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19th Annual History Issues Convention

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the 19th Annual History Issues Convention
(“Early Bird” discount available until March 4, 2012)

March 30, 2012
Trenton War Memorial

Co-sponsored by:
Advocates for New Jersey History
League of Historical Societies of New Jersey
New Jersey Historical Commission
New Jersey Historic Trust
Preservation New Jersey

As history institutions are confronted with challenging economic times and changes in the way people participate in cultural experiences, how do they survive and make their collections relevant? Explore how history organizations are using innovative technology, considering new models for collections care and interpretation, and encouraging the next generation of patrons to engage in history.

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19th Annual History Issues Convention
March 30, 2012 ● Trenton War Memorial

8:30 a.m. Registration, exhibits, coffee

9:15 a.m. – Welcome & Introductions
Cate Litvack, Vice President, Advocates for New Jersey History
Tim Hart, President, League of Historical Societies
Dorothy Guzzo, Executive Director, New Jersey Historic Trust
Stephanie L. Cherry-Farmer, Senior Programs Director, Preservation New Jersey
Sara Cureton, Executive Director, New Jersey Historical Commission

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. – Keynote Address
Survival or Success? Making History in the 21st Century

Carl Nold, President and CEO, Historic New England

History museums, historic sites and heritage collections as we know them are largely organized and operated as they were in the 19th century, using the same techniques and serving the same audience groups. While this model has been relatively resilient, the perceived value of such institutions and collections has declined, and with that public participation and support have withered. Is it time for significant change in how we run our history museums and care for and use our collections today? If so can institutions dedicated to preserving the past truly change with the times?

10:45 – 12:00 – Morning Concurrent Sessions

Collections Care Consortium of New Jersey
Lee Price, Director of Development, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts
Beth-Ann Ryan, Deputy Director, Delaware Division of Libraries
Michele Stricker, Deputy Director of Library Development, NJ State Library and
Preservation Management Adjunct Instructor, Rutgers University
Moderator: Ronald Becker, Head, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

The Collections Care Consortium of New Jersey (C3NJ) was formed in 2008 to examine the state of preservation activities at collecting institutions throughout New Jersey. It brought together librarians, archivists, and museum professionals from large, medium and small repositories. With support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), C3NJ completed a Stewardship Plan for the State of New Jersey in 2010. This session will offer an opportunity to learn more about the Stewardship Plan, its findings and recommendations regarding collections care in New Jersey, successful models in other states, and the next steps contemplated for this important Consortium and its work.

Preserving and Interpreting the Collections of New Jersey’s Ethnic Communities
Steven Schimmel, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Cumberland and Salem Counties
Helen Shannon, President, Trenton Historical Society
Moderator: Dorothy Hartman, Executive Director, Ellis Island Institute
How do we discover, document and preserve the objects and lifeways that tell the stories of a community? This session will focus on the efforts of two organizations that engaged in a process to discover and preserve the objects of the Eastern European Jewish and African American communities. Mr. Schimmel will discuss the Federation’s work to preserve the objects and interpret the history of the Alliance Colony, one of the most important Jewish agricultural colonies in America. Ms. Shannon will discuss the Society’s Three Centuries of African American History in Trenton: A Preliminary Inventory of Historic Sites which identified 34 African American historic sites and prepared the ground-work for more in-depth research on the development of the African American community in the capital city.

National History Day

Christopher Zarr, Education Specialist, National Archives at New York City
Dr. Joan Ruddiman, K-12 Gifted & Talented Resource Specialist, West Windsor-Plainsboro, NJ school district
Liam Knox, West Windsor-Plainsboro NJ freshman, Winner National Junior Individual Documentary Division
Moderator: Dr. Fernanda Perrone, Archivist and Head Exhibitions Program, Rutgers University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

National History Day (NHD) students and their teachers are important constituents who make use of collections. NHD is a year-long education program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries and websites, and research papers related to an annual theme. This year's theme is Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History. The projects are then evaluated at local, state, and national competitions.

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. – Lunch and Awards

1:00 - 1:30 p.m. – Advocates Report by Cate Litvack, Vice President, Advocates for New Jersey History and Legislative Updates by Lisa Ginther, Associate, MBI – GluckShaw
1:30 p.m. – Break
1:45 -3:00 p.m. – Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

New Models for Engagement: Innovative Programmatic Strategies for Connecting People to their Collections.

Karen Sloat-Olsen, Chief of Interpretation and Education, Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Michelle Ortwein, Supervisory Museum Curator, Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Mary A. Fetchet, Founding Director, VOICES of September 11th
Burt Logan, Executive Director and CEO, Ohio Historical Society
Moderator: Mark Texel, Director of Historic Sites, Morris County Park Commission

Discover the creative and evaluative process of several history-based organizations whose imaginative programs breathe new life into their collections by offering greater levels of public access and learning opportunities. Participants will hear how the Thomas Edison National Historical Park’s new open collection storage areas, interactive exhibits, and use of social media and smart phone technology are providing greater public access to their collections. VOICES of September 11th launched the 9/11 Living Memorial Project in 2006, to document the nearly 3,000 lives lost and the firsthand accounts of survivors. Their unique model of providing support services while assisting families in creating a digital archive to commemorate their loved ones will be highlighted. In April 2011 the Ohio History Center opened an exhibit unlike any before – five objects with minimal interpretation. The format had strategic implications; the objects were chosen because of their controversial nature; and the interpretation was designed to elicit a fresh response from visitors, which will be discussed. Please come prepared with questions and be ready to interact with the panelists!

Advocacy: Is there an APP for that?

Dorothy P. Guzzo, Executive Director, New Jersey Historic Trust
Lisa Ginther, Associate, MBI – GluckShaw
Stephanie L. Cherry-Farmer, Senior Programs Director, Preservation New Jersey

Moderator: Cate Litvack, Vice President, Advocates for New Jersey History
From grass roots organizing to professional lobbying, learn how active participation makes a huge difference in strengthening New Jersey’s history and historic preservation community. Whether as an individual or as part of an organization, you have an important role to play in advocating for sound policy, sufficient funding and protection of resources. Learn the tips, tricks and tools to effective communication in both the legislative and public awareness arenas: learn how to build and keep the support you need to affect change.

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. - Plenary - Representing and Reflecting our Nation’s Ethnically Diverse Heritage

Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Director & Distinguished Professor of Museum Studies, Cooperstown Graduate Program, NY

From our nation’s new immigrant communities, to those that have longtime roots, Ms. Sorin will address how history institutions can work to ensure that collections and programs document and tell the stories of our country’s many ethnic groups. The presentation will demonstrate how organizations can learn about the ethnically diverse communities in New Jersey, and how they can either use existing collections or partner with other organizations to document their experiences.

Image Credit: Daguerreotype of the Drake Family, c. 1860; 1970.206.1; New Jersey State Museum Collection (Gift of Ralph E. Beers)