Annual Conference

2015 CLHO Annual Conference – June 1, 2015

Connecting to Community: Making History Collections Relevant in a Modern World

Connecticut League of History Organizations Annual Conference Four Points by Sheraton, Meriden, Connecticut Monday, June 1, 2015

Be a CLHO Annual Conference Sponsor or Join us in the Exhibitor Hall!

— Conference sponsorships are available at all levels. For more information Click Here!

–To register as a conference sponsor or exhibitor click this link!  2015 Sponsorship Registration Form

Conference Overview: As a volunteer and/or staff member at a museum, historical society, historic house, or archive you know that your collections are central to your organization’s existence. These resources shape mission and vision, define values, and guide institutional planning.  The traditional notion of collect, preserve and interpret intentionally focuses upon visitors walking through the front door; however, today’s studies indicate that our public wants and expects more accessibility to cultural resources and organizations.  But in today’s fast-paced world, what do our collections truly mean to our audiences, and how might knowing this influence our programs and policies?  Does this virtual way of engaging our audiences enhance and deepen their connection to our heritage collections?  Do these new virtual opportunities and online visitors encourage public support of preservation efforts and strengthen the relevancy of our historic collections?  What might we be losing if our audience views access to our collections or museum as primarily digital?  What happens if our face-to-face connections are lost?

Please join us for the Connecticut League of History Organizations Annual Conference in Meriden on June 1, 2015 to explore the many traditional and non-traditional ways that museums, historical societies, historic houses, and archives use their collections to establish relevance to their communities.  Be a part of our conversations examining what accessibility means today and how to encourage it while staying true to core missions and values. The conference program will include how-to practical presentations (e.g. collections management, digital preservation, reproduction sales, and insurance issues), inspirational sessions, and program models which will explore the various ways that heritage collections bridge the gap between past and present to truly connect audiences to our collective future.




2014 Annual Conference…

Thanks to all sponsors, participants and presenters at the CLHO  2014 Annual Conference: “Museums as Community Hubs.” Held on Monday June 2, 2014, at the Hilton, Mystic, CT.

Our Sponsors

New England Insurance Services, Inc.,  

Fine Arts Security Transport, LLC

BELFOR Property Restoration

We hope those who attended the CLHO Annual Conference enjoyed the program.

As our speakers share their presentations, we will be happy to post on the website.

Click below for a complete list of Conference attendees.

CLHO 2014 Conference List of Attendees

Click here to view the preliminary conference program: 2014 CLHO CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Click here to see a list of Conference speakers: CLHO 2014 Annual Conference Speaker Biographies

Click here for a detailed description of Conference sessions: CLHO Annual Conference 2014 Sessions

The CLHO Annual Conference

The CLHO presents an annual conference each year on the first Monday after the first Sunday in June. The conference is an opportunity for our members and friends to delve deeply into a topic of interest to the heritage and collecting community in the state. During the conference, the CLHO conducts its annual meeting and election of board and officers, and hosts an awards ceremony for our Awards of Merit winners.


2013 Annual Conference Report

On June 3, 2013, the CLHO welcomed over 125 representatives from history museums and heritage organizations across Connecticut to the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury for a day-long program on building collaborative relationships.

To better serve our members, notes, resources and other material for the conference may be accessed below.

Collaboration Keynote Address by Sally Whipple, Executive Director of Connecticut’s Old State House, June 3, 2013

Notes From: Collaboration Possibilities – CLHO Annual Meeting, June 3, 2013

Group A

Development and availability of exhibits that could travel and work with local heritage organizations to develop a local angle; using an Arcadia Press template as a model. Concern expressed of how long the exhibit material could last, and therefore the need to plan for travel so these exhibit materials would not get beaten up. It was further observed that this approach would make the expertise and labor of larger organizations available to a variety of smaller organizations, if the larger organizations could agree to do this.

Another dream project was discussed that included an 18-wheeler tractor trailer that was made into a mobile museum on Connecticut history that could then travel from town to town around Connecticut to serve the underserved. Issues of cost and liability were discussed.

To address the issue of the limited availability of school buses bringing students to museum field trips the suggestion was made for Connecticut museums to work together to get access to chartered buses that could transport students on field trips without the necessity to return to their school districts for daily afternoon school bus runs. Admittedly this is a complex issue that involves lots of people, chaperones, teachers, administrators, site staff, bus companies. Timing is also a challenge, when school groups arrive late museum programs often have to be reduced to accommodate school buses need to return for afternoon bus runs. This discussion led to the suggestion for heritage organizations negotiate with bus companies to make them available for field trips independently from school buses. Heritage organizations working together as a large group might give them more leverage in negotiations. It was suggested to poll the CLHO membership and beyond to get reaction to this issue. It was also suggested that the Connecticut Museum Educators Roundtable might discuss this as an issue to help determine whether this is a real problem or not.

Another issue discussed was the need to preserve architectural records around Connecticut. Architects need a place to donate their records. AIA and CLHO might develop an “Architectural Records Exchange,” to find the right “home” for these kinds of records that are otherwise shredded and disposed. This discussion led to the larger issue of deaccessioning and the possibility of the CLHO serving as a matchmaker/clearinghouse – to help find the right home for things. Information might be provided for people looking for the appropriate place to donate items. Another complex issue with considerable details and questions but worthy of further discussion.

Notes taken by Sarah Griswold, compiled by Bruce Reinholt.

Group B

What might collaboration look like when you’re working with a diverse group of organizations that “reflect” heritage, but might not all be museums?

Our group identified some successful collaborations and were especially interested in “walks” or other Connecticut Trails. These programs, like the Brass History Trail (along the Naugatuck River), Railroad trails, and “Museums in the Streets” in Ridgefield really cross market and have benefits for many players – not only heritage community, but local stores, etc.

Take advantage of “Walk CT Family Guides”, and visit Connecticut Walks website.

Think outside the box when thinking about how to theme walks. Trails have proven very successful, which incorporate driving and walking, and cover rural and suburban locations.

The group also explored the concept of “Low Impact Collaboration”, defined as collaborations that are almost taking place already, so just need a little nurturing to get moving.

–   Might not always need something new, but look at putting what is already there together in new ways, and consider new kinds of collaborative partners.

–   Active recreation is the largest growing tourism initiative

Notes taken by Liz Shapiro

Group C

Group C concentrated its discussion on sharing resources, collaborative funding requests, and the differences and similarities between collaboration and consolidation.


At this time, we need to build relationships: to save fiscally. Possibly share other (staff) resources.

Foundations and other fiscal resources should take the lead (the United Way is with social service organization) to empower and encourage collaboration ie: funding to share staff (back office staff: book keepers etc.)

These relationships might not be of the same discipline (history orgs and social service) but if an organization like United Way took a leadership role, this should help with pairing.

Institutions should be creative in their requests:

– Programming: organizations compete for audience: Think in ways other than competition. Share and collaborate

–  Figure out what a collaboration really is and how it might look for each institution: Take big chunks of the task. ie: one org could take marketing and PR another could book all the talent or lectures, another could be the bookkeeper.

Big Question: Are there too many of us? How can we collaborate to consolidate?

Notes taken by Laurie Rayner.

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