Learn How to Care for the History In Your Community

If you work with a local museum or history group, the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) has the courses for you. Last week the HSM announced its 2012 History Skills Workshop Series for small to mid-sized historical organizations. The half-day workshops cover a wide range of topics, ranging from caring for historic objects made from wood to copyright issues for historic collections. This year, HSM is also offering three, full-day “StEPs” workshops developed and co-sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).

StEPs, or the Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations, is a voluntary assessment program for small and mid-sized history organizations that is facilitated in Michigan by the HSM. Tamara Barnes, Assistant Director for Diversity and Outreach, will lead the StEPs workshops.

If you are a personal member of HSM or represent an organization that itself is a member of the Society, registration is $39 for a half-day workshop and $79 for a full-day StEPs workshop. Registration for non-members is $79 for a half-day and $119 for a full-day StEPs workshop (non-member registration includes a one-year HSM membership). Refreshments and materials are included with your registration.

Half-day workshops are held from 9 a.m. to noon at the HSM Main Office, 5815 Executive Dr., Lansing, Michigan or the HSM Ann Arbor Office, 2117 Washtenaw. Full-day StEPs workshops are held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the HSM Main Office in Lansing. You can register via (517) 324-1828 or website.

2012 HSM Course Offerings

Friday, March 9, HSM Ann Arbor Office (2117 Washtenaw)

Caring for Historic Objects made from Wood
Bill Witkowski, Conservator, Michigan Antique Preservation Co.

This workshop is designed for small museums and other historical organizations that struggle with how to properly care for artifacts made of wood. The presenter will start with an overview of wood, its life-cycle, and how natural changes occur within artifacts over time. He will then discuss ways that museums can minimize these changes and protect their wooden artifacts by following the best practices for handling, storage, display, and treatment. Workshop participants will have a chance to share and inquire about examples from their own collections. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, March 23, HSM Ann Arbor Office (2117 Washtenaw)

Basic Care, Storage, and Display of Historic Textiles
Francis Faile, Conservator and Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

This workshop is designed to help small museums and other historical organizations properly manage their historic textile collections. The presenter will cover basic care and handling for a variety of historic textiles. She will also cover inexpensive storage solutions and mounting techniques for display. Workshop participants will also have a chance to share and inquire about examples from their own collections. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, April 13, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.)

StEPs: Building a Meaningful Collection (Full-day workshop), Tamara Barnes, Historical Society of Michigan

This 6.5-hour workshop helps participants understand the value of a Scope of Collections Statement for their museum, historic house, or other history organization, and how to go about drafting one. Workshop participants will learn how a Scope of Collections Statement will help them meet a variety of “bottom lines” in collections management, the difference between Mission and Scope of Collections Statements, and how to start the process of drafting a Scope of Collections Statement for their organization. HSM Member $79; Non-member $119.

Friday, May 4, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.) 

Historic Books: How to Identify, Mend, Collect and Care for Valuable Volumes
Jay Platt, West Side Book Shop

Do you work with or collect old or collectable books? This workshop will discuss how to identify valuable volumes, care for and catalogue books, and build a library. It will also cover storage considerations, basic mending techniques that are archival safe, and issues related to book collecting. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, June 1, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.)

StEPs: Money Matters: Building Better Budgets for Small Museums (Full-day workshop)
Tamara Barnes, Historical Society of Michigan

This workshop helps people understand not only the “how,” but the “why” of nonprofit financial management. Workshop instruction and activities include preparing a budget, variance analysis, financial reports, and revenue sources. HSM Member $79; Non-member $119.

Friday, July 13, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.) 

Fading Photos: How to Identify, Scan, Restore & Archive Historic Photographs
Robert Myers, Berrien County Historical Association

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, how to avoid deterioration of your images, storage recommendations, digital scanning for access, and how to approach cataloging issues. There will also be plenty of time for workshop participants to ask questions and have hands-on experiences. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, August 3, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.)

Fabricating Professional Exhibits for Under $500 
Tamara Barnes, Historical Society of Michigan

Building professional-looking exhibits on a shoe-string budget has actually gotten easier in recent years with the many advances in graphic design and printing technologies. The presenter will discuss several low-cost options for designing and mounting displays. Using examples from her experiences working in small museums, Barnes will take participants through multiple project budgets—all under $500.  Participants will also have a chance to practice several tricks of the trade, including foam-core mounting and vinyl letter application.  HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, August 17, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.)

Copyright Issues for Historic Collections
Portia Vescio, Archivist, MSU Archives
Julia Frankosky, Copyright Librarian, MSU Archives

Unsure of how to protect your historic images online?  Need help developing usage policies?  These are just a couple of topics that will be explored in this informative presentation. Speaking from the perspective of historical collections, the two presenters will highlight the parts of copyright law that are especially important to small institutions. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, September 7, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.)

Basic Archives
Marian Matyn, Archivist, Clarke Historical Library

This workshop is designed for small museums and other historical organizations that struggle with how to collect, organize, maintain and make available archival materials in their collections. The presenter will discuss the best practices related to donor documentation, arrangement and description issues, how to handle photographs, public access issues, and much more. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, October 12, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.)

StEPs: Understanding Audiences and Visitors (Full-day workshop)
Tamara Barnes, Historical Society of Michigan

This workshop will help participants understand how to collect visitor information, locate demographic research and overall trends, and use that information to make their history organization more relevant to their visitors and audiences. After completing the workshop, participants will have gained an understanding of ways to measure their own audiences, how to identify future audiences based on an understanding of their own community, and how to locate free/low-cost resources for continual market scanning. HSM Member $79; Non-member $119.

Friday, October 26, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.) 

Advanced Archives

Marian Matyn, Archivist, Clarke Historical Library 

This workshop is designed for small historical organizations with some level of archival experience and those who have already attended our Basic Archives workshop. The presenter will take a more in-depth approach to accession records, re-housing methods, and documentation for a variety of archival collections. The presenter will also discuss best practices in the care and handling of materials, public access issues, and much more. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, November 2, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.) 

Researching and Documenting Historic Textiles
Veronica Kandl, Historic Textile Specialist

Historic clothing and other textiles are often the most undocumented part of any museum’s collection. With more than 20 years of curatorial experience, the presenter will speak about the benefits of tackling these collections. She will also describe research techniques using samples from her own collection. Participants will have a chance to ask about examples from their own collections in this interactive workshop. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.

Friday, December 7, HSM Main Office – Lansing  (5815 Executive Dr.) 

Grant Writing for Special Projects
Tamara Barnes, Historical Society of Michigan

This workshop will look at the applications of three granting agencies—a local corporate community-giving program, the Michigan Council for Humanities Project Grant, and the Heritage Preservation Conservation Assessment Program—to show how small museums and historical organizations can fund a variety of projects by  utilizing resources at local, state, and national levels. HSM Member $39; Non-member $79.