Virtual Workshop: Examining Your Organization's Origin Story with the Institutional Genealogy Framework (January 2023)

  • Registration Closed


Is your organization knowledgeable about its origin story (e.g., how it began, for what purpose and audiences, with whose money, on whose land, with whose collections, historic structures, and/ or landscapes) and committed to sharing that story internally and externally? Is your organization looking for guidance to get started, or take a new step, reexamining its origins?  

Aletheia Wittman designed the Institutional Genealogy Framework to support organizations assessing their origins, ancestors and older forms. This workshop will offer participants practical tools and facilitated group discussions to support museums and heritage organizations in applying the institutional genealogy framework as a generative, action-oriented, and inquiry-driven method for re-examining their past. Participants will leave with key questions and takeaway tools for positioning newfound awareness of the past as the basis for equity and inclusion actions that respond to institutional legacies.

Why should an organization examine their past? 

  • The past, present, and future are interconnected. The past shapes us today. Today we aspire to shape a better world for future generations. 
  • Where organizations have been can tell us a lot about where our most pressing challenges implementing equity and inclusion come from. 
  • When we identify aspects of the past that hold us back in our equity and inclusion goals today, we can respond with focused efforts that will make the biggest impact for our unique contexts, sites, and communities. 

Connecting the Topic

Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (STEPS)

This workshop is open to anyone but will especially help organizations enrolled in STEPS address Mission, Vision, and Governance Standard 3: The institution’s culture, policies, and procedures are inclusive and equitable. 

The workshop will specifically address Assessment Question C: Are governing authority members knowledgeable about the institution’s origin story (e.g., how it began, with whose money, on whose land, with whose collections, historic structures, and/or landscapes) and committed to sharing it internally and externally? 

The Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (STEPS) is a self-study, self-paced assessment tool designed specifically for small- to mid-sized history organizations, including volunteer-run institutions. Through a workbook, online resources, and an online community, organizations enrolled in STEPS review their policies and practices and benchmark themselves against national standards. 

Making History at 250

Participants of this workshop may also consider using the Making History at 250 Field Guide. In order to encourage 250th anniversary programming that presents histories that are inclusive of the full sweep of our nation’s history and relevant to modern-day concerns, AASLH has developed five historical themes to guide commemoration activities. However, the field guide may prove useful while examining an organization's past, as well. 


SESSION DATES: January 26-27, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern each day

COST: $175 AASLH Members / $200 Nonmembers /10% discount for STEPS participants with promo code found in the online STEPS Community

OPEN REGISTRATION: September 1, 2022 - January 22, 2023; 25 participant limit. Workshops typically fill up before the registration deadline, so register early. No more than two people from one organization are allowed to register. 


FORMAT: Virtual via Zoom

LENGTH: Two 3-hour days

MATERIALS: All workshop materials are provided.

TECHNOLOGY: We recommend downloading the Zoom mobile or desktop app for this course. Participants will need access to internet and a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet to participate in this workshop. We recommend having access to a camera and a headset, earphones, or other audio and microphone device. Automatic captioning is available in the Zoom platform.

CREDIT: Registrants that attend and participate in both days of the workshop will earn a Certificate of Completion from AASLH.

Participant Outcomes

After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:  

  • Build confidence in their ability to improve performance in their response to STEPS Mission, Vision, and Governance Standard 3, Assessment Question C or to answer the question in the affirmative as it pertains to equity and inclusion. 
  • Apply institutional genealogy as a generative, action-oriented, and inquiry-driven method for re-examining institutional origins 
  • Understand the potential opportunities newfound awareness of the past offers for institutional action rooted in equity and inclusion

How to Register

Click here for instructions on how to register yourself or another user for this event.

Aletheia Wittman

Museums & Cultural Heritage Consultant


Aletheia Wittman (she/her) is a consultant, coach, and facilitator based in Seattle who partners with people and teams navigating inclusive transformation within cultural institutions. She has worked in museums and heritage organizations for over 12 years. She co-founded The Incluseum in 2012 and currently acts as co-director. She is co-author of the recently released Transforming Inclusion in Museums: The Power of Collaborative Inquiry published by Rowman & Littlefield / AAM Press. You can learn more about her on her website: or follow her on twitter: @aletheiajane.

Components visible upon registration.

Webinars, Online Courses, and Virtual Workshops (Excludes HLI Programs)

Cancellations for online professional development must be submitted in writing via email to or mail to 2021 21st Ave S., Suite 320 Nashville, TN 37212. Cancellations made prior to the start date for the online program will be given a full refund. No refund will be given on/after the start date for the online program. 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 Professional Development staff at or 615-320-3203.