AASLH Mission Statement

AASLH provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history to make the past more meaningful.

AASLH Vision Statement

AASLH’s vision for field at large and itself is:

  • Through the leadership provided by AASLH, history organizations are held in the highest possible regard in their communities, within the philanthropic sector, and within public policy.
  • AASLH is the preferred association for history organizations as well as those who work and volunteer for them.


AASLH’s Diversity & Inclusion Statement

Everyone makes history. Relevant history is inclusive history. So, we are investing in forward-thinking scholarship, expanding diversity of our field, and choosing partners who make equity a priority.

2016-2019 AASLH Strategic Plan      

AASLH 2016 Strategic Plan


Goal 1 – Promote the Relevance of History
   Outcomes    Objectives
I.     Members and the field see AASLH as the primary advocate for the discipline of history A.      Expand AASLH’s role in the History Relevance Campaign
B.      Lead the history field’s preparation for America’s 250 anniversary commemoration (2026)
C.      Build into existing AASLH programs new strategies to advocate for the relevance of history
II.      AASLH members understand the importance of the relevance of history and articulate it in their work and organizations A.      Create a series of AASLH activities focused on advocating for the relevance of history (webinars, technical leaflets, workshops)
B.      Build into existing AASLH programs new strategies to advocate for the relevance of history
C.      Integrate into programs, including awards and annual meeting, stated/recognized criteria that reflect the Association’s value of the relevance of history
III.    History organizations conduct rigorous evaluation to understand and demonstrate their impact on communities A.      AASLH supports the History Relevance Campaign in its work to create evaluation tools that measure impact
B.      AASLH will disseminate the history relevance evaluation tool through its programs
Goal 2 – Build Diversity and Inclusion (racial/ethnic, cultural, dis/ability, and sexual identity)
  Outcomes    Objectives
I.        The field views AASLH as a leader in bringing Diversity and Inclusion issues to the forefront of discussion A.      AASLH will track and report on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in the field of history
B.      Highlight in publications, on the web, and in presentations history organizations doing strong work related to Diversity and Inclusion
C.      Create a series of AASLH activities focused on advocating for diversity & inclusion (webinars, technical leaflets, workshops)
D.      Integrate diversity into all areas of AASLH’s continuing education and professional development programs
II.      Individuals who represent the diversity of the field regard AASLH as their Home for History A.      Build collaborative partnerships with AAAM and other associations to share resources and solicit comments and reviews
B.      Model diverse and inclusive behavior through hiring practices and Council and committee representation.
Goal 3 – Strengthen Organizational Sustainability and Transparency
   Outcomes    Objectives
I.     Members trust that AASLH is operating efficiently, ethically, legally and transparently and look to AASLH for guidance in their own operations. A.      Improve and streamline access  to information about Council decisions,   committee activities, membership data, and donor lists
B.      Educate members about fraud prevention within history organizations through a History News article, technical leaflet, conference sessions, webinars, and other activities
C.      Make AASLH policies more accessible to members and the field including conflict of interest statements, governance handbook, employee handbook and others
D.      Make model policies of other organizations and institutions more accessible to members and the field
II.   Members and colleagues in the field feel more connected to AASLH’s vision, values, and mission and the people responsible for implementing them. A.      Shine more light on what Council, committees, and staff are doing
B.      Use website and online membership management system (YM) to connect members to life of the organization
III.       Members and the field see AASLH as a good steward of the environment A.      Participate in national conversations about better green practices
B.      In its operations, AASLH will be as green as possible
C.      Encourage members—through AASLH publications, sessions, workshops, webinars, and other programs—to increase their efforts in regards to environmental sustainability
IV.      Members and other organizations will perceive AASLH having balanced operating budgets and plans for use of surpluses A.      Provide financial reports that are concise and clearly communicated for oversight and open dialogue by the Finance Committee, Investment Committee, Audit Committee, and Council, per the Financial Policies and Procedures Manual
B.      Develop an annual plan for putting operating budget surplus to work
Goal 4 – Act with a creative and experimental spirit
   Outcomes    Objectives
I.     Members and others in the field look to AASLH as a creative and experimental  organization and are inspired to be creative by AASLH’s programs and activities A.      AASLH celebrates creative and experimental work [This was G4:III]

B.      Encourage members to propose creative and experimental programs and activities

C.      Encourage continuing education faculty to be creative and experimental in presenting innovative ideas and designing learning activities that engage participants

D.      Encourage AASLH staff to be creative and experimental in their work

E.       Encourage AASLH Council and committee members to be creative and experimental

II.   Members come to AASLH to connect with others who are doing creative and experimental work A.      Encourage members to think more creatively and take risks in their work by regularly highlighting creative and experimental work in social media, electronic and print publications, and annual meeting activities

B.      Emphasize creativity, experimentation, and risk taking in the awards criteria

C.      Spotlight experimental ideas/noble failures in History News and in blog posts.

Goal 5 – Further a representative, responsive association
   Outcomes    Objectives
I.     History enthusiasts of all types and history organizations of all sizes see AASLH as their Home for History


A.      Grow individual memberships to be more representative of the historical enterprise (More diversity of people and communities, types of employment, geography, and types of institutions they represent)
B.      Strengthen the Leadership in History Awards Program to diversify participation geographically and demographically to increase participation by more states, more individuals, and more small institutions
C.      Create a Community Historian program that trains members of the general public in historical thinking, research, and interpretation and connects them to historical organizations in their communities
D.      Serve people working in history organizations at all stages of their careers paying special attention to volunteers as well as avocational historians (tap the power of avocational, outsider, passionate history makers) including workshops and webinars for avocational historians, such as local history methods for genealogists
II.   Members and others in the field come to see AASLH as a leader in compiling and encouraging new research on the state of the historical discipline A.      Conduct national study of how people interact with and use the past (per Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life)

B.      Continue to explore how AASLH can help conduct a census of the 17,000+ “history organizations” in the IMLS MUDF

III. The field perceives AASLH’s continuing education and publications programs as reflective of best practices, applicable theories, and professional experiences pertinent to the field of history A.      Reaffirm AASLH commitment to publication, from upholding best practices to embracing radically innovative change.

B.      Reaffirm AASLH commitment to sharing standards and best practices, especially via StEPs

C.      AASLH will reaffirm its commitment to continuing education for paid and unpaid professionals in the history field

D.      Develop projects that include both history practitioners in the field and in the academy

E.       Build bridges to graduate programs (Continuing Ed starts before the degree is completed!) so that AASLH CE serves and builds upon students and faculty too.

F.       Strengthen AASLH’s role in humanities scholarship and education

IV.  Members feel AASLH listens to and responds to their needs and concerns A.      Improve regular membership survey project

B.      Revisit the Membership Committee’s state team captain structure for drawing new members into the organization

C.      Explore new means of collecting members’ ideas and comments