Contact the Skills Training and Preservation (STP) Committee
Workshops Development Manager
December 2019 Update:
ALHFAM’s Skills Training and Preservation Initiative (STP for short) formed as a committee in 2018 and formally debuted in June 2019 at the ALHFAM Annual Meeting, held in Midland, Ontario. The goal is simple: to preserve and teach skills of the past and skills of presenting the past - that is, the skills of living history. With an ambitious plan for a library of video “SkillClips” (short videos of skills), more hands-on workshops and presentations, and valuable partnerships, ALHFAM is positioning itself as the leader in the skills of bringing history to life.
The new SkillClips Library is available to anyone with a login to ALHFAM’s website. On the website, not only can a member learn from the library, but also learn how to make SkillClip videos and to submit videos. This SkillClips program has already invigorated museum site staffs to film seasonal chores and farm events - as the news of the successful program spread, a large library is planned. All submitted video details are searchable using ALHFAM’s online database, the ALHFAM Skills and Knowledgebase (“A.S.K.”), so if one is searching for not only material on a living history subject, a “how-to” video might be available too. The A.S.K. interface and computer servers are also being upgraded, so it will be easier to search for information.
As a sideline activity, the STP even started "SkillClips Visit” program to help sites identify possible skills and situations ripe for SkillClips material, and to introduce methods and techniques for videotaping. The model for the SkillClips visit program is based on “Ag Visits” model: visit sites to teach them skills on their own turf. A test of this program in NJ has already generated excitement and enthusiasm for filming skills and for creating a video library in individual sites. The “SkillClips Visit" hopes to roll out to sample regions sometime soon.
As part of the STP, hands-on skills workshops are a valuable part of teaching skills of the past. Thanks to periodic surveys, ALHFAM has a list of what skills members are seeking to learn and upgrade. To that end, the STP’s first non-conference skills workshop debuted this September: the first 2-day STP workshop on plowing, under the assistance and hosting of Tillers International in Scott, MI. With Jim Slining’s help and experience, Tillers and the STP organized and executed two days of concentrated practical field experience, providing an opportunity for each participant to develop a platform on which to safely and accurately further develop skillful plowing into skillful historic agricultural programming at their home site. Tillers is the leader in providing small-scale farmers in developing countries to improve food security concerns in their communities, and creates classes in woodworking, metal working, and animal handling to support their educational efforts for these developing countries. ALHFAM recognizes the high value that Tillers provides, and is proud and humbled that Tillers agreed to partner with the STP for this first (and perhaps just the first of many) stand-alone non-conference workshop.
For the future, the STP has big hopes for special partnerships with other museum organizations, more “how to create your SkillClip” workshops, workshops in valuable museum skills, living history presentation skills, as well as historical trades and skills. There are even plans for online classes (recorded or live-streaming) for people who cannot travel due to financial issues, time constraints, or other reasons. We expect to upgrade our video offerings to start the plans for these online classes.
The STP invites all ALHFAM members, sites, and regions to visit the STP on the ALHFAM website, learn about the program, and to develop workshops, presentations, SkillClips, which can help our whole ALHFAMily in every region - in person and online.