CLHO Annual Conference 2022, The Future of History: Looking Past the Pandemic Toward New Ways of Working, Monday, June 6, 2022, Wethersfield, CT

Preliminary Program

IMPORTANT: This is an old draft of the conference schedule. For the most up-to-date information, please view the final conference program PDF.

Schedule at a Glance

8:00 Registration and Museum Marketplace Opens in Webb Barn

8:10–8:50 Early Bird Walking Tour of Old Wethersfield (sign up at registration)

9:00–10:00 Breakout Sessions I

10:00–10:30 Coffee Break in Museum Marketplace

10:30–11:30 Breakout Sessions II

11:45–12:45 Lunch Break (Boxed Lunches in Barn) & Museum Marketplace

12:00–12:30 Optional Lunch Time Meetups (Various Locations and Topics)

12:00–12:40 Walking Tour of Old Wethersfield, Guided Tours of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Houses (sign up at registration)

1:00–2:00 Keynote Panel, Door Prize Winner Announced, Museum Marketplace Closes

2:15–3:15 Breakout Sessions III

3:15–3:30 Fresh Air Break

3:30–4:30 Breakout Sessions IV

5:00 Winding Down Happy Hour

Choose your track!

To help you navigate the program, we have organized sessions along several thematic tracks to best fit what you need to discover the future of history. You don't need to stick to a track—feel free to pick and choose!

Track 1: Education & Interpretation

Track 2: Diversity & New Voices

Track 3: Reinterpretation

Track 4: New Opportunities

Track 5: What’s New in Collections and Archives

Early Bird Activities 

Walking Tour #1 (8:10-8:50am) - Meeting Location: ??

Ancient Burying Ground 

Martha Smart, Wethersfield Historical Society Research Librarian  

Smart leads a guided tour of some of the highlights of Wethersfield’s oldest and most recognized landmark: the Ancient Burying Ground. The tour focuses on a few specific monuments in the cemetery and how they reflect the Puritan values about lineage, status, and one’s accomplishments in life and how those values evolved over time. Smart provides the viewer with a fundamental understanding of historic burial practices and the religious and cultural influences that gave rise to them.

9:00–10:00: Breakout Sessions I

Track 1: Education & Interpretation - Room: ??

Transforming the Field Trip: Engaging Students in the Study of Slavery in a Colonial House Museum

Dr. Tracey Wilson, Liz Devine, Jenn Matos, Diana Petro

Participants will learn about the Noah Webster House’s collaborative model to transform its field trip program based on the difficult story of colonial slavery, freedom and power. The story includes museum educators, the public schools, the historical society and a more accurate interpretation of the colonial past.

Track 2: Diversity & New Voices - Room: ??

Building Community in a Pandemic Through Local History Projects

Rhoda Sachs Zahler Samuel, Ethnic Heritage Center Board, Jewish Historical Society Past President

Carolyn Broom Baker, Greater New Haven African American Historical Society, Ethnic Heritage Center

Jeanne Criscola, Criscola Design LLC

Aaron Goode, Project Historian and Social Media, Ethnic Heritage Center

Despite the pandemic, the Ethnic Heritage Center completed its fourth published book, fifth brochure and an updated website in the Walk New Haven: Cultural Heritage Tours series ( Their resources included over twenty volunteers, student interns, social media, phone interviews, support from local officials and foundations and online research.

Track 3: Reinterpretation - Room: ??

Not Just Your Traditional Museum

Brett Elliott, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Old Saybrook

What happens when a theater with a tiny museum dedicated to its namesake decides to tell Katharine Hepburn's story in a bold new way? They design a museum like theater: the space is the set, the lighting a bit theatrical, the walk through a little like following a script. All during a pandemic.

Track 3: Reinterpretation - Room: Parlor of the Hurlbut-Dunham House Museum

Historic House Reinterpretation Think Tank

Amy Northrop Wittorff, Executive Director

Kristina Oschmann, Curator

  The Dunhams were enthusiastic antiques collectors and avid supporters of historic preservation, and their home reflects these interests. Reflecting the residency of the Dunhams between 1907–1935, the house features original Rococo Revival wallpapers, painted ceilings and cornices, and ornate furnishings and accessories. The Society received the CLHO’s Award of Merit for the restoration of the house in 1996. Today, the staff is prepared to reinterpret the house for a new generation of visitors. This THINK TANK session will begin with a brief overview of the history of the house and the initial goals of a future reinterpretation before opening up the floor to sharing other reinterpretation stories, successes, and challenges.

