The “Why Should You Attend SHA?” 11 posts in 11 days from the SHA Class of 2011 Museum Minute countdown will wrap up later this morning with a post from Dr. Patricia Williams Lessane, Executive Director at the Avery Research Center at The College of Charleston.
But before we wrap up, there are a few things I wanted to say about the SHA experience that don’t really get said enough. SHA is largely administered by staff at the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) and with the support and facilities of the Indiana Historical Society (IHS), but it is truly a collaboration of some of the premiere organizations in the museum and cultural heritage fields. In addition to AASLH and IHS, SHA is also sponsored by the American Association of Museums (AAM), Colonial Williamsburg, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is only through the generous support of all of these important organizations that a program as truly powerful as SHA can be implemented and successfully administered year after year. This is something that every SHA alumnus is well aware and for which we are incredibly grateful.
But there is one other variable that is necessary to complete the SHA-awesomeness equation… and that is YOU. Every class is different; every year has a different feel and creates a different set of powerful, profession-altering (and sometimes even life-changing) experiences. Each class creates its own toolkit of resources, co-conspirators and bold leadership ideas that will help shape our profession for years to come. But, while the SHA faculty and curriculum undergoes relatively minor adjustments from year-to-year, what really makes the SHA experience as powerful as it is, is the class of participants who are invited to come to Indianapolis for the first three weeks of November every year…and, you can’t be invited if you don’t apply. So, if you haven’t already, drop what you are doing and get that application written and submitted. It may be the most important professional decision you ever make.