Historians and History Museums: Offsite Sessions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

The annual meeting program will feature two offsite sessions at the National Museum of American History on Friday, January 3, from 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The sessions are part of the Malleable PhD series promoting broader thinking about careers for history PhDs. Graduate students and early career professionals should be particularly interested in the sessions, which offer a chance to network and learn more about an important employment sector from leaders in the field.

NMAMAttendees are welcome to attend one or both of the panels, one made up of museum directors who will consider the state of the field while the other features historians talking about their museum careers. Between the sessions, participants will have an opportunity to join curator-led tours of the museum’s exhibits.

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

History Museum Directors on the Past, Present, and Future of History Museums: A Roundtable Discussion

The directors of several of the nation’s foremost history museums will discuss the changes that their institutions have undergone and the challenges they face. The session will also examine the role that historians have played and might play in the work of these museums.

Chair: Stephen Aron, University of California, Los Angeles and Autry National Center of the American West

Panel: John Gray, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Joan Marshall, Bullock Texas State History Museum

Lonnie Bunch, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

Kevin Gover, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

Louise Mirrer, New-York Historical Society

12:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Lunch and Tours of the Museum

Participants may purchase lunch in the museum’s Stars and Stripes Café. Lunch will be followed by curator-led tours of the museum’s exhibits. Please email info@historians.org to reserve a place on the tour.

2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Historians and the Work of History Museums: A Roundtable Discussion

This session features historians who are employed in a variety of positions at history museums. They will discuss the work they do and the ways in which their doctoral training prepared them (and failed to prepare them) for their museum careers.

Chair: Virginia Scharff, University of New Mexico and Autry National Center of the American West

Panel: Sara Abosch, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

Erik Greenberg, Autry National Center of the American West

Erin Curtis, Brown University and Skirball Cultural Center

William Convery, History Colorado

The sessions, sponsored by the AHA Professional Division and the AHA Research Division, will take place in the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, on Constitution Ave. N.W. between 12th and 14th St.

To get to the National Museum of American History, take Metro to the Federal Triangle station. Turn right on 12th Street for one block, turn right on Constitution Ave., and then left into the entrance of the museum. If traveling by taxi, ask the driver to drop you off at the Constitution Ave. entrance. The Warner Bros. Theater is immediately to your left after you pass through visitor screening. Doors open at 10 a.m.

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