2018-2023 Long Range Plan

Adopted June 27, 2023

Mission: NCPH inspires public engagement with the past and serves the needs of practitioners in putting history to work in the world by

  • building community among historians,
  • expanding professional skills and tools,
  • fostering critical reflection on historical practice, and
  • publicly advocating for history and historians.

Vision: NCPH will be the “go to” organization for public history that professionals turn to day to day, through the year, and throughout their careers.

Values: In pursuing this vision, NCPH will work with

  • openness to new ideas,
  • nimbleness to adapt to change,
  • sensitivity to difference,
  • responsibility to personal and professional ethics, and
  • attentiveness to the needs of the widest community of public historians.
Download the full current plan: 2023-2028 Long Range Plan
Down the full current plan with committee assignments: 2023-2028 Long Range Plan with committee assignments
Curious about the previous plan? Download a PDF version of the 2017-2022 Long Range Plan

Pillar I: Community

Developing, engaging, and connecting a public history community

A. Nurture a collaborative environment between all who are part of a broadly defined public history community (including those who do public history work but do not use the term public history).

1. Explore additional and/or more formal partnerships and affiliations with related organizations with an emphasis on relationships that connect NCPH to new audiences and constituencies (including HBCUs, HSIs, TCUs, community colleges, and BIPOC organizations).
2. Review past work to engage and include the local community in the annual meeting host city. Develop additional resources or strategies to support this work and update the membership on progress and strategies. Provide information on past strategies to future Local Arrangements Committees.
3. Include specific provisions in calls for annual meeting participation and the minicon application to encourage cross-field sessions, events, and networking.
4. Review and update website resources to better reflect interests of various practitioners (pages under “What is Public History” and “Publications &
Resources”). Evaluate the current website layout to ensure that more recent resources are easy to locate.

B. Create more balanced NCPH activities that better reflect the interests and needs of the organization’s many constituent communities, with a focus on balance in training for academic and non-academic public historians.

1. Hire a staff person dedicated to running programs beyond the annual meeting, especially virtual trainings, webinars, and social events.
2. Continue to offer virtual conference options through a platform that allows for networking and conversation in between sessions.
3. Establish yearly goals for number of, and topics for, future mini-cons and identify potential partner organizations and groups to help reach these goals.

C. Develop and/or improve spaces for NCPH members to convene outside of the annual meeting.

1. Continue investing in virtual infrastructure (like the new membership system) that allows members to chat, collaborate, share resources, and form sub-groups. Start with reviewing the existing social media plan and revising if necessary.
2. Expand subsidized/sponsored online programs and other events that don’t require membership status to lead or attend, such as roundtables, dialogues, workshops, and talks (working toward a suggested goal of 10 annually).
3. Host subsidized/sponsored working groups, writing groups, workshops, advocacy/affinity groups, and a mentoring network (across a broad spectrum of disciplines and career possibilities) that don’t require membership status.

D. Develop more robust mentorship opportunities for public historians at various stages of their careers.

1. Research other organizations’ mentoring and professional development resources and explore feasibility of implementing similar programs for NCPH.
2. Explore ways the NCPH award winners can serve as mentors and be a resource to other public historians.
3. Research existing examples and explore feasibility of a job shadowing pilot project.
4. Explore a mentorship program that could connect MA students (in particular) with later-career professionals.

Pillar II: Diversity

Embracing accessible and equitable practices to continue fostering a more diverse and inclusive organization

A. Increase diversity and inclusion of NCPH membership and the profession.

1. Create additional opportunities to highlight work (besides social media takeovers) like giving talks, published interviews, or “in the field” series.
2. Identify specific needs for additional diversity funding exclusive of annual meeting attendance—to sponsor public historians’ work, event/program attendance, living expenses, etc.—that are not merit-based (i.e., CLGBTH “Hardship Grants”) and raise funds to implement.
3. Rethink awarding of annual meeting diversity discretionary funds with an eye towards greater access and transparency.
4. Explore feasibility of developing a mutual assistance network for public historians to offer funds or labor to public historians in need.

B. Increase diversity of NCPH staff and committee members.

1. Recruit staff, volunteers, committee members, focus group participants, etc. with attention to race, ability, gender, and sexuality and promote opportunities to the broadest set of traditional and non-traditional spaces.
2. Consider ways to make committee service more equitable, such as through subsidized/sponsored memberships, phasing in monetary compensation for certain roles, and establishing clear and reasonable expectations regarding labor and time commitments.
3. Continue to identify new avenues for circulation of volunteer/committee/focus group opportunities to the broadest audience possible.

C. Increase the level of diversity and inclusion in NCPH activities and publications.

1. Ensure that communications do not promote limiting or elitist ideas of what public history is or who is a public historian, including by identifying paths to doing public history work both through and outside of academic training.
2. Review the current accessibility plan with an eye toward capacity for ASL service at more programs and events. Establish a set of accessibility guidelines for virtual presentations.
3. Expand hybrid online/in-person regional and online mini-conferences that center emerging scholars who are looking for places to present their work and get feedback within a safe, constructive, interdisciplinary space.

Pillar III: Advocacy

Advocating for history and public historians with particular attention to public history as labor

A. Establish clear processes and resources around advocating for labor unions for public
history institutions.

1. Engage in conversations with NCPH membership about priorities and challenges related to public history as labor.
2. Draft a general statement of support for labor/unions to form a basis for response when NCPH is asked to comment on labor issues. This should address salary/benefits, solidarity with other laborers, and accessibility in job descriptions, as well as other issues the Committee deems necessary.
3. Create a formal process for requesting assistance/statements from NCPH related to advocacy.

