Frequently Asked Questions: First-Time Attendee Guide

2024 Joint National Council on Public History (NCPH) and Utah Historical Society Annual Meeting

Before the Conference

Q: When should I arrive?

A: The conference kicks off with a full slate of workshops, an opening plenary, and an opening reception on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, so we suggest arriving late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Information for air, car, and rail travel can be found in the preliminary conference Program (pages 7-8).

Q: Where should I stay?

A: NCPH has reserved a discounted room block at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center (Hilton SLCC) at a rate of $205/night. The discounted room rate is available through March 19, 2024, or when the block fills, so the earlier you book, the better. The block is likely to fill before this date. A limited number of rooms at a lower rate for students and government employees are available.

When booking, please use the link found on the Hotel and Travel Information page on the NCPH website.

Valet parking at the hotel is $39/night. Find more information about parking and transportation at the hotel here.

Q: What does my conference registration include?

A: A full conference registration includes access to all working groups and concurrent sessions, the exhibit hall, plenaries, the poster session, and other non-ticketed events. Registrants also receive a conference Program and badge. Special opportunities such as tours, workshops, and meal events may require additional fees. Visit the NCPH Annual Meeting page for more information on registration rates. For other questions on registration, see our General Registration FAQ.

Q: What should I wear?

A: In general, the dress code for conference events is business casual. There is no need to bring a full suit. Be sure to dress in layers; conference centers often range from drafty to stuffy. Tours are likely to be more casual, and comfortable shoes are recommended. In April, a typical day in Salt Lake City ranges from 61° to 40°, with cold nights and mornings. Expect cloud cover, a 25% chance of rain, and winds. Snowfall is not impossible in Utah during our stay. Salt Lake’s average amount of snowfall for the month of April is just shy of three inches. 

Tip: Tours happen rain or shine, so bring a coat and umbrella.

Q: What should I bring?

A: We recommend bringing business cards and résumés for networking. If you plan to use electronics during the day, remember to bring chargers with you. Some attendees also bring a reusable water bottle and snacks with them to stay fresh during the day. In an effort to go green, NCPH does not provide attendees with tote bags, so plan to bring one along.

Tip: 123Print and VistaPrint are two quick, easy, and affordable options for business cards.

Q: Where can I acquire funding for the conference?

A: To save on registration costs, be sure to register during the early bird registration period, which lasts through February 29, 2024. 

The deadline for the 2024 conference has passed, but consult the NCPH awards page to learn about potential cash prizes and travel grants. Students should contact their advisor, department, student government, or other campus associations to find out if they provide travel grants for conference attendance. Professionals should consult their employers for available funding opportunities.

During the Conference

Q: Where do I check in on the first day?

A: Registration is open from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm on Wednesday, April 10 (check pages 2-3 in the Program for registration times all other days) in the Second Floor Lobby of the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. Give yourself enough time on your first day to register and pick up your conference Program and badge. Be prepared to wait in line at registration, especially Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Q: What types of activities are available?

A: There are four basic types of activities: Sessions, Working Groups, Workshops, and Tours. All topics and presenters are listed in the preliminary conference Program. Generally, conference sessions last for 90 minutes.

Check activity times closely. The final conference Program you’ll receive at check-in lists times and locations for all conference events. Times and locations occasionally shift after the Program is printed, so make sure to check the onsite Errata sheet for updates.

Tip: You can use the Schedule-at-a-Glance section of the Program (pages 2-3) to choose which sessions and events you would like to attend. 

