August 30, 2015

Promoting your organization's history events with a statewide newsletter

We send a weekly list of history events in a state or region once there is a critical number of organizations participating from that area on The History List.  An example from Massachusetts, where we launched the first of these, is at the bottom.  (Subscribe here.)

A few state historical societies publish a weekly or monthly list of events at societies in their state.  Using The History List, it is now possible for organizations of all types in all states and regions to participate in a weekly e-mail without a state organization spending money or staff time.  Here's how it works:

  • Organizations enter their information on The History List once and it's included in the weekly mailing automatically.
  • The weekly e-mail includes all events, ongoing exhibits, and recurring walks taking place during the 10 days covered in each weekly mailing.
  • Each entry links to a dedicated page with complete details on The History List.

Most local history organizations can enter an entire year's worth of events in 30 minutes.  Just follow these steps.  

With this new capability from The History List, state organizations don't have to dedicate time or money to have a weekly e-mail with all of the history events in their state.  If you'd like to discuss one of these for your state, or if there are 20 or more local institutions in a geographic region who are interested and are participating on The History List, contact us.

If your organization is interested in learning more and requesting an account, start here.


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August 11, 2015

Income Ideas: Making a book out of your organization's articles and posts

The Newport Historical Society's book, "Newport History Bytes: 50 Fast Facts"

In 2011, Elizabeth Sulock, the Manager of Public Outreach & Living History at the Newport Historical Society, started their blog.  A little less than four years later, she turned 50 of their most popular blog posts into a book that they sell in their gift shop and online for $14.95 called, "Newport History Bytes: 50 Fast Facts."


Resources: Pure Imaging, which publishes Antiques & Fine Art Magazine, published the book.

Send us your "Income Idea" and you may see it, and your name and institution, here.






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April 27, 2014

Attract more visitors to your historic site, historical society, history museum, or other history organization with The History List

This two-page PDF explains the basic features of The History List, the several different ways that individual organizations as well as a regional or national group of organizations can use The History List, and the easiest ways to log in or get a new account.Attract more visitors to your historic site, historical society, or history organization with The History List

  • The History List is the largest list of history-related events in New England and across the country. There is no cost to list your organization and events.
  • Anyone who is signed in—staff, volunteers, interns—can enter or edit.  Perfect for all-volunteer organizations.
  • Adding information about your organization and events is copy-and-paste simple.
  • There is virtually unlimited space for text, pictures—even video.
  • For events that repeat, every repeating pattern imaginable is included.
  • In addition to listing your events, there are several ways you can use The History List to help your organization
    • Publicize your summer camp or program for children.  The History List publishes the only list of these programs.  And unlike other sites, there is no cost to list your summer camp or program.
    • Use your organization’s page on The History List as a one-page website.  Easy to set up, add and update your information as often as you’d like.  And all of your events appear automatically at the bottom of your page.
    • Manage your list of events on your website. Use the tools built into The History List to publish a list of your events on your website.  Set it up once and then every time you add or edit your events on The History List, these changes will appear immediately and automatically on your own site, too.   The Kentucky Historical Society is one organization that uses The History List in this way.
    • Publish an automatically-updating calendar with events from several organizations. Use the tools built into The History List to create the combined calendar.  Once it’s set up, every time an organization adds or edits their information on The History List, it will appear immediately and automatically in the combined calendar.  Perfect for special events that happen throughout a community or region.  The Montana Historical Society uses this capability to publish a calendar of events taking place in institutions across the state as part of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in there.
  • To add your organization and events, sign in with Facebook or request a free account by sending your name and institution to
  • Send your questions and suggestions to

Download the two-page PDF with information on how to attract more visitors to your historic site, historical society, history museum, or other history organization.

If your organization is having a conference or larger gathering and needs materials on attracting visitors to historic sites and history organizations, or is interested in having someone present on this topic, let us know.

This handout was prepared for a meeting next week of the Western Massachusetts Historical Commission Coalition.  More information on the recently formed Western Massachusetts Historical Commission Coalition is available from Elizabeth Rairigh, a Historic Preservation Planner at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Springfield, Massachusetts.


