Wisconsin Historical Society

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Local History Webinars

Training Programs for the Local Historian

Local History Webinars from Local History-Field Services | Wisconsin Historical Society

2019 Local History Webinars

The Wisconsin Historical Society's Local History-Field Services office offers Local History Webinars throughout the year. Below are the Local History Webinars being offered for 2019. All Local History Webinars are free and open to anyone interested in local history and the skills needed to collect, preserve and share your stories.

Recordings of all our past Local History Webinars are available here.


EnlargeBook cover of Leadership Matters, by Anne W. Ackerson and Joan H. Baldwin

Leadership Matters, by Anne W. Ackerson and Joan H. Baldwin

Leadership Matters: Thoughts on 21st Century Museum Leadership

Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Joan Baldwin and Anne Ackerson

What makes the leader of a successful museum tick? Are there discernible attitudes, philosophies and skills that set a person apart? What lessons can be drawn from their stories? While leadership has been a trending topic in the for-profit arena for decades, it receives much less attention in the micro-niche of history museums. Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin, former history museum directors and co-authors of the book Leadership Matters, contend that leadership training and development at both the board and staff levels must be more fully understood and embraced if these institutions are to prevail. Ackerson and Baldwin will reveal insights from their interviews of more than 30 engaging, innovative and entrepreneurial museum leaders in the US and Canada. Collected together, their stories capture history and cultural heritage museum leadership at one of the field's most challenging times.

Joan Baldwin holds an AB from Kenyon College, and an MA from Case Western Reserve University. She has been a museum director, a program analyst for the New York State Council on the Arts, and Program Director for the Museum Association of the State of New York. Currently the Curator of Special Collections at The Hotchkiss School, she is the co-author of Leadership Matters and principal writer for its blog, Leadership Matters.

Anne W. Ackerson served as director of several historic house museums and historical societies in New York State, director of the Museum Association of New York, and executive director of the National Council of State Archivists. As an independent consultant, Anne focuses on organizational development and planning and governance issues for the smaller nonprofit cultural institution. She represented the Council of State Archivists on a multi-year, IMLS-funded project exploring leadership training and development across libraries, archives and museums.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


EnlargeAndrew Andoniadis

Andrew Andoniadis

Improving Your Museum Store's Benchmarks

Friday, February 8, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Andrew Andoniadis, Andoniadis Retail Services

To go somewhere you need to know where you are. Keeping an eye on merchandise trends, upcoming exhibits, customer preferences, etc. is an important part of staying abreast of the market. Keeping track of financial and other numerical trends, however, is equally important. Knowing how your store is doing in just a handful of key areas can help you make better plans for the future. And, having a history of statistics will help you evaluate changes you have made. Whether you are a history, art or children's museum, botanical garden, zoo or historical site, you need to have the facts before making decisions. This program will address some easily assembled statistical facts and simple formulas that are applicable to most museum stores. Then, there will be a discussion of some of the most impactful factors that improve benchmarks.

Since 1992, Andrew Andoniadis, a nationally-recognized expert, has specialized in enhancing museum store profits. Andrew has worked with more than 400 cultural institutions of all kinds and sizes on 500 projects across the United States and internationally. In addition to consulting, Andrew designs museum stores and conducts store assessments and on-site customer experience and selling workshops. He also publishes the Profitable Times newsletter, available on his website, in which he has written about every aspect of museum store retailing. He has trained, motivated, and managed volunteers and employees for a wide range of sales, buying and administrative responsibilities. His popular, up-beat, nuts n' bolts, profit-boosting seminars and workshops, including the all-day How To Make Your Museum Store More Profitable seminar and half-day Museum Store Boot Camp, have been attended by hundreds of managers, buyers and salespeople from a wide range of museum stores.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


African American History Month

EnlargeJulia Rose

Julia Rose

Slave Dwellings as Seen through a Hollywood Lens

February 20, 2019 1:30 - 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Julia Rose, Curator, Johns Hopkins University

Since Hollywood's earliest films, rare cinematic depictions of slave dwellings have provided an image of slave habitations for many Americans. Dr. Rose will examine images of slave dwellings from popular culture in film. From Edwin Porter's 1903 silent film portrayal of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" through director Steve McQueen's 2013 Academy Award-winning film "12 Years a Slave," Dr. Rose will consider how slave life dwellings represented on film changed over the century.