  • Sessions are included with your conference registration, so you do not need to sign up in advance. Some sessions feature scholars presenting a paper or a case study; others are composed of practitioners in the field reflecting on a problem/solution they have encountered or engaging with each other and the audience in a structured conversation format. Tweeting during the session is encouraged, unless the presenter specifies otherwise; Twitter handles will be provided in the Presenter Index at the back of the final Program to facilitate this. If you choose to leave a session, please be courteous as you exit. Everyone is welcome to ask questions! If a speaker is an expert in a subject related to your field of study, consider taking the opportunity to meet them after the session.
  • Working Groups are designed to facilitate extended conversations on particular topics in a seminar-like style and run for two hours. They feature a group of ten to fifteen discussants, selected in October. Each participant prepares a case statement to share with the working group. These case statements are circulated and discussed among participants prior to the group’s meeting at the conference, and everyone is prepared to participate actively in the discussion. Working groups are open to other conference-goers (unless otherwise noted), but we ask that they respect the facilitators’ need to potentially limit audience participation.
  • Workshops feature outside presenters giving a “how-to” talk on a specific topic and are usually hands-on and participatory. Note that these sessions usually require additional fees, and it’s best to sign up before the conference. Workshops are generally longer than a typical conference session, often lasting a full morning or afternoon. See the list of workshops in the preliminary conference Program (page 18).
  • Tours are organized by the Local Arrangements Committee to take participants to points of interest in Salt Lake City and further afield. Most tours are between two and four hours long. These events require advance registration and additional fees. Spaces can fill up quickly, so it’s best to register before the conference. See the list of tours in the preliminary conference Program (pages 16-17).

Q: Do I have to attend each session?

A: No, you do not need to attend each session. There are sessions occurring concurrently in every timeslot, so you couldn’t attend each session even if you wanted to. You should consult your Program ahead of time to plan a schedule of the sessions that most appeal to you. It’s tempting to pack your schedule full, but you may get as much benefit from taking a break to interact and network with other public historians.

Q: Do I have to pay for each session?

A: Breakout sessions, such as panels and working groups, are included with conference registration. Other events like trips and workshops require an extra fee. Some events, including Speed Networking, are free but require you to sign up in advance of the conference.

Q: Can I bring my spouse, child, or a guest to an evening event or tour?

A: Yes. Guest registrations and tickets to select events can be purchased for non-public historians who would not otherwise attend the conference. Guests can be added in the online registration system for $40, but they will also need their own ticket for any ticketed event or tour.

Q: Why is my name not on the conference participant list?

A: During the registration process, every attendee is asked if they want to omit their personal information from the participant list. If you choose this option, you will still be registered for the conference but will not be listed. Be sure to check your email for your confirmation. If you cannot find it, please email [email protected] or call (317) 274-2716.

Q: Are there any events tailored to first-time attendees or graduate students?

A: There are several special events to help new conference attendees network with other professionals and graduate students. See some recommendations below. For more information, check the preliminary conference Program (pages 13-40).

Wednesday, April 10

  • Conference Connections Check-In is for first-timers or those new to NCPH who have signed up to be paired with a seasoned conference attendee on how to make the most of their annual meeting experience. Before arriving, reach out to your mentor for questions and then attend the meet-ups with them to check in on Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon. 
  • Attend the Opening Plenary in the evening. This year’s plenary, Considering the Revolution: Citizenship and Sovereignty , will be the fourth in a series of five roundtables about interpretation of the American Revolution in light of the 250th anniversary. Read more in the preliminary conference Program (page 13).

Thursday, April 11

    • The New Member Breakfast gives new members a chance to meet with members of the NCPH board, staff, and Membership Committee for a continental breakfast to mingle with NCPH’s leadership on the first morning of the conference.
    • Speed Networking connects graduate students with professionals in a relaxed setting to learn about the careers available to public historians. Sign up in advance with your conference registration, as spots go fast. Check out our video for more information.
  • Out to Lunch is designed to help public history professionals meet fellow colleagues in an informal setting. Prior to the event, attendees will be placed in groups of 4-5, which will then meet for lunch at a restaurant of their choosing. For more information, visit the Eat and Engage page.
  • At the Poster Session, attendees – many of them graduate students – present their work in an informal setting. The deadline to submit a poster for the 2024 conference has passed, but this is a great opportunity to see what your peers are working on and find inspiration for future projects.

