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AASLH Workshop: Historic House Museum Issues and Operations

April 25, 2013 @ 8:00 am - April 26, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

$21. – $345

Why are historic houses necessary to their communities? How are historic house museums unique? During lively group discussions and activities, participants will explore management, collection, and interpretation issues to answer these questions. Participants will become familiar with interpretive themes, storylines, and plans. They will also take part in an interpretive exercise focused on designing more exciting house tours. Other topics include marketing, volunteers, earned income, membership programs, and care of buildings and landscapes. Each participant will work on an important issue or problem during the workshop.

Who Should Attend:
This workshop is targeted to first-time directors, new and mid-career professionals, and dedicated volunteers who are involved in historic house museums.

StEPs Connections:
This workshop may help institutions achieve the standards in the Mission, Vision, and Governance; Audience; Interpretation, Stewardship of Historic Structures and Landscapes; and Management sections of AASLH’s StEPs program.

What Participants Said: “The ‘notebook’ of articles is a great idea and a tangible helper to take back with us. Max and George’s experiences were invaluable–they will be a great resource, too!” “The most helpful part was seeing institutions’ actual documents (Ramsey House/Drayton Hall/Homestead Museum).” “The enthusiasm & varied backgrounds of the participants was helpful.” “As a volunteer–gave me a realistic view of the job description of our curators, staff & us as volunteers.” “Well done!”

George McDaniel
brings an impressive array of experience in historic house administration, museum education, and historical research from his work at Drayton Hall, the Atlanta History Center, and the Center for Southern Folklore. He is a noted author of books and articles and produced an award-winning video. He has provided professional services as a speaker, grant reviewer, consultant, and board member at the national, state, and local levels.

Max A. van Balgooy is president of Engaging Places, LLC, a planning and strategy firm that builds strong lasting relationships between people and places. He has worked with a wide variety of historic house museums and historic sites to expand their educational programs, engage with local communities, and develop new business models, including such places as Drayton Hall, Philip Johnson Glass House, James Madison’s Montpelier, and President Lincoln’s Cottage and for such organizations as Indiana Landmarks and San Francisco Architectural Heritage. He currently sits on the AASLH Council and has served as the director of interpretation and education of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, assistant director of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, and on city planning and historic preservation commissions.

Travel Information:
Murfreesboro is located about 20 miles southeast of Nashville, TN. More travel information will be posted soon.

Workshop Agenda:  The workshop will begin with registration at 8 a.m. on Thursday and conclude at 5 p.m. on Friday.  This agenda is subject to change.  A final agenda and participant materials will be distributed at registration.


8:00-8:15 a.m.  Registration

8:15-9:15 Welcome and Introductions

9:15-10:00  Challenges Facing Historic House Museums Today

10:00-10:15  Break

10:15-11:00  Mission: Identifying Your Passion

  • Planning that’s strategic and mission-based
  • Maximizing the visitors’ experience

11:00-12:00  Excellence: Finding Your Unfair Advantage

12:00-1:15  Lunch On Your Own

1:15-2:45  Excellence in Preservation

  • Care of objects, buildings, and landscapes
  • Safety, security, and disaster planning

2:45-3:00  Break

3:00-4:15  Excellence in Public Programming

  • Content
  • Audiences
  • Methods

4:15-5:30 Behind the Scenes Tour of Host Site

6:00  Dinner on your own



8:00-10:00  Building Support: People

  • Finding your core audience and reaching new ones

10:00-10:15  Break

10:15-12:00  Building Support: Money

12:00-1:15  Lunch On Your Own

1:15-2:45  Strategy and Sustainability

2:45-3:45  Next Steps

  • Developing goals, objectives, and priorities for your museum
  • Integrating activities to maximize your effectiveness

3:45-4:45  Present Action Plans

4:45-5:00  Conclusion


April 25, 2013 @ 8:00 am
April 26, 2013 @ 5:00 pm
$21. – $345


Oaklands Historic House Museum
Murfreesboro, TN United States

To post an event listing on this page, email ohiolha@ohiohistory.org with “Event Listing” in the subject line.