Live Webinar: AASLH Conversations: Planning for Reopening

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AASLH Conversations

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented crisis in our local communities, country, and world. Many are seeking answers and guidance during this time, and AASLH has been listening to the concerns from the history community. In response, we are offering more online content including the new AASLH Conversations webinar series. While no one has all the answers, we hope these topic-focused conversations will provide a space to share ideas to help us all keep moving forward.

We know many organizations are facing financial strain due to the pandemic, so we developed AASLH Conversations with that in mind. We have drastically reduced the registration fee and are also providing a special promo code to waive the registration fee completely. 

This conversation has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Webinar Description

Amid unprecedented closures, history organizations across the country are contemplating questions around the eventual reopening of their sites to the public. Join Lauren O’Brien as she moderates a conversation with Martha Akins and Trina Nelson Thomas where they will share lessons learned during the reopening of their own sites after major natural disasters. During this conversation, we hope to uncover solutions organizations can bring to the tiered, cautious reopening that lies on the other side of the current crisis. 


DATE: May 5, 2020

TIME: 3:00 - 4:00 pm EASTERN (Remember to adjust for your time zone)

COST: $5 AASLH Members / $10 Nonmembers/ Free for anyone by using promo code below

PROMO CODE: If you or your organization is facing financial strain due to COVID-19, please use promo code FREEWBR20 to waive the registration fee for this webinar. 

ACCESS: You will be provided with instructions on how to access the live event upon registration.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this webinar, attendees will:

  • Consider what visitors will need and want from history organizations after reopening 
  • Discuss effective communication strategies with board members, staff, volunteers, and stakeholders 
  • Understand the importance of planning for a tiered reopening and the possibility of re-closure 

Recording and Closed Captioning

We will record this event. Access the Recorded Webinar in the AASLH Resource Center after the event has passed. Registrants of this event receive complimentary access to the recording in their Dashboard.

Closed captioning is provided for the live event. A transcription of the closed captions is provided with the recording.

Martha Dixon Akins

Deputy Director, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Martha Dixon Akins is the Deputy Director for Facilities at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida. She oversees Capital Improvement projects, maintenance and repairs at this National Historic Landmark that features a 45,000 SF house on a 50 acre site along with formal gardens and 15 ancillary buildings and structures. As Chief Hurricane Officer, she oversees and implements the facility’s Hurricane Plan, which has been tested during her tenure by Hurricanes Matthew (2016), Irma (2017), and Dorian (2019). Prior to her work at Vizcaya, Martha worked as the State Historic Sites Director for the Tennessee Historical Commission, where she had one National Landmark closed and under restoration for 4 years following a devastating EF-4 tornado.

​Trina Nelson Thomas

Director, Stark Art & History Venues for the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation

Trina Nelson Thomas is the Director, Stark Art & History Venues for the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation in Orange, Texas.  She oversees the staff and operations of the Stark Museum of Art, The W.H. Stark House, and the Eunice R. Benckenstein Library & Archive.  The Stark Foundation also operates Shangri La Botanical Garden and Nature Center and the Frances Ann Lutcher Theater. As a member of the Stark Foundation's management team, Trina assists with institution-wide Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery Planning and interpretive and strategic planning. The Foundation Venues closed for significant flooding on property and at staff members homes following Tropical Storm Harvey (2017.) Most recently The W.H. Stark House was closed following discovery of a third-floor air handler leak that ran through all floors of The W.H. Stark House that was still set for the Holiday tours. Much of year was spent on remediation and restoration of the structure and objects in advance of re-opening for the 2019 Holiday Tours. Prior to joining the Foundation, Trina worked at the Indiana Historical Society and Outagamie County Historical Society in Appleton, Wisconsin.

​Lauren C. O’Brien

PhD Candidate, Rutgers University-Newark

Lauren C. O’Brien is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Her research primarily explores the relationship between Black memory, public history, and trauma. Utilizing her historical practice as a vehicle to facilitate critical dialogues on race, gender, and social equity, Lauren has worked at several museums and cultural institutions including the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.


Live Webinar: AASLH Conversations: Planning for Reopening
05/05/2020 at 3:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 05/05/2020
05/05/2020 at 3:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 05/05/2020
AASLH Conversations-Planning for Reopening - Handout - Closed Captioning Transcript
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.
AASLH Conversations-Planning for Reopening - Handout - Contact Info
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.

Cancellation/Refunds for onsite workshops must be submitted in writing via email or mail. Cancellations made prior to the early-bird registration deadline date will receive a full refund. Cancellations made between the early-bird deadline date and eight days prior to the workshop will be subject to a $55 processing/materials charge. No refunds will be given within seven days of the workshop date. AASLH is not responsible for cancellations that were mailed or emailed but never received.

Cancellations/Refunds for online continuing education (webinars and online courses) must be submitted in writing via email or mail. Cancellations made prior to the start date for the online course or the day of the webinar will be given a full refund. No refund will be given after the start date for the online course or on/after the day of the webinar. Registrants may transfer their registration to another person. Registrations cannot be transferred between courses or course sessions. AASLH is not responsible for cancellations that were mailed or emailed but never received.

If you have any questions, please contact AASLH Programs staff at 615-320-3203 or