By Alyssa Jones, Blythewood Historical Society & Museum and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

My name is Alyssa Jones and the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting was the first history/museum conference that I have ever attended.  As a recipient of one of this year’s Douglas Evelyn Scholarships for Diversity, I had a great introduction to this kind of conference and I loved being there and having the opportunity to network with professionals in the museum field.

Upon arriving in Kansas City, I immediately rushed to the conference center for the Wednesday afternoon session on relevancy.  Even though I was exhausted from an early flight, I thought it was a great opening session.  All of the sessions that I attended made me think and introduced me to new systems and ideas.  I didn’t just love attending sessions; I also enjoyed exploring Kansas City and meeting new people.  Thank you to everyone who spoke to this emerging museum professional!

The setup of the annual conference was wonderful and definitely made me feel welcome and comfortable.  As a first time attendee of this conference, I was nervous that I wouldn’t feel comfortable enough to be active during group activities or ask questions, but I was wrong. The group activities were amazing and I asked questions whenever I wasn’t sure about a concept or just wanted to know more. I was also lucky enough to room with a long-time friend.  If you ran into us at the conference, then you’ll remember that you were amazed that we’ve been friends since middle school, went through a science and math magnet high school together, and still ended up in the same general field.

I’m glad I was able to attend the AASLH Annual Meeting this year and look forward to going next year in Philadelphia.  I only wish I could have attended more of the sessions in Kansas City.  There were so many to choose from! When I returned to my organization in South Carolina, I immediately applied what I’d learned and thought about at the conference to my work.  Attending this conference was a valuable experience and I will definitely be attending more in the future.  Thanks to AASLH for this experience!