The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) values small history organizations and their vital contributions to their communities and the field.

Our recently released 2022 National Census of History Organizations identified more than 21,000 history organizations in the United States. More than 60 percent have annual revenues of less than $50,000 and more than 80 percent have revenues of less than $200,000.

One of the many ways AASLH helps small organizations thrive is through a special learning session thread at the AASLH Annual Conference.

The 2022 AASLH Annual Conference will be held in Buffalo, New York, September 14-17. This year’s theme is “Right Here, Right Now: The Power of Place.” Small history organizations are a major factor in creating a sense of place in their communities.

Here is the Small Museum Learning Session Thread for this year’s conference:

Thursday, September 15

Creating Community Connections: Small Museums Using Smithsonian Exhibition Starter-Kits
8:30 a.m.
A Smithsonian pilot project, Exhibition Starter-Kits, seeks to increase the capacity of small museums to develop exhibitions in partnership with their communities. This panel explores a model of how small museums can utilize resources from, and work collaboratively with, larger organizations to share authority, update narratives, and tell inclusive stories.

Transforming Assessments into Practical Strategies and Actions
2 p.m.
How does an organization take a written preservation, archival needs, or strategic planning assessment report and transform it into prioritized goals and actions? A wide variety of cultural heritage sites discuss their unique experiences in developing consultant-identified goals into practical strategies for making successful strides in collections care and management.

Friday, September 16

The Peril to Places: Environmental Disasters and Historic Sites
8:30 a.m.
Three museums from different regions combated environmental disasters recently. Filoli in California faced drought and wildfires; Whitney Plantation in Louisiana suffered a hurricane; and Brucemore in Iowa was devastated by a derecho. With historic sites and landscapes nationwide facing weather extremes linked to climate change, consider the lessons painfully learned.

Field Service Alliance Tips: Community Based Exhibition and Program Design
11 a.m.
The Field Services Alliance will moderate a conversation with public history and museum practitioners from across the country whose work involves robust and authentic community engagement. Attendees will leave with a deeper appreciation for the value of community-centered exhibition and program design and specific strategies to use and avoid when getting started.

Small Museums Affinity Community Committee Meeting
2:15 p.m.
Do you want to deepen your connection with AASLH? Consider getting involved with the Small Museums Affinity Committee. Join us for our annual in-person meeting, where you can get to know committee members, meet other small organization staff and volunteers, ask questions, share what needs you have, and learn about what we do.

Saturday, September 17

Boomer Legacies: Getting Started with Planned Giving
10:15 a.m.
By 2060, America’s largest and wealthiest generation will transfer more than $65 trillion to their children. According to, only 10% of these donors have charitable estate plans. Experts and experienced peers in planned giving will discuss why they have committed to planned giving/deferred gifts as part of their philanthropic strategy, how planned gifts create more opportunities for larger donations, and how such gifts can engage prospects who cannot give cash now. Potential donors will learn why deferred gifts allow them to have a greater impact and achieve their long-term goals, such as leaving a legacy in a tax-efficient manner.

Early Bird Registration Deadline is July 29
Interested in attending these sessions? Register by Friday, July 29 to receive the early bird discount. AASLH members receive additional discounts and the best prices on registration.