endeavors, helping to make them stronger and more responsive to their communities. The Committee encourages small museums to share successful strategies in workshops and national meetings and demonstrate what the field can learn from small museums. Through its programming and initiatives, AASLH plans to strengthen the small museum, an important steward of local and national history.

If you’re looking for a place to network with your peers, find answers to questions, explore opportunities to learn, and more, you’ve come to the right place. This community was created by Small Museum professionals and their colleagues.

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The Women’s History Affinity Group is the newest AASLH Affinity Group. It is comprised of those who are interested in presenting and encouraging accurate, compelling, diverse, and often controversial women’s history. The affinity group 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.