Prepare for the U.S. 250th Anniversary at the AASLH Annual Conference

We are less than two years away from the U.S. 250th anniversary, coming up in 2026. The AASLH Annual Conference this September will feature several sessions that can help you plan for this once-in-a-generation commemoration. Session topics include engaging younger generations in the 250th, designing healing commemorations, and developing anniversary-related programs on a limited budget.

All sessions on Thursday and Friday are included with conference registration. The workshop on Wednesday and Saturday has an additional cost and requires preregistration.

Save on conference registration by becoming an AASLH member and registering by the July 26 early bird deadline!

Wednesday, September 11, and Saturday, September 14

Putting It All Together: Preparing for 2026 at Small History Organizations
Cost: $65, Preregistration Required
The U.S. 250th is an opportunity to share history that tells everyone’s story and to strengthen the history field. AASLH has developed key resources to help practitioners both conceptually and concretely plan for this commemoration’s transformative potential. Attend this workshop to learn about the Making History at 250 Field Guide, our new handbook of low-resource programming ideas, and how to effectively apply these tools to your site or organization. Registration fee includes a morning and afternoon snack and boxed lunch.

Thursday, September 12

Engaging Younger Generations in the U.S. 250th Anniversary
Research shows widespread disenchantment among younger generations when asked about the future of the United States. With America’s 250th anniversary just two years away, how can planners attract these stakeholders with programming and services that best address their needs and encourage a lasting engagement with the history field? Attend this session to hear perspective from three members of “Gen Z” to learn how your site or organization can better engage with younger audiences and make the most of 2026 while connecting with this vital audience.

Healing Commemorations
2022 was the 80th anniversary of the Alaska Highway and many of the themes being explored through the America 250th resonated while developing materials and programs for the commemoration. This session will discuss comparisons with previous commemorations, events and materials created, community conversations promoting reconciliation, and moving forward.

Meet Your State 250th Commission
Are you looking for inspiration, resources, or guidance on how to observe the U.S. 250th anniversary in your state? Connecting with your state 250th commission is a great place to start. Representatives from various state commissions will be available to answer questions and meet local planners.

When Are We US?: Reexamining Democracy’s Messy Business
North Carolina’s “When Are We US?” (WAWU) committee spearheads the state’s efforts to reimagine how we commemorate the nation’s founding at and beyond sites of the American Revolution. Join them as they explore how organization centers can enhance inclusive historical interpretation during the country’s 250th anniversary.

Friday, September 13

Unfinished Revolution: Place, Environment, and Social Justice in the 250th
Members of AASLH’s Climate and Sustainability Affinity Group share ideas about how the history of climate and the environment (and deepening understanding of environment and social justice connections) can inform research and development of public programming related to the U.S. Semiquincentennial. Speakers will share how to document the relationship of the natural environment in a place 250 years ago, link those natural sources to the human experiences at the site, and explore how this approach affects the way we “do history.”

Field Services Alliance Tips: America 250 on a Shoestring
Building on the AASLH 250th Anniversary Program Handbook, this session features field services providers from across the country expanding on examples of how small history organizations can leverage resources to maximize 250th programming and impact. Following a short presentation, Field Services Alliance members will work with small groups to workshop ideas and offer feedback.

When the Dust Settles on America250
Once the party is over and America250 is literally history, what do you hope your organization retains moving forward? This will be a panel discussion with museum professionals, historians, and educators on incorporating long-term strategies that will stick with audiences.