The 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City, MO

Join 1000 public history professionals and volunteers September 26-29 at the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, and experience four days of learning, collaboration, networking, and inspiration.

The AASLH Annual Meeting is known for practical sessions, takeaways galore, hallway conversations, unmatched evening events, new life-long friendships, intensive workshops, and the inspiration that comes from being around other history-doers.

2018 Annual Meeting Theme: Truth or Consequences

Museums and history sites have been ranked among America’s most trusted institutions in an age where trust continues to erode and truth sometimes becomes murky. Our history organizations maintain the trust if we continue to tell the truth. But what is truth when our work is based on interpretation of the historical evidence and interpretations change? How do people know what to believe?

We in the history field know that truth is based on an underlying complexity and on multiple perspectives and sources. It is our responsibility to help our audiences to see that complexity and to understand how we reach our conclusions based on solid historical research. It is also our responsibility to provide a forum where people can come together to explore the complexity of the past. We demonstrate our relevance to society when we dig into historical evidence, question its validity and provide much-needed historical context in relation to contemporary issues that impact the world around us.

Are there consequences to avoiding the complexity of the past? What do they look like? How is society impacted when we fail to show multiple perspectives and the gray areas of history? What are specific challenges to showing complexity? Are there costs? It is often risky to tell stories people don’t want to hear. Could we do a better job at explaining how we do research and teaching how to be critical thinkers?  What does that look like?

Our host city, Kansas City, offers a rich complexity that permeates its past. From native Missouri, Oto, Kansa and Osage lands, the region became a crossroads of French traders and settlers traveling west on the Oregon, California and Santa Fe trails. The Kansas-Missouri border became the first battlefield of the Civil War, and in many respects the border war continues today. The swirling parade of historical figures includes Latter-day Saints, explorers Lewis and Clark, President Harry Truman, the Kansas City Monarchs Negro Leagues baseball team and stars Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, and Amelia Earhart from nearby Atchison, Kansas. Its central location led to it becoming the second busiest railroad center in the country, and soon its booming stockyards led to famous Kansas City steak. Kansas City became the center of jazz music. It had no equal, mainly due to the willingness during prohibition of the political boss Tom Pendergast to all alcohol to flow.

And after World War I, Kansas City quickly raised more than $2.5 million in just ten days to build a memorial to honor the Great War. As President Calvin Coolidge noted upon its dedication in 1926, “[The Liberty Memorial] has not been raised to commemorate war and victory, but rather the results of war and victory which are embodied in peace and liberty…. Today I return in order that I may place the official sanction of the national government upon one of the most elaborate and impressive memorials that adorn our country.”

The city has also struggled with racial segregation, and today remains as one of the more segregated U.S. cities. Nationally known developer J.C. Nichols introduced and perfected racial housing restrictions in the 1910s. As Kansas City continued to grow and new suburban housing flourished in neighboring Kansas, federal housing policies cemented the racial segregation. The Johnson County (KS) Museum unravels how that history has impacted the metropolitan region while acknowledging the experiences of its largely white homogenous population.

Today, the city’s heritage unfolds in a wide variety of museums, performing arts, and entertainment venues, a great bar and food scene – and some of the best BBQ in the country. Its creative spirit is captured in its economic and business development. Businesses such as Garmin, Hallmark, H & R Block, and Sprint find their roots there, and spur new businesses and entrepreneurial ventures.

Truth or Consequences is a thread woven through the stories told in many of its cultural institutions – stories found in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Truman Presidential Library, and American Jazz Museum. The National World War I Museum and Memorial plays a proud role in the global centennial commemoration of World War I where Truth or Consequences continues to be examined as the war’s enduring impact continues.

As we face the challenges of teaching truth and revealing complexity and many perspectives, Kansas City serves as a perfect place to gather and learn from each other.

The 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting theme is Truth or Consequences

Proposals are due December 8, 2017

Proposals are submitted online and are due December 8. Contact Bethany Hawkins with any questions at or 615-320-3203.


All concurrent sessions and exhibit hall will be held at the Kansas City Conference Center in downtown Kansas City, MO. Some meal functions, workshops, and receptions will be held at the headquarter hotel, the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Registration packet pick up will be at the Kansas City Conference Center.

Kansas City Convention Center
301 West 13th Street, Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 6410

Kansas City Marriott Downtown
200 West 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
Rate: $167 per night plus tax.
Cut-off date for reservations is August 26 or when block is full, whichever comes first. The room block will open for reservations in January 2018.

Registration for the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting will open in June of 2018.

There are several opportunities for scholarships to attend the AASLH Annual Meeting. Those listed below are examples of scholarships that were available for the 2017 Austin Annual Meeting. Check back as we will update when deadlines are finalized.

