January 2020 marks a fresh start. It is a new year and a new decade. And at the AHA, it is a time of changes big and small.
For the last year, these Townhouse Notes have been written outside the townhouse. As many of our readers will remember, the AHA moved out of our offices at 400 A Street SE in January 2019 for a major renovation. We expected the construction would take six months; anyone with renovation experience can probably predict what happened next. Finally, after a long year in temporary office space in Washington, DC’s Chinatown, the staff is moving back home. A new accessible entrance has been added, walls have been moved to accommodate meeting space for our staff and the historical community, the carpet and paint are refreshed, and solar panels reside on the roof. The newest hires, including myself, have never even stepped foot in the townhouse offices. But the entire Association staff is excited to move back into the townhouse after our return from the annual meeting in January. We look forward to sharing photos of our new digs in a future issue of Perspectives, and we welcome our members to visit the offices when you’re in DC.
We will also return from the 2020 annual meeting in New York City with a new AHA Council. President Mary Lindemann and newly elected councilors Jacqueline Jones (Univ. of Texas at Austin, president-elect), Rita C-K Chin (Univ. of Michigan, vice president, Professional Division), Reginald K. Ellis (Florida A&M Univ., Professional Division), Sara Georgini (Massachusetts Historical Society, Research Division), and Shannon T. Bontrager (Georgia Highlands Coll., Cartersville, Teaching Division) will begin their three-year terms at the annual meeting. The Council works hard to govern the Association, ensuring that the AHA fulfills its mission to serve the discipline and members, providing members with data on the profession, and promoting scholarship and teaching excellence. Each new councilor brings unique experience and expertise to the table. I look forward to seeing what this team achieves in 2020 and beyond.
January also marks a fresh start for Perspectives on History. It is time to find an editor who will lead Perspectives into the new decade. The editor of Perspectives fills a special role at the AHA. The editor must have publications experience—Perspectives is both a monthly magazine and an online publication, and understanding how to run both such formats is a plus. In the day-to-day, the editor spends much time doing, of course, editorial work. The editor plans issues, evaluates manuscript submissions with the editorial board, works with authors to craft their prose, and writes articles, including this very column. But the editor plays a larger role, too. In crafting the vision of Perspectives, this person helps shape the message of the AHA. The editor should have a finger on the pulse of “history,” in its many meanings. Our publication covers all aspects of the Association’s work, from teaching to research to professional issues. The new editor should know about how history is done and taught in settings across the historical profession—in education, museums, the government, and more.
The start of the year is a time of planning for the future and making resolutions. In this new year and decade, I have several hopes for our readers. Keep working hard in your classrooms, archives, museums, parks, and the many other places where historians work. We know this is a time of turmoil, and your expertise is needed. Keep writing op-eds, blogging, podcasting, and tweeting to bring that knowledge to the public. And above all, keep contributing to the discipline as colleagues and mentors. With kindness, good humor, and probably a lot of caffeine, we will make it through another busy year. Cheers!
Laura Ansley is managing editor at the AHA. She tweets @lmansley.
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