SHA: A Fertile Environment for Real Learning, Powerful Networking & Organizational Change

Yesterday’s “Why Should You Attend SHA?” Museum Minute blog post by Mark Sundlov is a tough act to follow. Did anyone else get a kick out of “the Dude’s rug” reference? Genius!

Jason Crabill (@CrabillJ), Manager of Curatorial Services at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, Ohio, continues the 11 posts in 11 days from the SHA Class of 2011 countdown.

On a side note: Jason sent me the following Direct Message on Twitter after reading Mark’s SHA post…

So much SHA love! Now, back to Jason’s post:

When I applied for Developing History Leaders at the Seminar for Historical Administration program (SHA), I didn’t quite know what to expect.  I was a collections-focused person recently elevated to manager status, and was mostly looking for ways to strengthen my own leadership and management skills.   I had heard good things from previous attendees, but to say I underestimated the value of the experience is putting it lightly!  I got my management training and so much more.

Of all the things that I experienced at SHA, I was most struck by the unique opportunities we were given to engage with some of the strongest minds in the field; the in-depth discussions and consideration of each topic were relevant to my current work and will help define the way I think about and engage in the profession for years to come. Just as powerfully for me, though, was the development of a very real network of established and emerging leaders within the public history profession that I have (and will continue to) turn to whenever I need an outside perspective or an expert of some kind. Many of those people have also become very dear personal friends, which only serves to strengthen our professional bonds. The value of SHA is that it doesn’t just provide these opportunities, but it provides a fertile environment for the opportunities to develop into catalysts for real learning and change; something that I have found to be a powerful but somewhat elusive quality in many professional development opportunities.

On a personal note, one of the most profound (and unexpected) outcomes for my personal development was a new-found sense of responsibility to the field, beyond my own organization. While I gained personal tools that help me in my direct responsibilities as a manager of staff, the Seminar also gave me a greater understanding of how my role within my institution fits into the larger context of historical organizations (of all scales) as well as the larger profession we serve.  I found ways to immediately integrate things learned at SHA at the Ohio Historical Society and have actively searched for ways to extend the conversation beyond our walls, whether real or virtual.  The Seminar definitely gave me the insight, confidence and network to do this, and for that I am very grateful.

The benefits of SHA are well worth the 3-week investment of time. The ability to immerse oneself completely in the profession (beyond the niche of one’s own little world) and the ability to spend time thinking and discussing leadership, both broadly and specifically, allows each participant to create a personalized “leadership toolkit” that benefits them personally, the institutions they serve and the broader history profession of which we are all a part.

Thanks, Jason!

There are 8 days left (including today) to apply for the Seminar for Historical Administration. Applications are due by EOD, Monday, May 21. For more information about the SHA, or to apply, click here.

Are you keeping track of “Why Should You Attend SHA?”

#11: Attending professional conferences is no substitute for the SHA experience! (Bob Hart)

 #10: SHA is the optimal learning environment. (Kyle McKoy)

#9: SHA: Unbeatable professional training & powerful personal relationships (Mark Sundlov)

#8: SHA: A Fertile Environment for Real Learning, Powerful Networking & Organizational Change (Jason Crabill)

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