AASLH Small Museums Scholarship 

The AASLH Small Museums Community offers scholarships for individuals to attend the AASLH Annual Meeting. These scholarships are available to a full or part-time paid or volunteer employee of a small museum (annual budget of up to $250,000). The scholarships cover the cost of the conference registration and the Small Museums Luncheon, with any remaining funds to offset travel and/or lodging expenses. The scholarships are open to AASLH individual members or people working for institutional members and is a benefit of membership. The number of scholarships vary depending on the amount of donations made to the Small Museums Scholarship Fund.

AASLH Douglas Evelyn Scholarship for Diversity 

The Evelyn Scholarship is named in honor of Douglas Evelyn, AASLH president from 1992-1994, and recognizes Evelyn’s strong support of AASLH’s professional development mission. A primary objective of the Douglas Evelyn Scholarship is to increase racial or ethnic diversity at the AASLH annual meeting and in all of the association’s programs. Two available scholarships included annual meeting registration fee, a one-year individual membership in AASLH, and $500 toward travel and hotel expenses.

Annual Meeting Diversity Scholarships 

Thanks to generous support from the Summerlee Foundation, the 2017 Austin Host Committee offered ten fellowships to increase diverse participation at the AASLH annual meeting. The scholarship was open to full-time, part-time, and volunteer staff from institutions across the state of Texas. Preference was given to people who expand the diversity of the conference in areas such as ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status to support the conference’s theme “I AM History.” Each $500 scholarship was provided to cover the annual meeting registration fee and additional meeting events or travel and hotel expenses.

Robert W. Richmond Scholarship

The Heritage League of Greater Kansas City offers a $500 scholarship and complimentary registration for beginning professionals to attend the AASLH annual meeting in honor of Robert W. Richmond, Heritage League founder and past president 1985-1986 of the American Association for State and Local History. To apply for the Robert W. Richmond Fund Scholarship, new professionals (less than 5 years in the museum profession) from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, or Iowa, who are Heritage League members in good standing and have never attended an AASLH conference, should submit a letter of application discussing their goals in the history field, and how their organization will benefit from their participation in the AASLH annual meeting. Instructions to apply will be posted here as we get closer to opening the Annual Meeting registration.

Full-time Students

It’s not a scholarship, but full-time students can receive free registration to the AASLH Annual Meeting in exchange for working two four-hour shifts during the meeting. Volunteer opportunities include monitoring sessions, distributing session evaluations, assisting with transportation to evening events, and more. Contact Terry Jackson for more information.

How do I register? There are two ways to register:

  • Online
  • Fax or mail the registration form

I am a staff member of an Institutional Member, what do I need? You need your Institution’s membership number to receive membership rates.

I need to register someone other than myself for the Annual Meeting. Can I use my username and password to register them? No. Each attendee will need to register themselves with a unique username and password.

I forgot my username and password to register. Click here and enter your email address to have your password emailed to you.

I need a receipt. Send an email to to request a receipt.

How much should I budget for the Annual Meeting? The following ranges should help you prepare your budget. Your final fees will depend on your travel expenses, how many ticketed events you attend, and how many days you attend.

  • Registration fees: Vary. Full conference registration member rates begin at $250
  • Event fees: $50 and up
  • Hotel fees: Between $129-$179
  • Travel fees: vary depending on your location

Refunds on evening events and tours. Email your cancellation to with your name, the event, and reason for cancellation. A refund may be issued if applicable. Please refer to the cancellation policy in the program guide.

Can I purchase event tickets or any other paid events onsite? Yes, if tickets are still available you can purchase onsite for any event or tour. It’s always best to purchase your ticket(s) in advance.

I am a one-day speaker and I plan to attend only on the day that I am speaking. Do I need to fill out a registration form and pay registration fees? Yes, everyone who attends the conference needs to fill out a registration form and pay for their registration.

Who is considered a “guest” on the registration form? Anyone who accompanies you to the Annual Meeting that is not going to attend any sessions or workshops. A “guest” may attend the tours and evening events and will need a name badge for that purpose. Please be sure that you list the name of your guest(s) in the “Guest’s name” field on your registration form.

Will I be included in the Attendee directory that is sent out to all attendees prior to the annual meeting? Yes, all attendees will be included in this directory as long as your registration is received 3 weeks before the annual meeting. However, if you check the box “Please exclude me from the attendee directory ” on the registration form, you will not be included in the directory.

I have a “complimentary” registration because I am an exhibitor, a host site, or a volunteer. Can I register on your website? No, you will need to mail or fax a completed registration form to us.

We received coupon(s) from AASLH, can I register on your website and use them? No, you will need to mail or fax a completed registration form to us and include a copy of the coupon(s).