Track 4: New & Novel Opportunities - Room: ??

A Call to Experiment: How-to Use QR Codes to Deliver Content in a Post-COVID World

Elysa Engelman, Mystic Seaport Museum

Karina Wizevich, Johns Hopkins University Museum Studies Program

Krystal Rose, Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum reopened 6 weeks into the pandemic, focused on outdoor and socially distant exhibits. This led to experimenting with QR codes to satisfy curatorial and visitor desire for more content and collections connections. We’ll share steps for making QR codes and what we’re learning: good, bad, and still-to-be-determined.

Track 5: What’s New in Collections and Archives - Room: ??

Archival Access: New Resources in Connecticut

Lizette Pelletier, Connecticut State Archives, CT State Library

Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Director, Conservation ConneCTion

Presentation on new resources developed during the pandemic and made available to cultural heritage organizations that provide educational tools and hands-on virtual learning to provide digital access to archives and manuscript collections in Connecticut.

10:30–11:30: Breakout Sessions II

Track 1: Education & Interpretation - Room: ??

How to Inspire and Engage Volunteers Through a Collaborative Docent Program

Catherine Foley, Deborah Donovan, Leslie Evans

Discover how Thames River Heritage Park Foundation envisioned, created, and implemented a 10-week, multi-site training program for prospective docents to support heritage sites. Participants learn about the vision for the program, critical planning and implementation steps, and the program experience from the perspective of a participating historic site and participant.

Track 2: Diversity & New Voices - Room: ??

“Their Lives Within These Walls”: Women’s Stories from the Bush-Holley House

Kelsie Dalton, Maggie Dimock, Stephanie Barnett, Christopher Shields,  Greenwich Historical Society 

Join the Greenwich Historical Society for a panel presentation about the lives of three incredible women who played a vital role in the historic Bush-Holley House and the archival documents that have brought their stories to light.

Track 3: Reinterpretation - Room ??

Far from Formulaic: Reimagining Your Site with Artists-in-Residence

Kenneth C. Turino, Historic New England

Jennifer Stettler Parsons, Associate Curator, Florence Griswold Museum

Rebecca Beit-Aharon, Graduate Student at University of Massachusetts, Boston

Jac Lahav, Artist

Contemporary artists help reimagine historic sites, narratives, and interpretations that engage and broaden audiences. This session will discuss best practices, share agreements and process documents, and successful examples of Artist-in-Residence programs. The outcome of these programs is to bring new life and interpretation to sites, in-person and virtually.

Track 4: New & Novel Opportunities - Room: ??

The Oral History Collaborative: Survey Results and New Opportunities

Dr. Christina M. Bleyer, Associate Vice President of Libraries and Distinctive Collections Director of Special Collections and Archives, Watkinson Library Trinity College

This session will showcase results from the new CT Humanities Initiaitve, the Oral History Collaborative, the goal of which is to assess and leverage the state's historical and cultural resources for residents, researchers, teachers, students, and other members of the public.

Track 5: What’s New in Collections and Archives - Room: ??

From Temp to Term but Never Perm: The Impact of Temporary Labor (And What We Can Do About It!)

Meg Rinn, Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library

Alison Fulmer, NEDCC (Northeast Document Conservation Center)

Join members of the New England Archivists Contingent Employment Task Force who will provide an overview of their recent survey regarding employment practices and the broader implications that part-time, temporary, grant, and contract work has for the sustainability of the cultural heritage field - and what can be done about it.

12:00–12:30pm Lunch Break Informal Meetups

Topics may include:

  • Food and Museum Interpretation
  • Surveys, Evaluation, and Questionnaires
  • CTH Grants and Opportunities
  • Resume and Cover Letter Workshop
  • STEPS Reunion
  • CT Collections User Meetup
  • Oral History Meetup
  • Executive Directors Meetup

Other Lunch Break Options 

Walking Tour #2 (12:00-12:40pm) - Meeting Location: ??

Ancient Burying Ground 

Martha Smart, Wethersfield Historical Society Research Librarian  

Smart leads a guided tour of some of the highlights of Wethersfield’s oldest and most recognized landmark: the Ancient Burying Ground. The tour focuses on a few specific monuments in the cemetery and how they reflect the Puritan values about lineage, status, and one’s accomplishments in life and how those values evolved over time. Smart provides the viewer with a fundamental understanding of historic burial practices and the religious and cultural influences that gave rise to them.

