Archive for the ‘News’ Category

AKCHO past, present and future – please join us in 2018!
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Categories: News

Nancy Salguero McKay, Highline Historical Society, and Kim Owens, Renton History Museum, view AKCHO’s display board at UW Museology Program’s Internship Fair. Photo credit Barbara McMichael

by Virginia Wright, AKCHO Treasurer

As the year 2017 winds down we look back at a year of excellent monthly AKCHO member meetings, which provided members with the opportunity to visit interesting locations throughout the county, along with professional education and networking activities relevant to our sector of the arts and culture community. We also gathered as a group at our Annual Meeting for Members and celebrated and recognized the accomplishments of some of the individuals and organizations within the history and heritage community at our annual Awards Program.

This year we made some changes to the administration and funding of our organization and we now have our first directly paid staff member, who oversees all of the administrative paperwork and communication for AKCHO. We would be unable to provide you with the excellent resources and communication without her expert help.

All of this valuable work relies on the financial support of our members. As we enter into 2018 we invite you to renew your annual membership, or join as a member for the first time. Memberships are now structured differently, with a tiered system that takes into account the size of members’ operational budgets. For your convenience, you can fill out the membership form using our online form, or if you prefer, you can download and mail in the form along with your membership dues.

Thank you for your participation in local history and heritage. We cannot do this work without your support!


NAAM names new exec director
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LaNesha DeBardelaben will soon be taking the helm at the Northwest African American Museum

LaNesha DeBardelaben has been named the new Executive Director of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle. Her 15+ year career in museums has been spent in Michigan, most recently as Senior Vice President of Education & Exhibitions at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. At the Wright Museum, which is the nation’s second largest African American museum, DeBardelaben was instrumental in managing successful educational, exhibition, and community initiatives and led the Wright Museum through two valuable Museum Assessment Programs (MAP) to enhance museum practice. LaNesha began her career in museums in 2001 at the National Museum of Kenya in Africa, and has studied museum and library management in England and Germany. 

As Executive Director at NAAM, DeBardelaben looks to enrich the funding, strategic planning, community engagement, programming, profile, and overall operations of NAAM in significant ways. “I am elated at the opportunity to join such a dynamic and important African American museum,” she said. “I look forward to working closely with the talented staff, passionate board, and dedicated community of Seattle to accelerate NAAM’s mission-driven growth and impact.” 
DeBardelaben is well-positioned to provide executive leadership to the museum. She is a national board member of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) where she serves as board secretary and Program Chair of AAAM’s 40th anniversary 2018 conference to be held in Hampton, Virginia. She also serves on the national board of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) where she chairs ASALH’s national Marketing & PR Committee. She recently served on the Michigan Museums Association board as well. Ms. DeBardelaben brings vast insights and expertise in museum education and programming, project management, and public relations.
While in Detroit, Ms. DeBardelaben received numerous awards for her extraordinary community and professional service, including the 2014 Crain’s Detroit’s 40 Under 40, 2015 Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence, and 2017 Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40. She is a graduate of both the Jekyll Island Management Institute for museum managers and Leadership Detroit for civic leaders. 
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are thrilled to have such a prominent, enthusiastic and experienced leader join the NAAM family,” says NAAM Board President Debbie Bird. “For nearly ten years, NAAM has provided new narratives of the black experience through exhibits that celebrate local and national African American artists. We look forward to the prominent role she will play in shaping our future.”
Ms. DeBardelaben earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Kalamazoo College, a Master of Arts in history and museum studies from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, a Master of Library Science in archives management from Indiana University-Bloomington, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in U.S. and African American history at Michigan State University.


Inclusive futures for museums
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Nicole Ivy talks with an audience member after her presentation at Washington Hall

In Washington Hall, a place that has soaked up the creative vibes of everyone from Duke Ellington to Elvis Costello, Marian Anderson to Mark Morris, and Danish theatrical productions in the early 1900s to Nu Black Arts West Theatre in this century, the spirit of inclusion was operating in full force on the night of December 6 when Dr. Nicole Ivy came to town, courtesy of 4Culture and the University of Washington’s Department of Museology.

As the first Director of Inclusion for the American Alliance of Museums, Ivy had come to discuss her work in studying museum trends, with a particular focus on diversity and the future of labor in the field. Prior to her current appointment, Ivy served as a museum futurist for AAM under a fellowship of the Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). 

In her Seattle appearance, Ivy started invited the audience to consider demographic trends in the United States. One hundred years ago, more than 90 percent of the United States’ population was Caucasian, but over time that number has slipped to 66 percent, and is continuing to trend downward. Meanwhile, the percentage of museum-goers in the United States today is still predominantly white – over 90 percent.

And when it comes to people currently working in museums, while approximately half of the security and facilities maintenance jobs are held by non-whites, leadership positions continue to be dominated by Caucasians at around 90 percent. With the population becoming increasingly diverse, unless museums transform with the times, they are in danger of losing their relatability and relevance.

