Indiana's Bicentennial: What Will You Do?
Not every place in Indiana has an easily defined connection to Indiana's Bicentennial. Yes, we are all defined by the state boundaries, but many towns and counties didn't exist 200 hundred years ago. So where to begin?
In Hamilton County, the Convention and Visitors Bureau decided to bring its local history organizations together to take stock of the historical resources in the county and consider a variety of ways they might work together. In a Community Conversation program supported by Indiana Humanities, local groups considered four facets of history they might explore together: African-American stories, Native American history, early settlements and community change.
In addition to reconsidering overlooked history, they are also doing what many of us do personally at the new year. They are taking stock of their health – organizational health – and embarking on a plan to improve. Supported by the Hamilton CVB, these groups have to opportunity to enroll in the American Association for State and Local History Standards and Excellence Program (StEPs). Through this self-study program, they can identify areas for improvement and training, as well as areas of strength and professionalism. (The StEPs program recognizes these strengths through Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.) In addition to the consultations, the Hamilton County CVB also will work with these same organizations to help identify, define and support connecting bicentennial focused public programming.
Local History Services will offer workshops and consultation assistance to these groups in working through the StEPs program, but we are most excited to see how they will help each other.
The Indiana Bicentennial can be about looking forward and planning for the future just as much as it can be reflecting about the past.
So what will your local history organization do for the Bicentennial?
|Stacy Klingler is assistant director of Local History Services at IHS. Along with the other LHS team members, she travels the state assisting local history organizations. She loves her job because it’s never the same thing twice, unless she has to make a U-turn at Main Street.|