The Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs) is an assessment program provided by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).

AASLH Mission: The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) is a national association
that provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people.

StEPs Program

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.

The program and accompanying workbook is divided into six sections that can be addressed in any order:

• Mission, Vision, & Governance
• Audience
• Interpretation
• Stewardship of Collections
• Stewardship of Historic Structures & Landscapes
• Management

In each section, organizations can identify their current practice as Basic, Good, or Better. Each level has its indicators, allowing organizations to set realistic goals and tackle challenges in small, manageable steps.

How are certificates earned?

Each time your organization reaches all the performance indicators for a section level, you earn certificates at the Bronze, Silver, or Gold levels. Earn Gold certificates in every section to graduate from the program. Official recognition occurs each year at the Awards Banquet ceremony at AASLH’s Annual Meeting.

StEPs certificates are a great way to show your board, community, visitors, and yourself the progress you are making and the achievements you are reaching. Besides local and statewide recognition, these certificates can be used as valuable support material for funding requests and grant applications. Since certificates are earned on the honor system, it is easy to send in the form after completing a section.


Select Our StEPs Progress or StEPS Article from the menu to the left for additional information.