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2024 ALHFAM Annual Meeting & Conference

  • 07 Jun 2024
  • 10 Jun 2024
  • Hopewell Township, NJ

Annual Meeting & Conference
of the As
sociation for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums

Curating Living History:
Preserving Skills and Intangible Culture

Rider University in Hopewell Township, New Jersey
June 7- 10


For those who use living history to preserve the work, play, stories, traditions, and lifeways of times past, the ability to transfer knowledge and skills from one generation of practitioners to another is of critical importance.

How do we ensure that the living, intangible cultural heritage held in our hands is as safely and comprehensively kept as the material culture that supports and reflects it? Can the historical skills of a farmer, miller, butcher or tailor be collected, registered, curated and preserved like the tools and equipment they use?

During ALHFAM's 2024 annual conference, stakeholders from museums of all kinds are invited to explore the ways that curatorial methods, succession planning, and the development of strategic skill training and transfer systems can help us preserve the intangible cultural heritage that is the heartbeat of living history.

Conference Format

The theme will be explored during a two-part conference that will use hands-on training workshops as the inspiration for keynotes, papers and roundtable discussions that will engage all participants in the work of strengthening the standards, best practices and professional skills needed to preserve living history’s invaluable intangible culture.

Part I: June 7 – 10 will be a 4-day in-person forum based at Rider University in Hopewell Township, New Jersey. It will include presentations on curatorial tools and methods, hands-on workshops, meetings of professional interest groups, and both formal and informal networking opportunities. Half-day and full-day workshops will serve as a means of skill sharing and transfer, as well as opportunities for participants to learn about and contribute to the documentation of workshop content conducted by members of the Conference Committee.

Part II: September 9 – 10 will be a virtually held symposium with both live and recorded presentations. It will begin with a presentation and evaluation of workshop documentation produced by the Conference Committee and volunteer contributors, followed by theme-related sessions and roundtables. The virtual session will conclude with the debut of the updated ALHFAM Skill & Knowledgebase (A.S.K.) presented by members of Princeton University’s I.T. Department, who are assisting ALHFAM with improvements to the database that will allow for the storage and searching of photographs, videos, an audio library and other digital assets.

Papers and Workshops

Whether you are a curator, interpreter, museum director, or practitioner of a skill presented at a historic site, your contribution is essential to the goal of the conference, which is to share tools, methods, ideas and experiences that can strengthen the preservation of intangible culture.

Workshops are sought on collections care, exhibit planning, interpretation, historic site administration and management, trades, crafts, farming, domestic arts, military reenactments, training and apprenticeship methodology, and other areas of import to ALHFAM members and the wider history community. In support of our goal to document each workshop to the fullest extent possible, presenters are expected to contribute a detailed narrative of their workshop’s content for publication in the Conference Proceedings.

Papers are sought on methods that are used to curate material culture, as well as those used to document skills, practices, processes and systems preserved at living history sites and open air museums, and at other museums with collections of intangible culture. Also sought are papers and case studies on apprenticeships, internships, workshop design and delivery, training methods, succession planning and other tools for acquiring, conserving and transferring skills.

Download the In-Person Workshop Proposal Form (fillable PDF)

Download the Virtual Papers Proposal Form (fillable PDF)

Download a sample PDF of a "Sheep Shearing Workshop"

To submit your proposal form digitally, please email it to: conference-proposals@alhfam.org

It can also be completed online, printed out and then mailed to:

2024 ALHFAM Conference Committee
Howell Living History Farm
101 Hunter Road
Titusville, NJ 08560

Submissions are due by midnight Pacific time December 31, 2023.

ALHFAM • P.O. Box 16, Rochdale, MA 01542 - info@alhfam.org

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