The Lula Dorsey Museum at the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado will share their volunteer program ideas in a prerecorded conference session.

By Elizabeth P. Stewart, Renton History Museum and AASLH Small Museums Affinity Community

If you’re a small museums person who’s never attended the AASLH Annual Meeting, there has never been a better time than this year! First, you don’t have to spend time or money travelling to the host city to take advantage of the opportunity. Second, the low cost makes it very affordable—at $55 for full access, you get six days of programming that make you a more valuable member of the public history community. In addition to the mind-expanding sessions aimed at all history people, here are a few of the sessions and programs you can look forward to that will directly benefit your small museum:

Tuesday, September 29, 12:30-1:30 pm ET
Small Museum Brown Bag Lunch
Grab your lunch of choice and break bread with your small museum colleagues. Enjoy “Making Friends with Belly Dancers,” a talk about community engagement with Jeff Harris, Site Manager at Magoffin Home State Historic Park in El Paso, Texas.

Thursday, September 24, 2-3:15 pm ET
Session: Generations of Women: Complicating Traditional Timelines
In this women’s suffrage centennial year, join staff members of the Molly Brown House, Tumacácori National Historical Park, and others to look at strategies for telling fuller women’s stories.

Friday, September 25, 11 am-12:15 pm ET 
Session: Life Cycle of a Board Member
This Small Museums Committee session explores board membership, from recruitment to legacy-building, and boards’ role in equitable museum practices.

Tuesday, September 29, 11 am-12:15 pm ET 
Session: Impact of Contemporary and Urgent Collecting in Museum
Learn about the benefits and difficulties of proactive collecting from panelists from two small museums that documented the aftermaths of mass shooting incidents in their communities.

Tuesday, September 29, 4-5:15 pm ET
Session: Putting Essential Understanding/Foundational Truth into Practice
Three different sized museums share insights into the process of defining foundational truths—widely shared values—and how these shape exhibits and programming.

There will be more than two dozen prerecorded sessions available for the conference and most include speakers from small museums. Check out sessions on equity and inclusion, collections care, interpretation, sustainability, working with volunteers; and so much more. You can view the complete conference guide here, and we hope to see you there in just a few weeks!

Registration closes September 18 for #AASLH2020! Visit to learn more and register.

Read more about the Small Museums Affinity Community here.