Friday, April 12

  • Out to Lunch – Student Edition is designed to help public history graduate students meet fellow students in an informal setting. Prior to the event, attendees will be placed in groups of 4-5, which will then meet for lunch at a restaurant of their choosing. For more information, visit the Eat and Engage page. 
  • Conference Connections Check-In is for first-timers or those new to NCPH who have signed up to be paired with a seasoned conference attendee on how to make the most of their annual meeting experience. Before arriving, reach out to your mentor for questions and then attend the meet-ups with them to check in on Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon. 
  • Attend the Public Plenary in the evening. Conference attendees and members of the public are invited to join this free moderated conversation. The plenary, Building Bridges with Public History, will be discussing how complete and true histories can be conduits for dialogue and action, and the role of public historians in an increasingly divided world. Read more in the preliminary conference Program (page 14).

Saturday, April 13

    • The conference continues through Saturday. Keep that in mind when making your travel plans, and don’t leave early!
  • Public History + ?: A Creative Showcase shines a spotlight on the many talents and creative outlets the public history community has under our belt. Shop for handmade art and talented craftsmanship from our attendees as well as Utah-based artists! It’s also not too late to sign up for your own booth. Please email Publications and Marketing Contractor Sarah Singh at [email protected] by March 4, 2024 to get started. 
  • The Awards Breakfast and Presidential Address are open to all conference registrants, though a ticket is required for the breakfast meal. Join outgoing NCPH President Kristine Navarro-McElhaney for her farewell presidential address as she passes the gavel to Vice President Denise Meringolo.

Q: How can I network while at the conference?

A: One of the most important aspects of attending the conference is the opportunity to network with academics, professionals in the field, and other graduate students.

The conference is an opportunity to network for potential interviews in the future, not a job interview. Be tactful in handing out your business cards and résumé. After sessions, most presenters linger, providing an excellent opportunity to connect. Another useful approach is to introduce yourself to the person you would like to meet and get their card. Then, if you want to pursue a conversation, you may contact them a few days later.

If someone you follow on Twitter or LinkedIn is at the conference, consider introducing yourself. It’s an easy way to start a conversation. Live tweet during the sessions (unless the presenters say otherwise), and engage with other attendees’ tweets. Posting about your day on LinkedIn can be a great way to synthesize your conference experience and give a shout-out to other scholar’s research.  See our social media guide in the preliminary conference Program (page 7).

Q: How should I spend my evenings?

A: Most days, sessions and workshops end at 5:00 pm; there are some events each day that last later into the evening. Dine Arounds, which stretch later into the evening on Thursday, April 11, facilitate small group discussions on predetermined topics over dinner at local restaurants. You can sign up for a Dine Around at the registration desk on the first day of the conference. For more information, visit the Eat and Engage page.

You will have free time in the evenings, and we recommend that you take advantage of this time to explore Salt Lake Cityand get to know your fellow attendees. Find a list of the recommended restaurants and things to do in the preliminary conference Program (pages 9-10).

Post to #NCPHUHS2024! If you’re enjoying a particular session or event, let other people know about it. Attendees who don’t have a Twitter or LinkedIn account can still follow real-time conference discussions online. Social media is also a great way to find fellow attendees who share your interests.

After the Conference

Follow up with your new contacts. Send an email to those you’ve networked with. Follow them on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn.

Complete the post-conference survey. NCPH emails a post-conference survey to all registrants. This survey is important because it helps us improve future conferences. Please take a few minutes to share your experiences.

Q: How can I present next year?

A: The deadline for submitting a proposal for the 2025 NCPH annual conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada  is July 15, 2024. You can find session participants through networking or by submitting an early topic proposal by June 1, 2024. If you are interested in presenting next year, make the most of the conference by making contacts with potential presenters through the various social events and by contacting this year’s speakers. Please keep in mind that proposals which present a diversity of voices and experiences are more likely to be successful.

Presenting a poster at the Poster Session is a great way for new professionals to present research or projects at NCPH. The deadline for submitting a poster session for Montreal will be in early October. 

Q: Where can I learn more about attending conferences?

A: There are many links that provide additional information on attending conferences. Here are a few worth investigating:

Frequently Asked Questions: presenters

2024 Joint National Council on Public History (NCPH) and Utah Historical Society Annual Meeting

Q: What materials should I bring?

