Get Recognition for Meeting National Standards

StEPs breaks down national standards into manageable levels: Basic, Good, and Better. This allows you to measure progress while working incrementally to make improvements. After completing each level within a section, your organization will receive a certificate from AASLH that lets your community and stakeholders see that you making meaningful progress toward national standards. And that translates into increased credibility that can help justify funding requests. After achieving the highest level in all sections, graduating organizations are formally recognized at the AASLH Annual Meeting Awards Banquet. See a list of institutions that have earned certificates.


Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations

StEPs is AASLH’s self-study program designed specifically for small- to mid-sized history organizations, including volunteer-run institutions. Through a workbook, online resources, and an online community, organizations enrolled in StEPS assess their policies and practices and benchmark themselves against national museum standards. The program is divided into six sections that can be addressed in any order. In each section, organizations can identify their current practice as Basic, Good, or Better. Each level has its indicators, allowing organizations to set realistic goals and tackle challenges in small, manageable steps. Work  in each section at your own pace using checklists, worksheets, sample documents, and the 24/7 online community.

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Click here to see what our members have to say about their experiences with StEPs.

Build on Your Strengths

StEPs is designed to dovetail with the work you are already doing, like caring for your collections, planning exhibits, and working with a board. The StEPs process helps you evaluate this work and identify your strengths and areas for improvement. The workbook is easy to use, and will help you keep StEPs tasks, progress, and planning organized and within reach whenever you need a check-up. Preview the workbook.

Work Together

Not only does StEPs bring people within your organization together for meaningful discussions about your mission and practices, it is also an opportunity to join a community of organizations committed to meeting national standards. The StEPs online community is a place to discuss your challenges and share your successes. Some states also have StEPs groups that bring organizations together two or three times each year for networking, shared learning, and motivation. Learn more about StEPs Groups.




Watch this free “What is StEPs?” webinar recording (57 min)


Training and solutions to issues common to many organizations is available 24/7 with the StEPs Labs Webinar Series.


See our Event Calendar for more Continuing Education opportunities.