September 5, 2019
Last week I attended the AASLH Annual Meeting for the first time located in Philadelphia. If you were following along with me on Twitter, I tweeted a lot about the sessions I attended, the events I participated in, and the places in Philadelphia I visited on my own. I included a highlight of tweets from the Annual Meeting in this post, and to see all of tweets I posted they can be found on the page here @Steward2Lindsey. Because I have not been to Philadelphia since I was a teenager, I was naturally excited to return and explore the area while I could during the conference.
I started tweeting about the conference the night before since I was so excited. I got the song “One More Sleep ‘til Christmas” from The Muppets Christmas Carol stuck in my head thinking about one more night until I leave for Philadelphia which inspired this tweet:
I will admit that it was hard for me to sleep the night before because I was so excited to be going back to a city I have not been in many years. In the morning, I left with my Three Village Historical Society colleagues to the Philadelphia 201 Hotel where the conference took place.
We arrived in Philadelphia later in the morning to check into our rooms. Once we put our things in our rooms, we went to the registration table to check in and get our totes that include conference programs, leaflets, and tickets for lunches as well as events. My colleagues and I went our separate ways to do our own plans in the city. Wednesday is technically the first day of the conference since there are several workshops that require an additional registration fees for each workshop. Since I have not been to the city in years, I decided to not sign up for them opting to explore the area instead. I went to take a tour of Independence Hall, visited the Liberty Bell, explored the Museum of the American Revolution, looked inside Carpenter’s Hall, and walked through the 18th Century Garden. After attending the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience reception, I walked to Chinatown to get some dim sum.
On the official first day of the conference I attended the opening plenary (opening panel discussion), first time attendee reception, and sessions. When I was sending tweets from the conference, I followed the social media guidelines AASLH provided to show where one was tweeting from such as #plenary, #keynote, and if one is attending a session the hashtag starts with “#s” then the session number (i.e. #s10) listed in the program.
After attending the morning sessions, I went to the Educators and Interpreters Affiliation Luncheon which had three courses including an irresistible chocolate cake. During the luncheon, we learned more about the Museum of the American Revolution and its education program offerings.
I attended afternoon sessions after the luncheon including, and these are a few of my favorite moments from the sessions:
In the evening, I went to an evening event that took place at the Eastern State Penitentiary. After getting off the bus, the first thing I did was participated in a twenty-minute introduction tour. Then I walked around the Penitentiary on my own looking at various cells including Al Capone’s cell. At the Penitentiary, there are a few food stations that offered various cuisine; for instance, there is one station that served Philly Cheese steaks and another one that served sushi and dumplings. I also went through an exhibit called Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration that illustrates what prisons are like in recent years in both general facts and in more personal experiences. In a future blog post, I will talk more about my experiences at this museum. While waiting for the bus heading back to the hotel, I watched part of the animation films, made by people currently in prison, that were projected onto the Penitentiary’s wall outside the main entrance.
On the second day, the Three Village Historical Society colleagues and I participated in a poster session to talk about the Founder’s Day program which won a Leadership in History Award from AASLH. Then I attended a luncheon for historic house museums, and sessions about reworking historic house tours and advocacy for equity. In the evening, I joined the rest of the Three Village Historical Society conference participants and staff/colleagues who were able to come down to attend the Awards banquet as the Historical Society received the award.
On the last day of the conference, I attended morning sessions about finances in historic house museums and revamping school programs. While the rest of the day were more workshops, I decided to walk around Philadelphia before I left the city. I went to places including Betsy Ross’s House, Elfreth’s Alley, the Science History Institute, Christ Church and Burial Ground, and the Quaker Meeting House.
Overall, I enjoyed the conference and it made me want to go to Philadelphia again so I could see more of the city. The sessions were informative and are helpful as I move forward in my career. To see more tweets from the conference, they are available on my Twitter page.
If you have any questions about the sessions I attended, please reach out to me on my social media pages or here.