2021 LLHSM Annual Conference

Lively & Local, 67th Annual LLHSM Conference

67th Annual Meeting of the League of Local Historical Societies & Museums
October 30, 2021
Montpelier, VT

Vermont’s story is shared, celebrated, and preserved by the over 190 local historical societies and museums found in all corners of the state. Working to foster a sense of community that bridges generations, they provide a sense of place and help define Vermont’s unique identity. At the League of Local Historical Societies & Museums (LLHSM) 67th annual meeting, we’ll come together to learn and share about the different ways we can accomplish these important objectives, especially in times of uncertainty and change.   

The Vermont History Museum in Montpelier is our home base for the conference, with an opportunity to view the exhibit “Lively & Local: Historical Societies in Vermont", exploring the work of local historical societies & museums through images and stories curated by a select group of participants from around the state.

Support for the conference provided by the Walter Cerf Community Fund.

Registration Fees: $10 VHS Members/$25 Non-Members.
Registration fees include all sessions, keynote, & snacks.

Register using a credit card via the link below. Contact Community Outreach Manager, Eileen Corcoran at eileen.corcoran@vermonthistory.org for invoicing options or other registration questions.

Register Here

Gretchen Sullivan SorinGretchen Sullivan Sorin is Director and Distinguished Service Professor at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a training program for museum curators, educators, and directors.  Dr. Sorin has more than thirty years of experience in the museum profession working for more than 250 museums as a museum exhibition curator and education, programming, and interpretive planning and strategic planning consultant. She writes and lectures frequently on museum practice, diversity and inclusion, and African American history.  She is the author of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights.

Building a Safe Experience   
We are monitoring transmission rates and mandates associated with COVID-19, and will follow recommended or mandatory guidelines in place at the time of the conference for state buildings. We will communicate with registrants in advance about those requirements. We encourage everyone who is able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Download a copy of the schedule here. 

8:45 to 9:30 am: Registration & Coffee
Vermont History Museum, 109 State St, Montpelier, VT

9:45 to 11:00 am: Welcome, LLHSM Awards, & Keynote
We’ll kick off the conference with our annual LLHSM Achievement Awards, which recognizing the exceptional work being done by individuals and community history organizations throughout the state to collect, preserve, and share Vermont’s rich history.

Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, will give our keynote address. Dr. Sorin has over thirty years of experience working for museums and historical societies of all shapes and sizes. She’ll talk about the value and role of local history and provide inspiration for moving forward with purpose.

11:15 am to 12:15 pm: Concurrent Sessions 1

How Objects Communicate: Reading the History in Your Collections
Michele Pagan, Textile Conservator

Objects can tell many stories beyond just who owned or used them. In this session, we’ll explore other ways objects can speak to us about their history- from their construction, to the materials they are made of, to their color. We’ll explore uses for this type of object examination, such as integrating it into education programs, debunking “myths”, and conducting original research. If you’ve ever wanted to look at your objects in a new way, this session is for you.

Keynote Discussion
Facilitator: Steve Perkins, Executive Director, VHS

Using Dr. Sorin’s keynote as inspiration, we’ll gather to discuss where we are as community organizations and where we can go in the future. Bring your frustrations, your successes, and your next big idea to share. 

[Session Canceled] Whose History is Preserved? 
Cyndy Bittinger, Author and Historian
Lindsay Houpt-Varner, Executive Director, Rokeby Museum

Museums and cultural institutions preserve and promote history. In recent years practitioners in the field have begun to ask whose history is preserved and what impact that has on historical interpretation. Have you included stories about minorities and Indigenous peoples in your exhibits and publications?  Have you invited speakers to talk on diverse topics? In this guided discussion, Lindsay will explore the preservation of an African American church and how this project brought to light regional inequities in the objects and stories preserved in prior decades. Cyndy will share her research into Black Vermonters and women’s activism, and how she worked with volunteers to obtain archival materials to write a book. Please note, this session has been canceled. We will be working with the presenters to schedule a virtual version of this talk in Winter 2022. 

12:15 to 1:15 pm: Lunch
Bring your own or get lunch at one of Montpelier’s many excellent eating establishments. Join us with your food in the Snelling Room at the Vermont History Museum for informal conversation and Vermont trivia.

1:30 to 2:30 pm: Concurrent Sessions 2

Family by Family: Building Community Connections
Beth Kanell, Waterford Historical Society

How have you analyzed the success of your historical society's projects and presentations? In the Northeast Kingdom, a decade of efforts in Waterford have shown us that even more than great speakers and exciting objects, we do best when we help families develop a bond to our small historical society. In this session, learn how to (1) look hard at your past results, (2) plan to deepen the ties in your community, (3) develop family-based efforts and archives, and (4) celebrate the work in ways that move it forward. Applications to in-person events, archives, blogs, and Facebook will be reviewed in detail.

Collections Care,  MacGyver-Style
Collections Care & Conservation Alliance (CCCA)

Join professional members of the Collections Care & Conservation Alliance for a show-and-tell session on using inexpensive, everyday household items like photocopy paper, wine corks, scrap 2x4s, quilt batting, and foam pipe insulation for collections storage and display. Learn where you can safely deploy these sneaky alternatives to the official products sold by museum and archival suppliers and make your limited budget stretch further.

You Don’t Have to Be a Cataloger
Elizabeth H. Dow, Hardwick Historical Society

A visitor tells you her great-grandparents used to live in your town, and wonders if you have any information about them. How would you find out? To manage your collections and to serve your visitors well, you must know what you have and where you have it.  Elizabeth H Dow knows how to create complicated cataloging systems, but she also knows you don’t have to do that to make your collections easy to use. She will walk you through the basics of creating sustainable systems for finding those needles you know hide somewhere in your haystack.

2:30 to 3:00pm: Reception & Wrap-up
Join us in the Snelling Room at the Vermont History Museum for afternoon snacks and a chance for one last compelling conversation.





Find us on Instagram