• 21 Apr 2022 8:51 PM | ALHFAM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Action Taken Against Staff at Montpelier

    The Board of Directors for the Association of Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) wishes to express our opposition to the recent events at James Madison’s Montpelier. The work done by the staff at Montpelier has set the standard in the field of museums and community engagement, inspiring countless museum professionals and organizations around the country to tell a more complete and inclusive story of our past. The Engaging Descendant Communities In the Interpretation of Slavery at Museums and Historic Site: A Rubric Established by the National Summit on Teaching Slavery document lays the foundation for how this work may be done. As an organization, ALHFAM has committed to moving forward in a similar fashion in its most recent strategic plan. Its goal is to give living history professionals the tools to interpret these difficult histories and include groups that have historically been excluded or underrepresented in the narrative at historic sites and museums.

    Just last year the Montpelier Foundation made a tangible commitment to this ideal by stating they would give equal voice and vote on the board to the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC), many of whose ancestors lived, died, and are buried on the property.  Yet, in the last few weeks, the board voted to strip this group of power, stating that the board would decide who best represents the descendants. On April 18, 2022, the President and CEO of the Montpelier Foundation dismissed several key staff members who were instrumental in developing this work. These individuals spoke out publicly against the Board's action, and it is believed their firing is in retaliation for their speaking out. We, the ALHFAM Board of Directors, are joining the broader museum community in support of the staff who were fired and of the MDC who are losing their voice and their story at this time. We urge the Montpelier Foundation to rethink these actions and once again step up to be a leader in the museum field.

    To understand history, one should not only focus on the successes of our ancestors but also shine a light on those actions that were unjust. Discussing difficult subjects is critical to understanding our society and how it functions today; however, this cannot be done if we only have one perspective dominating the discourse.

    The Board of Directors

     Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums

    You can read more about the controversy here

  • 27 Oct 2016 5:08 PM | ALHFAM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Have you checked out the ALHFAM Historic Agriculture Resources Map? If not, you should. Available for about a year, the map continues to expand and include more resources.

    The map features information about ALHFAM members that have and/or use historic agricultural collections and techniques. It was created to help us share our historic agricultural assets with each other and the general public. The map is keyword searchable so if you’d like to know which other sites grow pumpkins or use oxen (or whatever interests you), the information is at your fingertips.

    Inclusion in the map is available to ALHFAM members only, but feel free to share the link freely with anyone who may be interested. If you would like to have your institution featured in the map, please email

    –Deb Arenz

  • 06 Oct 2016 5:13 PM | ALHFAM Webmaster (Administrator)

    MAKE: Vol 53

    As one of those rapidly aging Baby Boomers, inventing and building things were staples of my childhood. Sure, we had TV (but only one), but Mom would throw us out of the house after a couple of hours of Saturday morning cartoons with instructions to “Go do something.” We had grand adventures exploring the creek, hiking through the pastures, building forts or taking things apart to see how they worked. Admittedly that last one sometimes got us into trouble.

    You learned how to build things, and you learned how to repair things by helping the adults around you. At least this was true for those of us who lived in the country.  If something broke you figured out how to fix it or you found a neighbor to help you. Now part of that was because, like most farm families, funds were limited, but more than that, people like my dad truly enjoyed building and fixing things. Somewhere along the way we traded the satisfaction of making something ourselves for cheap, mass-produced, thrown-away items.

    But that might just be changing. The Maker Movement has been around for a few years and is gaining in popularity. This is a community of DIYS (do-it-yourselfers). This seems to be a group just waiting to be tapped by our living history sites. Many who would like to learn how to make things no longer know where to go to find the knowledge.  Our sites can be their resource.  I just took a quick look at MAKE, the movement’s magazine, and in a quick glance found the following articles:  “8 Tips and Techniques for Making Homemade Cheese,” “Building a Child-Sized Kayak from a Single Sheet of Plywood,” “Crochet a Wonder Woman-Inspired Coaster Set,” and my personal favorite, “Building a Pumpkin Throwing Trebuchet.” Sounds like a great post-Halloween activity with the grandkids! Their website has how-to videos on blacksmithing and knife making.

    What a possible treasure trove of new volunteers waiting to be tapped! The Maker Movement organizes Maker Faires around the globe. These are usually two-day events for the community to come together to share exhibits, knowledge, and skills.  Have any of your sites participated in a Maker Faire or maybe even hosted one?  I would love to hear about your experience.

    –Kathy Dickson

    ALHFAM board member Kathy Dickson is the director of Museums and Historic Sites for the Oklahoma Historical Society. She stumbled into the museum field over 30 years ago and never left.

ALHFAM • P.O. Box 16, Rochdale, MA 01542 -

Sitemap   |   Terms 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software