ALHFAM Conference addresses “The Future of the Past”
Remaining relevant in a fast-paced, technology-driven society can be a challenge for heritage organizations. This June, the Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) is hosting its annual meeting in Tacoma, WA to discuss “The Future of the Past.” The conference, hosted by Fort Nisqually in partnership with Metro Parks Tacoma and the Fort Nisqually Foundation, will prioritize discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion at cultural institutions and the role living history will play in future museum interpretation.
ALHFAM, a professional organization that serves individuals and organizations involved in the collection, preservation or interpretation of material culture, traditional skills, and historical processes, has been at the forefront of the growth and professionalization of the use of living history techniques in museum programs. “Experiential learning – or learning by doing – allows visitors to relate to subject matter in a way that creates deeper meaning,” says Jim Lauderdale, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum Supervisor and Chair of the 2022 ALHFAM Conference. “ALHFAM is guided by its mission to share practical knowledge and skills among those who make history relevant to contemporary lives.”
The 2022 Conference, its first in-person meeting since 2019, will do just that. Professional development field trips and service projects to regional heritage sites that employ living history and share the stories of diverse communities in the Pacific Northwest are a large focus of the conference. Attendees will visit the Museum of Flight and Klondike Gold Rush National Park in Seattle, the Puyallup Canoe Landing Place and Reservation, the Squaxin Island Museum and Library Research Center, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and other regional attractions. Sessions and workshops offer discussions on including diverse voices, attracting new audiences, and building innovative programs to serve broad audiences. Scheduled sessions range from discussions on building summer camp programs for immigrant populations, creating museum podcasts, the history of transgender populations in the West, to restoring heirloom crops.
Annual traditions are also returning, allowing attendees to reconnect and socialize with one another. The Smoked, Salted and Pickled Reception features member-prepared cured, preserved, and pickled foods, the annual Fashion Show highlights period clothing, and the Ploughing Competition brings interpreters and livestock together to plow Fort Nisqually Living History Museum’s heritage wheat field using traditional techniques.
Early Bird registration for the 2022 Conference is now open for both ALHFAM members and non-members. Attendees can choose from single day and full conference registration. Information can be found at https://alhfam.org/2022-Conference.