1:00–2:00: Plenary Panel

Ballroom, Wethersfield Historical Society

Join Connecticut Humanities' Executive Director Jason Mancini, Connecticut's Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums Elizabeth Shapiro, and CLHO's Executive Director Amrys Williams for a moderated conversation envisioning a new and relevant future for history and museums in Connecticut, and an exciting leadup to the Semiquincentennial in 2026.

2:15–3:15: Breakout Sessions III

Track 1: Education & Interpretation - Room: ??

Where Are We Now?: History Organizations and Schools in a Post-Pandemic World

Kristen Levithan, Elizabeth Norman, CT Explored

Join us for an interactive discussion about working with schools in 2022. How has COVID-19 changed what teachers want and what programs you’re offering them? Learn about Connecticut’s new social studies standards and how your institution can become part of a place-based second grade social studies curriculum now in development.

Track 2: Diversity & New Voices - Room: ??

The Future of History is Hiding in Plain Sight

Kandie Carle, East Haddam Stage Company

He was there all along. Yukitaka Osaki. He was there, but never highlighted. He was instrumental in the life of the person who was the focus of the historic site, but his own culturally diverse story was hiding in plain sight. The session will take attendees on a roller coaster ride in the creation of an interpretive program based on his life, titled Osaki-san, William Gillette's Gentleman Valet, for Gillette Castle State Park.

Track 3: Reinterpretation - Room ??

New Directions: Sharing Stories, Successes and Challenges in Historic House Museum Re-Interpretation

Kristina Oschmann, Wethersfield Historical Society

Samantha Kulish-Fargione, Weston Historical Society

Shaelyn Amaio, Connecticut Landmarks

Presenters will discuss how far along they are in the process of reinterpretation at three house museums in Connecticut, and how they are looking to trends in the field to make their sites further align with community interests. They will share successes and challenges, and attendees will have an opportunity to offer input.

Track 4: New & Novel Opportunities - Room: ??

Museum Makeover: How to Craft a Strong Proposal

Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Conservation ConneCTion

Museum Makeover was launched in 2021 and received a tremendous response from the cultural heritage community, receiving more than 60 applications. Before the grant portal opens this fall, learn how to craft a strong grant proposal to improve your museum and the visitor experience.

Track 5: What’s New in Collections and Archives - Room: ??

Find and Go Seek: How Do You Search Online, and How Can you Improve Your Own Findability

Diane Lee, CTCo/CLHO

Nick Foster, Wilton Historical Society

We all go online to research our collections. What do you find most helpful from websites when you are looking for information? Using some of that experience, how can you make sure your own online collections are findable? Primarily using ConnecticutCollections as an example the team will also be discussing overall best practices.

3:30–4:30: Breakout Sessions IV

Track 1: Education & Interpretation - Room: ?? 

To Zoom or Not to Zoom?

Natalie Belanger, Katerina Mazzacane, Corrinne Swanson, CHS

In this roundtable, programming staff from the Connecticut Historical Society will briefly share their approach to balancing digital and in-person engagement. Through a discussion of successes, setbacks, and remaining questions, participants will leave with practical strategies to develop programs for a rapidly shifting set of audience needs.

Track 2: Diversity & New Voices - Room: ??

Witness Stones Partnerships: Sharing the Stories of Slavery in Your Community

Dennis Culliton, Witness Stones Project, Inc.

Heather Lodge, Greenwich Historical Society

How can you tell the story of slavery in your community? We will share a description of the history of the Witness Stones Project. Then we will describe how the Witness Stones and Greenwich Historical Society work together. Finally, we will provide more examples and opportunities to partner with WSP.

Track 3: Reinterpretation - Room ??:

New Solutions for House Museums: Old and New Ideas for Financial Stability

Donna Ann Harris, Kenneth Turino, Historic New England

Learn how history organizations in South Dakota, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey, highlighted in the second edition of New Solutions for House Museums: Ensuring the Long-Term Preservation of America’s Historic Houses, have become financially sustainable in a conversation between author Donna Ann Harris and Ken Turino of Historic New England.

Track 4: New & Novel Opportunities - Room: ??


Michael Kemezis, CTH

Track 5: What’s New in Collections and Archives - Room: ??

Creating Your Archive of Tomorrow

Samariya Smith, Ilene Frank, Abbie Cowan, Peter Moran, Connecticut Historical Society

Proactive contemporary collecting can create new stakeholders in your community. And oral histories aren't just for academics! Your organization can build new bridges and amplify underrepresented voices with an oral history program. Participants should bring their energy for multiple hands-on activities. Please bring your business cards!

Connecticut League of Museums
Central Connecticut State UniversityDepartment of History
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050
(860) 832-2674

with support from

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