A: All rooms will be supplied with an LCD projector, screen, and a microphone. One representative from your session will need to provide a laptop. Please make sure that everyone’s presentations have been loaded onto your computer and tested before beginning your session to avoid technical difficulties. If you use a Mac, please be aware that you will need to bring the appropriate adapter to connect your computer to the projector. Basic Wi-Fi will be available in all session rooms. Access will be through the Hilton Salt Lake City Center and login information will be provided to you in the onsite errata sheet and in session rooms. You are welcome to bring handouts or other supplementary materials to share with attendees.

Note: Conference Wi-Fi can be weaker than you are accustomed to in your own home or work. If you intend to play video or audio, we strongly recommend you download the file in advance of your presentation and do not rely on streaming.

Q: Can I expect tech support?

A: We will have A/V techs circulating in the half-hour prior to every session block to ensure that presenters can get speedy assistance in case of any issues. Our A/V company is Encore, and they are the hotel’s in-house A/V, which means they will know the space and the equipment well.

Q: Where is my session located?

A: The room assignment for your session is listed in the revised digital and print versions of the Program, available at https://ncph.org/conference/2024-annual-meeting/program/. All sessions, working groups, and workshops will be held in the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. Sessions and locations will also be posted on the hotel’s digital signage onsite, with any last-minute changes shared on the errata sheet.

Q: Do you have any tips for preparing my presentation? What kinds of presentations are attendees looking for?

A: Sessions are most effective if you present as if you are teaching or interpreting at a historic site. Please do not read your presentation as if it was a paper. See it as an energetic start of a conversation, not a report on past work. Sessions last no longer than an hour and a half, while working groups last two hours. Please leave ample time for discussion, questions, and comments. NCPH sessions tend to be highly interactive, so your audience will expect opportunities to engage with you. Make sure that each presenter sticks to an agreed-upon time limit so that all presenters have a chance to participate and the audience has a chance to ask questions.

Q: How can I ensure my presentation is accessible?

A: We provide microphones in all session, working group, and workshop spaces. We ask that you please use the microphone even if you believe you can easily be heard by most participants, in order to accommodate those who may be hard of hearing. Facilitators should repeat audience questions using the microphone so all attendees can hear. To facilitate lip-reading, please speak facing the audience. To accommodate those with visual impairments, please make sure any text on your PowerPoint presentation is large and in a color that contrasts with the background. If you use images in your presentation, and particularly if these images are integral to the content of the session, please describe the images for those who may be unable to see them.

Q: What else can I do to share my work?

A: In times past, our attendees were avid live-tweeters. While the social media landscape has shifted considerably, some attendees may still live-tweet or otherwise share profound tidbits from your presentation on social media. To facilitate this, the conference hashtag is #NCPHUHS2024. If you wish to encourage live-tweeting of your session, we recommend that you include a slide at the beginning of your presentation that includes the social media handles of the presenters, as well as a hashtag for your session. For a session hashtag, we suggest using the session number provided in the Program, E.g., use #NCPHUHS2024 and #s1 for tweeting about session 1. If you are presenting material that you do not wish to be shared on social media for your own privacy or safety, please make this clear at the beginning of your presentation.

We also collect materials from sessions for a shared materials page on the NCPH website which we publish after the conference. If you would be willing to share your PowerPoint or notes on this resource page, you can email them to me at [email protected].

Q: Do you send out a list of participants?

A: A preliminary participant list will be emailed to all conference registrants in the pre-conference email, and a complete list of participants will be emailed the week after the conference. All registrants were given the the option to exclude themselves from this list when they registered. Workshop facilitators have been provided a list of their workshop’s registrants and should feel free to use this list to reach out with supplementary materials or relevant information in advance of the conference.For general information about the conference, you can consult the conference website at https://ncph.org/conference/2024-annual-meeting/. Questions can be directed to Program Manager Meghan Hillman: [email protected].


Do you have other questions about lodging, transportation, Salt Lake City, or the conference?

Please visit our conference homepage for answers to all of your questions. You may also contact us via [email protected] or (317) 274-2716.