I realize the title of this blog could confuse. It is quite logical, given our organization’s mission, that I might literally be referring to promoting ALHFAM in a field. However, in this case I’m speaking of the larger “museum field” at the American Association for State and Local History conference last week. Still bountiful but with fewer draft animals.
As ALHFAM and AASLH appeal to a similar audience, we decided to participate in the exhibit hall and spread the word about our volunteer-run organization. I’m happy to report that the booth was very well received. During my shifts I had an almost steady stream of people stopping by and, during refreshment breaks in the hall, it was sometimes hopping. People seemed genuinely happy that we were there. Many lapsed members came by and reminisced and chatted about joining again. A lot of people who work at ALHFAM appropriate sites stopped by and were pleased that such a group as ours exists. We gave out dozens of past Bulletin issues, t-shirts and tote bags from conferences, and business cards promoting ALHFAM.org. We showed off the website on a laptop (not featured in the above picture) and promoted our regional and national conferences.
In addition, a group of ALHFAM members including Jim McCabe (The Henry Ford), Deb Reid (Eastern Illinois University), Deb Arenz (Nebraska State Historical Society), Debbie Grinnell (Naper Settlement), and Jon Kuester (Volkening Heritage Farm) presented a session titled “From Farm to Fork: Narratives that Connect” as a webinar and live. The webinar had 90 users logged in and will be available for future viewing on the AASLH website. There was good attendance at our live presentation as well with lots of questions and discussion afterwards. One person, who used to come to ALHFAM long ago, said our live session was like a “breath of fresh air” and made her remember why she thought ALHFAM was great. I’m certainly glad we could jog her memory.
Although I haven’t yet quantified our success, I do believe we made a positive impression on at least some of the 850+ AASLH attendees. Anything we can do to maximize our exposure in the field (literally and figuratively) helps the organization.