By Sean Blinn, Chair, AASLH Small Museums Committee

The AASLH Annual Conference is one the highlights of the year for many of us in the history museum field, with panels, tours, workshops, events, and opportunities to meet and talk with our peers from around the country. Each year, AASLH’s Small Museums Affinity Group Committee (SMC) develops a list of sessions that we think might be particularly beneficial for professionals at small museums, whether through the subject matter, featured presenters who are experienced with small museums, or any number of other factors.

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list! The best sessions you can attend are the ones that meet your own unique needs. But these struck us as some of the more interesting and helpful for people working with small museums.

Many SMC members will be at the Annual Conference in Boise and we are looking forward to talking with you in person. As happens almost every year, the SMC is hosting a luncheon (pre-registration required, $48 on Thursday, September 7), and a committee meeting (free, and no pre-registration required – just show up!). We have an exciting presentation planned at the luncheon and are eager to hear from you at our committee meeting.

Wednesday, September 6, 1 p.m.: Building Walking Tours, Heritage Trails, and Virtual Museum Tours

Panels with Small Museum Committee Members Presenting
Thursday, September 7, 2 p.m.: DEAI Core: A Call to Action for Next Practices (Sara Phalen, Sean Blinn)

Thursday, September 7

  • 8:15 a.m.: Tips for Affordable and Accessible Collections Care
  • 2 p.m.: 30 Ideas for Your People and Places
  • 4:15 p.m.: Conquering the Fear of Finance: Skills to Build Your Confidence
  • 4:15 p.m.: Stripping the Whitewash

Friday, September 8

  • 8:30 a.m.: There’s No Development Director: Fundraising at Small Museums
  • 8:30 a.m.: Local History: Problems and Solutions
  • 10:45 a.m.: Big History in Smaller Houses: Interpreting Underrepresented History
  • 10:45 a.m.: Museum Makeover: A DIY Approach to Fresh Interpretation
  • 10:45 a.m.: Truth and Transformation: How Truth Telling Can Inspire Advocacy
  • 1:45 p.m.: Getting Started with Planned Giving
  • 1:45 p.m.: Building Resilience, Taking Care

Saturday, September 9

  • 9 a.m.: This One’s for the Girls: Women’s Stories at Historic Sites and Museums
  • 10:45 a.m.: Underrepresented But Not Forgotten: Federal Funding to Support Your Local History Project


Thursday, September 7

  • 9:30 a.m.: First-time Attendee Reception (free, pre-registration required)
  • 12:30 p.m.: Small Museums Luncheon ($48, pre-registration required)
  • 5:30 p.m.: Diversity and Inclusion Mixer (free, pre-registration recommended)

Friday, September 8

  • 1:45 p.m.: Small Museums Committee meeting (free, open to everyone)