B. Provide resources for public historians seeking to organize their workplaces or advocate
for themselves in the workplace.

1. Create/identify and gather resources around salary and benefit transparency.
2. Build resources and programming to educate public historians on how to build solidarity with other laborers at history institutions (janitors, service workers, frontline staff, etc.) OR provide connections to these resources if hosted elsewhere.
3. Develop networking programs to connect job seekers with employers, with a focus on job creation, job seekers’ needs (Q&A, deciphering job ads, setting boundaries, advocacy, unionizing), and programs/advocacy that puts the onus on hiring institutions and not job seekers.
4. Research and develop a way to support government employees who are often unable to speak openly about issues in their workplaces.

C. Provide resources for employers to promote more equitable work for public historians and ensure that NCPH is supporting employers who engage in best practices.

1. Review and expand job ad guidance to encourage employers to only include skills and abilities, such as lifting and standing requirements, that are actually required for the position.
2. Research and create best practices documents/guides to help employers more accurately match salaries with experience, education, position duties, and cost of living.

D. Take a stronger role in lobbying on behalf of public history.

1. Partner with established advocacy and lobbying programs like Museum Advocacy Day, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, etc.
2. Develop/revise a position paper on the necessity of protecting accurate, inclusive views on history at public institutions.

Pillar IV: Practice

Providing opportunities for developing public history skills and fostering critical reflection on ethical public history practice

A. Engage and sustain public historians at different stages of their careers.

1. Develop documents that help public historians to meet this goal, including but not limited to updated pricing recommendations for consulting work, guidance for various kinds of letter-writing, salary negotiation, transferability of skills if different job applications, etc.
2. Create a white paper to guide people who are writing letters in support of tenure and promotion.
3. Develop new activities and annual meeting programs that ensure support for different career stages, from academic training through retirement.
4. Explore feasibility of a digital resume review service.

B. Support developing professional skills for public historians, with particular attention to ongoing changes in the field.

1. Continue and expand offerings of workshops and/or structured conversations at the annual meeting aimed at improving specific skills, such as digital history. With particular focus on negotiating for fair and equitable pay; creating equitable, diverse, and fair workplaces; and addressing how work-from-home is changing the labor of public historians.
2. In addition to webinars and mini-cons, encourage and develop working groups that can work on creating these resources and do not need to be standing committees.
3. Continue to ask members what skills-based workshops are needed, with particular attention to changes in the field since the adoption of this plan.
4. Create a working group to develop a syllabus and resources for those who need to develop or build more business skills (similar to the Teaching Public History Online Working Group from 2020) and house on the NCPH website.

C. Increase accessibility in the practice of public history.

1. Research and make deeper connections with both non-traditional scholars and public history adjacent fields to explore ways outside of the annual meeting for them to present and share their work.
2. Research and pursue local partnerships and sponsorships for small stipends for event organizers and presenters as well as publication contributors.

D. Expand the scope of The Public Historian and History@Work, and improve accessibility for future authors/contributors.

1. Publish new, innovative research that employs public history methodology and/or highlights exemplary public history practice.
2. Offer a space to critically reflect on practice in order to help establish best practices in public history projects and scholarship.
3. Continue to review and update guidelines for peer review as well as published reviews annually.
4. Offer regular workshops on writing reviews for graduate students and new professionals.
5. Improve transparency for how to contribute to NCPH publications

Pillar V: Stewardship

Planning intentionally for the longevity and stability of the organization, with particular attention to its staff, volunteers, and finances

A. Ethically increase internal capacity of NCPH to pursue its goals.

1. Develop multi-year staffing plan (derailed by COVID/IUPUI changes).
2. Explore feasibility of an independent NCPH executive office in case of separation from existing academic partnership agreement.
3. Identify options for new revenue stream models to support self-sufficiency, including bringing in external advisors/experts.
4. Develop multi-year financial forecasting document that includes plans for future capacity growth ensuring pay equity among staff.
5. Develop phased plans for providing compensation or other forms of support for NCPH volunteers.
6. Develop suite of disaster planning and crisis management policies and procedures.

B. Increase the fundraising capacity and financial transparency of NCPH.

1. Grow consistent annual contributions to Endowment and Annual Funds.
2. Develop fundraising plan focusing on DEIA work and community support.
3. Develop fundraising plan to increase organizational capacity.
4. Explore need for and feasibility of bringing in external fundraising support.
5. Develop communications plan to report to membership on organizational finances, with particular attention to funding for DEIA work.

C. Continue to develop and refine efforts to retain and recruit members and program attendees.

1. Develop membership retention plan with particular attention to opportunities for engagement outside of the annual meeting.
2. Explore avenues for retention of first time program attendees as participants in the life of the organization, with particular attention to those underrepresented in current membership.
3. Increase paths and opportunities for leadership within the organization.
4. Work to provide public historians with greater financial support and opportunities beyond conference scholarships.

D. Develop capacity in response to climate change and sustainability concerns.

1. Explore ways to make the annual meeting more sustainable, including decreasing its carbon footprint.
2. Develop guidelines for organizational programming that consider environmental sustainability regardless of programming format, and across the suite of in-person and virtual offerings.