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March 11, 2014

Employment options for history lovers

One of the most popular sessions at the first History Camp.  


Lee Wright (@TheHistoryList)
Founder - The History List and History Camp

Mark Gardner (@HistoryGardner)
History teacher - Chariho Regional High School

Erik Bauer (@hipster818)
Archivist - The Peabody Institute Library

Alli Rico (@alli_rico)
Retail - Harvard Museum of Natural History

Matt Wilding (@MatthewWilding)
Content Director - The Freedom Trail Foundation

Thomas Ketchell (@HstryOrg)
Co-founder -

J. Lincoln Hallowell (@JLHallowell)
Ranger - Gateway National Recreation Area

More resources for job seekers:





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January 13, 2014

Case study: A statewide traveling exhibit program

The fifth in an occasional series of case studies on the way in which history organizations are attracting and engaging visitors and members.

Title: Traveling exhibits from the Indiana Historical Society

Auto Indiana: A traveling exihibit from the Indiana State Historical Society

Description: For more than 15 years, the Indiana Historical Society (IHS), a non-profit organization, has offered traveling exhibits to local organizations, including local historical societies, libraries, schools, colleges, and businesses, through its Local History Services office. 

The Indiana Historical Society's site and their page on The History List.

ObjectivesSupport local history statewide by offering temporary exhibits that can be used by local organizations as a focused attraction and/or to enhance their programs, events and exhibits.  Raise public awareness of Indiana history and make connections to local history topics.

Implementation: More than 20 traveling exhibits are available, including Auto Indiana (pictured top); Endangered Heritage; Faces of the Civil War (pictured bottom); The Faces of Lincoln; Hoosiers and their Hooch: Perspectives on Prohibition; Indiana Cartoons and Cartoonists; Indiana Through the Mapmaker’s Eye; Steamboat a Comin’; The Golden Age of Indiana Literature; and, Who Do You Think You Are?: Indiana’s Ethnic Heritage, and many others.  

Borrowing organizations also receive an editable sample press release, which they are encouraged to submit to local media and as the basis for creating other promotional materials.

Each exhibit consists of panels with text and reproductions of images; no original documents or objects travel with the exhibits.  Organizations are encouraged to supplement the exhibits with materials from their own collections.  

We don’t require security at the local organizations borrowing the exhibits, but we do require that the exhibits are inside a building with walls and doors (no barns, tents, etc.).

Organizations can borrow up to three exhibits per year for four to five weeks each.  Local History Services staff delivers and set up the exhibits, and pick them up at the end of each show.  

A traveling exhibit from the Indiana State Historical Society

We continue to develop new exhibits each year, including some based on IHS’s "You Are There" experiences.  Most are developed in-house by IHS exhibition staff.

Funding: Each exhibit costs roughly $10,000 to $20,000 to research, develop design, and build. Most were funded by IHS. Some recent traveling exhibits have had sponsoring partners, who are acknowledged in the opening panels. 

The exhibits are free to historical societies and historical museums in Indiana.  There is a fee of $100 for all other Indiana organizations.  (The exhibits don’t travel outside the state.)

Results:  Each year between 100,000 and 200,000 people see the traveling exhibits.  (We ask for a visitor count and send an evaluation for each organization to fill out at the end of the lending period.)  Many organizations have reported increased attendance during the display period. In addition, the delivery and set up of exhibits by Local History Services staff gives us an opportunity to forge relationships with local history groups and opens the door for communication and consultation.

Lessons learned

Civil War traveling exhibit from the Indiana State Historical Society

  • Topics should be relevant to a wide audience and broad enough to be useful to many different organizations.
  • Have one person handle all of the booking and scheduling arrangements.
  • Exhibits should be easy to move and set up, and most of all, durable.
  • Exhibits should offer multiple options for configuration in the space; a grouping of individual one-sided panels offers the most flexibility.

Institution: Indiana Historical Society Local History Services Department

For more information: Contact Jeannette RooneyAssistant Director, Local History Services, or see the page dedicated to the traveling exhibits.

Case study date: January 9, 2014

To suggest or submit a case study, contact us.  Or use this outline to submit a case study.


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