History Skills Workshops

register for a workshop
workshop-emblemThese training opportunities help historical organizations and interested history advocates gain skills that can be applied in museums, organizations, and personal collections.

  • Workshops are held from 9 a.m. to noon (unless noted) at the Meijer Education Center at the Historical Society of Michigan, 5815 Executive Dr., Lansing, Michigan.
  • If you are a personal member of HSM or represent an organization that itself is a member of the Society, registration is $39.
  • Registration for non-members is $79 and includes a one-year HSM Individual Level 1 [Basic] membership.
  • New for 2017! Participants can now “attend” remotely, if they prefer, through Zoom Video Communications and will be able to interact with the speaker and other attendees.*
  • For in-person attendees, refreshments will be available. Lunch is on your own.
  • Materials are included with your registration. Any handouts from the presenter will be sent to remote attendees after the workshop.
*For full interaction, microphone and webcam are required on your device. Instructions on how to remote-in to the workshop will be sent to attendees.

To register for a workshop, use our secure online registration form
or call (800) 692-1828.


May 5

Byte-size Collections: Basic Digitizing of Collections

by Matthew Wilcox, Michigan State University
Digitization projects can sometimes seem overwhelming to small and/or volunteer-run historical organizations. The speaker will discuss audiovisual technology, technique, and the most efficient practices associated with digitizing audiovisual materials as well as historical paper and photograph collections. A step-by-step approach tailored for organizations possessing limited resources will be presented. This workshop is meant for historical organizations that are still in the planning stages of a digitization project.

May 19

Fund-raising to Friend-raising

by Chong-Anna Canfora, Historical Society of Michigan
Fundraising is one of the most important aspects to maintaining a successful historical organization and continuing to make history accessible to the general public, but many are unsure of how to approach companies, organizations, or individuals for donations. In this workshop, the speaker will discuss the fundamentals of raising money for organizations, explore new techniques being used today, and explain how attendees can maximize fundraising results.

June 2

Fading Photos: How to Identify, Scan, Restore, and Archive Historical Photographs

by Robert Myers, Historical Society of Michigan
This workshop will assist small museums, historical societies, and interested collectors in identifying and preserving their historic photographs. The presenter will review basic conservation techniques for damaged images, type identification for early photographs, ways to avoid deterioration of images, storage recommendations, digital scanning for access, and how to approach cataloging issues. There will also be plenty of time for participants to ask questions and have hands-on experiences.

June 16

Developing Junior Historians

by Matthew Hackett and Alex Konieczny, Troy Historic Village
Ever wonder how to make your historical organization more “kid-friendly”? This workshop will cover the many ways in which historical facilities can tailor their exhibits and programs to attract the involvement of children, whether they be students or with their families. Educational professionals and teams at historical societies and museums are encouraged to attend. The speakers will provide examples of how to attract young visitors and include “junior historians” in experiencing an organization’s historical mission.

July 21

Taming the Chaos and Clutter: Collection Management for Small Museums

by Robert Myers, Historical Society of Michigan
Many small museums and historical societies struggle with basic curatorial issues related to their artifact, textile, archival, and other collections. Collections management on a limited budget poses many challenges. This workshop will address a wide variety of storage, preservation, cataloging, and legal issues and will be led by a professional curator with decades of experiences in museum work.

August 4

Open Arms: Diversity and Inclusion in Programming and Exhibits

by Donna Odom, Society of History and Racial Equity (SHARE)
If you want to take steps to reach a broad audience, engage your whole community, and learn about practical steps to ensure that your historical collections, programming, and exhibits are culturally sensitive and inclusive, this is the workshop for you. The speaker will share her experiences working at the Society of History and Racial Equity and Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Attendees will benefit from this important opportunity to empower your organization to be a force for educational and social diversity.

August 18

Living in the Past: Managing Historic Houses

by Samantha Engel, Whaley Historic House Museum
Why are historic houses necessary to their communities? How are historic house museums unique? Participants of this workshop will explore answers to these questions while learning more about management, collections, and interpretation issues specific to house museums. Other discussion topics will include programming; maintenance and security concerns; landscaping; and the development of effective interpretive themes, story lines, and tours.

September 15

Archives 101

by Meghan Courtney, Wayne State University
This workshop is designed for small organizations that struggle with how to preserve and organize archival materials in their collections. The speaker will discuss proper storage and handling of collections, basic arrangement techniques, and affordable solutions for supplies and enclosures. The session will also address how to organize collections materials in a manner that makes them accessible to researchers, students, and members of the general public.

Friday, September 29

Telling Stories: Setting up an Oral History Project

by Daniel Clark, Oakland University
The practice of conducting oral interviews is a major accomplishment and an important step to preparing a larger historical project. Those looking to start an oral history project will not want to miss this workshop, which will cover the process of identifying interviewees, developing questionnaires, and conducting interviews. Attendees will also learn the importance of organizing and maintaining oral histories so that they can be accessed by researchers in the future.

October 13

Advanced Archives

by Alexandra Orchard, Wayne State University
This workshop is designed for participants who have some experience working with archival materials and have already gained a basic understanding of archival principles. Participants will learn advanced skills in handling a variety of items and making them accessible. The speaker will provide details on arrangement and description methods of physical collections, from large to small, while touching on management and the delivery of both physical and digital materials.

October 27

Exhibits on a Shoestring

by Tammy Barnes, Tibbits Opera House
What makes a museum exhibit communicate its message successfully? How do historical organizations present concepts so they are compelling to visitors but still within the budget? Building professional-looking exhibits on a limited budget has become easier in recent years due to advancements in graphic design and printing technologies. Drawing from personal experiences working in small museums, the speaker will address several low-cost options for designing and mounting displays. Organizations with changing exhibit areas are especially encouraged to attend.

November 10

Taking Oral Histories One Step Further

by Dean Rehberger, Michigan State University
Completing the interviews for an oral history project is a major accomplishment, but it is not the final step by any means. Attendees of this workshop will understand the significance of properly cataloging and storing oral histories so that they can be accessible later for additional historians. Organizations embarking on an oral history project, as well as those with boxes of old audio and video tapes, will want to attend this informative program.

December 8

Make the Internet Your Friend: Websites for Historical Organizations

by Amy Bradfield, Maureen Buecking, and Nancy Feldbush, Historical Society of Michigan
Have you ever visited a web page and couldn’t find what you were looking for? Confusing, outdated websites can frustrate visitors and deter others from engaging with a business or organization. Come to this workshop to ensure it doesn’t happen to you. Attendees will learn how to design—or redesign—a website for their historical society or museum that will be informative, useful, reflect the organizations’ specific mission, and be user-friendly.

Refunds will not be issued for cancellations less than one week before each workshop. Your registration fee can be transferred to another workshop in the series within one year of the date of your original workshop registration.

History Skills Workshops Registration Form


Historical Society of Michigan 5815 Executive Drive Lansing, MI 48911
Email hsm@hsmichigan.org | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

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