Ivy dug into Seattle’s demographic trends in particular — the two most rapidly growing populations in Seattle are the people under five years of age or over 60. Creative aging is becoming increasingly important, Ivy noted, and she challenged museums to figure out ways to address that. She also proposed that intergenerational activities involving these two fastest-growing sectors could be successful.

Seattle is also recognized for its significant population of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000). With that sector’s propensity for ethical consumerism, Ivy challenged museums to think about what that could mean in the years ahead as that generation inherits the wealth of their Baby Boomer parents. 

“Inclusion is a process,” Ivy said, “not a destination.” She encouraged her listeners to exercise strategic foresight by considering the acronym STEEP – Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological and Political trends that the museum world may be able to interact with in a multitude of ways

“Museums are a force for social change,” she concluded, and left the audience with some questions to consider: 

  • What is the work force we want to see?
  • How do our processes help us get there?
  • What do our hiring practices look like?

Preceding Ivy’s talk, 4Culture’s Brian Carter and Chieko Phillips gave a reprise presentation of their King County Heritage Report, completed earlier this year. 


Presentation proposals being accepted by Heritage Caucus
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The 2017 legislative session begins on January 9, 2017, with the first meeting of the Washington State’s Heritage Caucus on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.  Proposals are now being accepted for presentations during the regular meetings of the Heritage Caucus, on Wednesdays at 7 AM, Cherberg Building, Room A-B-C, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. 

As a reminder, presentations need to be 10 minutes or less, and must fit into one of the following prioritized categories:

  • Immediate policy issues; pending legislation; current initiatives 
  • Relevant or upcoming policy issues; proposed future legislation or initiatives 
  • Overviews of state funded and heritage organization activities (current exhibits, programs, etc.) 

Please keep in mind that the budget will continue to be the focus of the Legislature this session, and a portion of Caucus time will be devoted to discussions related to the budget and implementation policies. Caucus chairs are Senator Jim Honeyford and Representative Steve Tharinger. 

Provide the following information in your proposal, and send via email: 

  • presentation title
  • names, titles, and organizational affiliation of presenters
  • a detailed outline of your presentation, including its priority category from the list above
  • technological needs (DVD, computer, internet access, projector, and screen are available)
  • a list of all state legislators in your district, (

Presenters will be notified as soon as possible about scheduling. 

If you would like to have a bill(s) tracked please email Glenda Carino:

Glenda Carino, Communications Manager
Washington State Arts Commission

For those of you new to Caucus, we meet in the John A. Cherberg building in Conference rooms A-B-C, (see map 304 15th Avenue Southwest, Olympia, WA 98501. Metered parking begins at 8am in the area surrounding the building. You can also find information about campus parking here,

Contact Mark Vessey at the Washington State Historical Society if you wish to be added to the e-mail list for Heritage Caucus.


Capturing oral histories
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AKCHO members listen to Liz Stewart talk about oral histories at the Renton History Museum

How to identify oral history subjects, conduct the interviews, and then preserve and use the results was the topic of AKCHO’s November membership meeting, held at the Renton History Museum.

Museum director Dr. Elizabeth Stewart shared her institution’s early focus on collecting the stories of Renton pioneers – those tended to focus on Renton’s earliest industries: Pacific Car & Foundry, coal mining, and airplane manufacturing. Stewart said the Museum also has recordings of traditional Duwamish songs sung by Joe Moses, the father of Henry Moses, who was an early sports star of Renton High School. The Museum, which has taped 145 oral history interviews since 1975, now seeks to capture the diverse voices of more recent arrivals to Renton.

Stewart noted that special skills are required to conduct oral histories, and since the Museum has only a small staff, she depends on volunteers to do this work – with the number of people available to help ebbing and flowing over time. The Museum sometimes finds opportunities to gather oral histories while assisting others, such as the Museum’s recent work with the Renton Parks Department in developing Heritage Park, a project which focused on a predominantly African American neighborhood in Renton. In another project, the Museum is archiving completed short films that have been shot in Renton in conjunction with the Seattle International Film Festival’s presence there. While these are generally fictional films, they do capture the look, feel, and sound of the place at a moment in time. Stewart also shared an instance of a recent oral history collection effort that wasn’t very successful, and encouraged audience members to talk about their experiences – good and bad – in collecting oral histories. 

The group also covered the ways oral histories might be used: by researchers, in exhibits, as reference materials for staff, and – Stewart forecasts – more and more in multimedia presentations. “Podcasts are coming!” she said.

Before the meeting came to a close, there was a discussion around the urgent necessity of digitizing oral histories that were recorded on cassette tapes, before those tapes degrade. Both MiPoPs (Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound) and UW Libraries have programs that can assist in that regard.



Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!




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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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Association of King County
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P.O. Box 3257
Seattle, WA 98114

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