Over the next twelve months, seven African American history organizations will form a cohort while receiving guidance in the areas of management and governance, learning from each other, and taking part in AASLH’s StEPs assessment program. The seven organizations were recently selected to participate in the inaugural NMAAHC StEPs Cohort, an initiative that is a joint project of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and AASLH.

As part of the NMAAHC StEPs Cohort, staff and volunteers from the organizations will take part in an orientation meeting in Kansas City on September 26 and then have access to a mentor, online webinars, and other resources for one year.

Each organization will also be enrolled in StEPs (Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations), a national assessment program that offers small and medium-sized museums, historic sites, and related organizations the opportunity to assess policies and practices, benchmark themselves against national museum standards, and earn Bronze, Silver and Gold progress certificates. More than 965 organizations across the U.S. have enrolled in the program.

The seven organizations chosen for the NMAAHC StEPs Cohort are:

  • African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Seattle, WA
  • Evansville African American Museum, Evansville, IN
  • Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community, Bridgeport, CT
  • Northwest African American Museum, Seattle, WA
  • National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, Wilberforce, OH
  • Robert Russa Moton Museum, Farmville, VA

Since opening on September 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed nearly 4.5 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting, and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. The Office of Strategic Partnerships leverages the Museum’s research and programmatic initiatives to empower and advance the work of museums and related cultural heritage organizations dedicated to African American and Diaspora history by collaborating with regional, national, and global networks to connect needs to resources, promoting organizational sustainability, and cultivating and supporting museum professionals.

For more information about the project or about starting a StEPs group, contact Cherie Cook, AASLH, at cook@aaslh.org or 615-320-3203.