About The Author

David Grabitske

David Grabitske is the manager of outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

As of today, 166 organizations have enrolled in the American Association for State and Local History StEPs program in its first eleven months of operation. The twelve states with the most enrollments are:

1. Texas (20)
2. Ohio (19)
3. California (8)
4. Pennsylvania (8)
5. Virginia (8)
6. Illinois (7)
7. Kentucky (6)
8. Alaska (5)
9. Colorado (5)
10. Maryland (5)
11. Minnesota (5)
12. Tennessee (5)

From our pilot project, we learned that some museums and historical societies like to work within a group on a project like StEPs. The group structure helps them meet other paid and unpaid museum staff in their state, share ideas/issues, and feel accountable to the group to keep making progress. This last point is especially important given that many organizations will be in the StEPs program for several, if not many, years (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) Staying motivated and engaged in the program will be important. Given all of this, I encourage museums within each state to consider forming StEPs user groups.

If staff and/or funding is not available for someone to lead a user group in your state, you might start a discussion with your state museum association, field service office, state historical society, or state humanities council about possible grant funding for a group facilitator or “coach.” I’ve spoken with staff from several state humanities councils and they expressed interest in the idea. One state, Minnesota, has created a grant program that offers funding for enrollment in StEPs plus money for a consultant and supplies.

Cherie Cook
AASLH

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