Recently appointed director/curator at Homewood Museum, Dr. Rose received her doctorate from Louisiana State University. Her dissertation formed the basis of her book, Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites, published by the American Association for State and Local History.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


EnlargeJeff Wiltse

Jeff Wiltse

The Black-White Swimming Disparity in America: A Deadly Legacy of Swimming Pool Discrimination

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 2:30 – 4:00 pm CT

Presented by Jeff Wiltse, Professor of History, University of Montana

Recent studies have found that black Americans are half as likely to know how to swim as white Americans and black children are three times more likely to drown than white children. In this presentation, Professor Wiltse will explore the historical roots of these contemporary disparities, arguing that they largely result from past discrimination in the provision of and access to swimming pools. There were two times when swimming surged in popularity in the United States—at public swimming pools during the 1920s and 1930s and at suburban swim clubs during the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, large numbers of white Americans had easy access to these pools, whereas racial discrimination severely restricted black Americans' access. As a result, swimming never became integral to black Americans' recreation and sports culture and was not passed down from generation to generation as commonly occurred with white Americans.

Jeff Wiltse earned his Ph.D. in United States history from Brandeis University and is professor of history at the University of Montana, Missoula. He authored the widely acclaimed book Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America and has written numerous academic and popular articles on the history of swimming pools in the United States, the contemporary provision and use of swimming pools, and contemporary disparities in swimming and drowning rates in the United States. He has also appeared numerous times as an expert commentator on NPR and BBC radio programs and is regularly quoted in leading newspapers and periodicals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Time. He is currently working on two book-length projects. One is a history of public music in American cities, titled "In and Out of Harmony: Public Music in American Cities, 1800-1930." The second is a general history of Montana, titled "Montana and the West: A People's History."

Watch the recording by clicking here.


Women's History Month

EnlargeErin McGough

Erin McGough

Reimagining Bradford: The Project

Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Erin McGough, Executive Director, Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

The Duxbury Rural & Historical Society recently completed a multi-year project to preserve the structural integrity of the Bradford House and to re-invigorate the family history, focusing on the Bradford daughters and their incredible lives. The new exhibitions, facilities and stimulating programs developed are intended to engage the public, to be more varied & inclusive, and to appeal to audiences today. The new exhibition, "Four Bradford Daughters: Lives Well-Lived" opened July 2017, and repairs to the house were completed. In June 2018, the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society received an Award of Merit (Leadership in History Award) from the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH), for the project to "Re-imagine Bradford."

Erin McGough, Executive Director, Duxbury Rural and Historical Society, started in 2012 and has 15 years of experience in museum work. Previously she was registrar at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where she oversaw a collection of 750,000 objects and created both collections management and emergency preparedness plans. She was also registrar and collections manager at the Concord Museum, where she organized the collections, participated in the design and installation of three to four exhibits a year, and managed a half-million dollar renovation. Erin is a graduate of The College of William & Mary and has a Master's degree in Art History & Museum Studies from Tufts University. She received further training at the Peabody Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


EnlargeAnne Ackerson

Anne Ackerson

EnlargeJoan Baldwin

Joan Baldwin

Women in Museums

Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin

According to an August 2016 Pew Research survey, 56 percent of American men think sexism is over and done with and that "the obstacles that once made it harder for women than men to get ahead are now largely gone." Most women – 63 percent  disagree. In this session, Joan Baldwin and Anne Ackerson, the authors of the book, Women in the Museum: Lessons from the Workplace, discuss gender equity issues persistently plaguing the field. From micro-aggressions to unconscious bias to toxic workplace environments, we will explore the implications of an inequitable workplace for a field that prides itself on open and equal public access.

Joan Baldwin holds an AB from Kenyon College, and an MA from Case Western Reserve University. She has been a museum director, a program analyst for the New York State Council on the Arts, and Program Director for the Museum Association of the State of New York. Currently the Curator of Special Collections at The Hotchkiss School, she is the co-author of Leadership Matters and principal writer for its blog, Leadership Matters.

Anne W. Ackerson served as director of several historic house museums and historical societies in New York State, director of the Museum Association of New York, and executive director of the National Council of State Archivists. As an independent consultant, Anne focuses on organizational development and planning and governance issues for the smaller nonprofit cultural institution. She represented the Council of State Archivists on a multi-year, IMLS-funded project exploring leadership training and development across libraries, archives and museums.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


EnlargeMary Van Balgooy

Mary Van Balgooy

Interpreting Women at Historic Sites

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Mary Van Balgooy, Executive Director, Society of Woman Geographers

Although women are a crucial part of our heritage, historic sites often portray them as pleasant homemakers or radical feminists. Is this an accurate representation? No. Historians use many tools in interpreting history, and the tools used by present-day historians give the impression that men make history. However, by using a different set of tools to interpret women, a new narrative arises where women are just as active as men, participating in all facets of society and redefining history as we know it. In this presentation, Mary van Balgooy will discuss the state of the field of women's history; examine the current challenges and opportunities for interpreting women at historic sites; and give audience participants the right tools to research, uncover, and interpret women and their significance in history.

