The 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026, or Semiquincentennial, offers a vital opportunity to help American society progress towards justice through an inclusive approach to history and to strengthen the history field by attracting interest and investment.
AASLH is providing leadership, research, resources, and events for history doers and organizations to help them engage the public in a full history of the country as we approach this significant milestone. Our efforts include:
- Promoting a vision and goals for the anniversary that can help align the work of a diverse and dynamic field (see our foundational working group goals)
- The 2021 publication of Making History at 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial to assist local planners (learn more by clicking on the Field Guide and Themes tab to the left)
- Monitoring national, regional, and state commemoration plans for research and advocacy purposes
- Coordinating with other national initiatives, including the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission and America 250, to ensure that the values and goals of the history community are represented well in national efforts
- Convening key networks, such as our 250th Anniversary Coordinating Committee, to facilitate communication and collaboration among major organizations, institutions, and agencies
- Developing professional development tools and programs to help the history community prepare for the commemoration (learn more by clicking on the Programs and Resources tab to the left)
- Summarizing and disseminating our efforts through annual reporting (Read the latest annual report on AASLH’s 250th efforts; earlier reports are here.
AASLH’s 250th anniversary programs and resources are supported in part by a major grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. You can learn more here.
Field Guide and Themes
To encourage 250th anniversary programming that addresses the full sweep of our nation’s history and is relevant to present concerns, AASLH has developed Making History at 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial, a resource with guiding themes to help the history community prepare for 2026. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and created with the help of dozens of leading scholars, museum professionals, and public historians, these themes can provide cohesiveness to a multi-faceted, grassroots commemoration and entry-points for organizations all over the United States.
By exploring common questions in different contexts, this anniversary can help us advance a more widely shared story about our nation’s history, one that acknowledges its many tensions and ambiguities and that informs our present and future. Watch the 2021 launch event for the Making History at 250.
The guide’s five themes are:
- Unfinished Revolutions
- Power of Place
- We the People
- American Experiment
- Doing History
Read the guide in full to learn more about these themes.
The field guide has been sent to 20,000 practitioners nationwide. Thirteen thousand of these copies were made possible by a second printing funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.
Programs and Resources
AASLH is producing a range of tools, programs, and events to help history organizations and practitioners prepare for the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026. You can find the upcoming and highlighted programs and resources below, but we encourage you to visit our 250th Anniversary Resource page for more.
- Sessions at AASLH Annual Conference in Boise, Idaho, September 6–9
- Workshop: Strategic Planning for the U.S. 250th Anniversary (Cost: $60, Preregistration required)
- Panel: Approaches to the 250th: Early Lessons from across the Country
- Panel: The U.S. Semiquincentennial and the Power of Imagery
- Webinar: Educate and Commemorate: America’s 250th Anniversary in America’s Classrooms hosted by the National Council for History Education
- Time: 7:30pm ET on September 19, 2023
- Presenters: Madeleine Rosenberg (AASLH), LaRae Umfleet, (North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources), Stephanie Hartman, (Colorado Department of Education, America 250 – Colorado 150 Commission), Katie Roach (America 250 – Colorado 150 Commission)
- Webinar Series: Interpreting the U.S. 250th at Your Site
- Virtual Summit: Commemoration Reconsidered: Ethics, Justice, and America’s 250th Anniversary
- Learn more and view the program
- View selected panel recordings:
External Funding Sources
Funding opportunities are emerging for projects and initiatives related to the Semiquincentennial. This page will be updated as new funding resources become available.
At least 35 states have already established state commissions or similar entities to lead preparations for the 250th anniversary, with several more under active consideration. These state commissions will play an important role in determining the scope and direction of the commemoration, interfacing with the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission and America250, recognizing local programming, and distributing funding. These commissions take different forms, but most opt for one of two approaches: 1) directing an existing agency/organization to lead preparations, or 2) creating a new commission to plan and administer the state’s commemoration, with a combination of ex officio members and appointees.
This section contains links to state commission (or equivalent) websites or, in cases where there is no known web presence, links to the commission’s founding legislation or executive action. The latter can help direct inquiries to relevant agencies and organizations named in state action. For questions, please contact email@example.com.
Last update: September 19, 2023
Existing Commissions (37 states)
Encourage Your Congressional Delegation to Join the America250 Caucus
Congressional lawmakers who join the America250 Caucus agree to work together to commemorate America’s 250th anniversary in 2026 and promote national unity and civic engagement. The caucus could be an avenue for getting federal funding for 250th programming in the states. The caucus also provides a forum for members to support the work of history organizations and highlight the importance of our shared history. Encourage your members of Congress to join this important caucus!