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What is the Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (STEPS)?

STEPS is AASLH’s self-study, self-paced assessment program designed specifically for small- to mid-sized history organizations, including volunteer-run institutions. Through a workbook, online resources, and an online community, the 1,000+ organizations enrolled in StEPS review their policies and practices and benchmark themselves against national museum standards.

As your history organization makes progress in the program, you will earn certificates from AASLH that communicate those achievements to your community and stakeholders.

AASLH Institutional and Academic Program members can join STEPS for only $195, which includes the newly-updated workbook and access to an online community for support. 

Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions and to learn more about the program.

  • STEPS Enrollment

    Enrollment in STEPS is open to AASLH Institutional and Academic Program members only. Nonmember organizations are required to first purchase an AASLH Institutional or Academic Program membership. New STEPS enrollees receive one copy of the spiral bound workbook, access to the STEPS Community and other benefits. COST: $195 AASLH Institutional/Academic Program Members

    • Register
      • Academic Program - $195
      • Partner Institution - $195
      • Premier Partner Institution - $195
      • Platinum Partner Institution - $195
      • Complimentary Institution - $195
      • Institutional Budget - $195
      • Institutional Basic - $195
      • Institutional Contributing - $195
      • Institutional Supporting - $195
      • Institutional Sustaining - $195
      • Institutional Partner - $195
    • More Information
  • STEPS Workbook

    The STEPS workbook is a spiral bound publication that offers self-assessment questions, performance indicators (Basic, Good, and Better), project lists, and more related to national museum standards. Purchase of the workbook alone does not enroll you in STEPS. COST: $65 AASLH Members/$90 Nonmembers ($32 AASLH Members/$45 Nonmembers for current STEPS participants; Email info@aaslh.org for promo code)

    • Register
      • Nonmember - $90
      • Academic Program - $65
      • Academic Faculty - $65
      • Academic Program Student - $65
      • Partner Institution - $65
      • Partner Institution Staff - $65
      • Premier Partner Institution - $65
      • Premier Institution Staff - $65
      • Platinum Partner Institution - $65
      • Platinum Institution Staff - $65
      • Complimentary Individual - $65
      • Complimentary Institution - $65
      • Individual Basic - $65
      • Individual Supporting - $65
      • Individual Sustaining - $65
      • Individual Patron - $65
      • New Professional - $65
      • Student - $65
      • Retired - $65
      • Subscription - $65
      • Institutional Budget - $65
      • Institutional Staff - $65
      • Institutional Basic - $65
      • Institutional Contributing - $65
      • Institutional Supporting - $65
      • Institutional Sustaining - $65
      • Institutional Partner - $65
      • Academic Program Alumni - $65
    • More Information

History of STEPS

In 2009, after four years of grassroots research and testing and the efforts of over 130 volunteers, AASLH created StEPs with IMLS funding to fill a specific need within the field of state and local history. StEPs was designed to be an important part of helping history organizations, not matter how small, move along the Continuum of Excellence.

In 2017, we launched a project to review and update the program. The StEPs Enhancement Project began by taking a look at the current workbook content. AASLH staff worked with current program participants, members of the Field Services Alliance, and others to update the workbook and expand topics that deserved more attention.

In 2020, after several years of work by AASLH staff and STEPS Enhancement volunteers, an updated version of the STEPS workbook is now available!