Mary A. Van Balgooy is an award-winning museum professional who has worked in a variety of institutions, including archives, botanic gardens, historic houses, historical societies, museums, preservation organizations, universities, and governmental agencies at city, county, and federal levels with major responsibilities for administration, collections, education and interpretation, fundraising, governance, preservation, and public relations. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area and is Executive Director of the Society of Woman Geographers and vice president of Engaging Places LLC.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


EnlargeDonna Ann Harris

Donna Ann Harris

Best Practices for Board Service: Historic House Museums - Part I

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Donna Ann Harris, Heritage Consulting Inc.

Clear up the confusion about who does what in historic house museum organizations by participating in this two-part webinar. During the first of two webinars on this topic, we will discuss the legal responsibilities of all nonprofit board members according to state nonprofit law and how these duties apply to nonprofit historic house museum boards. We will discuss the three board responsibilities, called the Duty of Care, Loyalty, and Obedience to the Law, and how your historic site can demonstrate your understanding of these duties and the organizational policies and practices you can implement to assure that you exceed these minimum requirements. We will share some true but shocking stories along the way (no names please!) about good boards gone bad so that your organization won't make the same mistakes. This training is derived from Ms. Harris' chapter "The Essential Role of Boards in Reimagining Historic House Museums" in Reimaging the Historic House Museum: Catalysts for Change, edited by Kenneth Turino and Max Van Balgooy for Rowman and Littlefield, Publishers, available in 2020. Ms. Harris will provide a resource packet with forms, letters, articles, a bibliography, and other information to help boost your historic sites' board effectiveness.

Watch the recording by clicking here.


EnlargeDonna Ann Harris

Donna Ann Harris

Best Practices for Board Service: Historic House Museums - Part II

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Donna Ann Harris, Heritage Consulting Inc.

In Part 2 of our webinar series on Best Practices for Board Service at Historic Sites, we will discuss what historic site board members do collectively and as individuals to support the organization with their "time, talent and treasure." During this webinar, we will talk about all volunteer historic sites, as well as those with staff, to differentiate what the board versus the staff does in both types of organizations. We will highlight the leadership qualities needed in an excellent Board President (whether you have staff or not), and how the Nominating and Executive Committees can shape the future of the organization. Finally, we’ll discuss the core documents that all house museums need in order to be effective stewards of their collections and historic property. This training is derived from Ms. Harris' chapter "The Essential Role of Boards in Reimagining Historic House Museums" in Reimaging the Historic House Museum: Catalysts for Change, edited by Kenneth Turino and Max Van Balgooy for Rowman and Littlefield, Publishers, available in 2020. Ms. Harris will provide a resource packet with blank forms, letters, articles, a bibliography, and other information to help boost your historic sites’ board effectiveness.

Register for this FREE webinar by clicking here.


Historic Preservation and Archaeology History Month

Preserving Effigy Mounds

Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Rob Nurre


EnlargeJason Church

Jason Church

Cleaning Gravestones

Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Jason Church

Cleaning cemetery grave markers is many times the first project that is undertaken in cemetery preservation. It is one of the most dramatic and satisfying tasks for older cemeteries. As a conservator who specializes in cemetery preservation I constantly get questions about cleaning. This webinar will address the most common questions and give tips and techniques to clean a variety of materials, including different stone types and metals. The webinar will also cover how to identify different types of soiling and how to address each, including what you can do and when to call a conservator. 

Jason Church is a Materials Conservator in the Materials Conservation Program at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (National Park Service). Jason divides his time between conducting in-house research, organizing various training events, and teaching hands-on conservation workshops. Since 2005 he has conducted more than 100 lectures and hands-on training for cemetery conservation.  He earned his M.F.A. in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design and is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Church is currently the Conservation Chair of the Association for Gravestone Studies. 

Presented by Jason Church, Conservator, National Center of Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service

Register for this webinar by clicking here.


Paint Analysis

Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT

Presented by Steve Stuckey, Architectural Conservator, George Washington's Mount Vernon


EnlargeMt Horeb Area HS watching Local History Webinar Object Numbering

Mt Horeb Area HS watching Local History Webinar Object Numbering

Volunteers Lee Underwood, Donna Read and Aimee Arrigoni, who help maintain the Mount Horeb Area Historical Society's 25,000+ piece collection, take part in a recent Wisconsin Historical Society Local History Webinar on object labeling.

To see other past local history webinars, click here.


Learn More

Have Questions?

Contact Richard Bernstein, Local History-Field Services, Office of Programs and Outreach, Wisconsin Historical Society

Richard Bernstein
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street, Room 455
Madison, WI 53706-1482
Phone: 608-264-6583