The Stonington Historical Society in Connecticut recently celebrated the completion of the Silver level in three (out of six) sections of AASLH’s Standards and Excellence Program (StEPs). Their achievements in the Audience, Management, and Mission, Vision, and Governance sections illustrate an impressive commitment to enhancing the way their organization functions and reaches its audience.

The Stonington Historical Society's Lighthouse Museum

The Stonington Historical Society’s Lighthouse Museum

Executive Director Elizabeth Wood described the Society’s StEPs experience and reiterated the Society’s commitment to keep working towards completion of the StEPs program:

This program has been an amazing journey and speaking as a first time executive director, it has given me direction, professional context and standards, and a network of like institutions that share many of the same question and quandaries. We have grown as an institution but have our sights on the gold certificates in the near future. This program has identified areas we may not be as strong as possible in and thus has defined some of our goals for the coming year. Many thanks — I just wanted to let you know how important this has been for myself and my organization.

The Stonington Historical Society is part of StEPs-CT, a statewide StEPs group of more than twenty history organizations working together under the guidance of Connecticut Humanities, the Connecticut League of Historical Organizations, and the Connecticut Historical Society. This two-year program combines rigorous study of AASLH’s StEPs program with hands-on workshops, mentorship, and grants to encourage the development of standards and best practices at historic sites around the state. It’s a lot of work, but very rewarding for institutions that are committed to doing their best work and bringing their sites up to national standards in the areas that matter most. To be accepted into the StEPs-CT group, Connecticut organizations must apply with a compelling case for how they would benefit from participation and demonstrate commitment to completing the entire program. In return, StEPs-CT provides these resources at a minimal cost to the institution.

To learn more about StEPs groups around the country, check out this blog post or contact Cherie Cook, Senior Program Manager, at or (573) 893-5164.