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GHHN (Greater Hudson Heritage Network) is honored to enter into a partnership with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area to provide virtual training opportunities in 2021. 

Transformative Tools: A Practicum in Digital Engagement for Heritage Keepers is a multi- faceted professional development initiative to grow digital capacity among museum professionals, especially those from institutions that often cannot provide such opportunities to their staff. For many sites, the operative question is no longer whether technology should be used as a medium for visitor engagement, but how digital tools can be leveraged to engage audiences of all ages and enhance learning - both onsite and remotely.

The notion that digital platforms are uber-expensive, resource-heavy, and out of financial reach for small organizations is simply false. While it is easy to assume that the sophisticated technological tools used by larger institutions are beyond the capacity of small museums with limited staff, in reality, there are many cost-effective methods for small and mid-size organizations to extend their reach and share their site virtually with the public. 

To address these needs, Greater Hudson Heritage Network will present training virtually to shine a light on some of the most user-friendly, low-cost and creative tools available today. This comprehensive training curriculum will educate and engage sites with the skills and knowledge needed to produce online digital programming and engagement. The practicum has three main arms: a Digital Capacity Environmental Scan, Online Class Series, and the Digital Showcase.

To shed the light on the heritage community's readiness, ability and interest in expanding their collections' access through digital platforms, we will begin the project with a Digital Capacity Environmental Scan. Museum professionals alike may not experiment with new technologies from their common fear of the complexity of the technology or because they have not been informed of the options available to them. This in-depth survey will test the barriers that prevent sites from engaging in and or expanding their digital offerings such as: perceptions that the technology is too expensive, too complicated or outside the capacity of their site. Questions will cover institutional demographics; scope of digital collections; and the use of digital platforms, standards, technologies, and policies. 

This three part series of online classes seeks to demystify the technology behind these digital platforms. Each of the classes will span 6 weeks and be taught in a straightforward, uncomplicated way so that museum staff and volunteers with a wide range of digital knowledge will be able to participate and propel their museum into their digital age. Class series can be taken a la carte, however we recommend participating in all three series to maximize your digital project's potential. Instructors and GHHN will guide the participants in the process to create and produce either an online exhibition, an online audio tour, a combination of both, or a project inspired by the Spotlight Series - all will be featured in the Digital Showcase and on their own websites.

Series 1: Planning and Creating Digital Exhibits with Jennifer Palmentiero, SENYLRC and Heidi Ziemer, WNYLRC
Topics covered will include Project Planning, Digitization of Collection Materials and Applications for Digital Assets. Participants will gain the know-how and a basic understanding of the tools and processes needed to properly plan out a digitization project, the steps for digitizing collection materials, and how to use digital assets to create online exhibits. The participant sites will each build a short online exhibit using one of the sources discussed to feature on their organization's website. The exhibit will also be featured in the GHHN Digital Showcase.

Series 2: All About Audio: Digital Recording, Editing, and Creating Audio Tours and Exhibits with Eileen McAdam of Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley
Topics covered will include Digital Recording, Editing, and Applications for Digital Assets. Participants will gain the know-how and a basic understanding of the tools and processes to create digital recordings, learn how to edit those raw recordings into usable digital content, and then will select an application for using those digital assets to create a final product. 

Series 3: Tech Spotlight Sessions
The third series provides an opportunity for participants to engage with heritage sites and organizations who have prior and extensive experience with digital engagement and the tools covered in the first two sessions of the practicum. Utilizing ZOOM to create a virtual forum, we'll hear from those who have used their historical collections to create digital assets and then crafted a variety of engaging experiences- from audio tours, to podcasts, to dynamic web exhibits, and even virtual reality and immersive experiences.
Two 'Think Tank' sessions will be conducted during Weeks 3 and 6 of the series, which will allow for participants to bounce ideas for digital engagement and creative use of digital assets off the GHHN staff, the class instructors, and each other. Collaborative brainstorming sessions can lead to recommendations and new ideas, constructive critiques, networking and a larger sense of community, and even the formation of new and lasting partnerships among heritage keepers.

Accessible via the GHHN website, the Digital Showcase will serve as a clearinghouse to access the individual digital, audio, or tech spotlight inspired projects created by participants. Additionally, all the content created by participants can be featured on their own websites to encourage community engagement.

Watch your inbox for more information about this exciting programming for 2021!
About the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area
The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area program was established by Congress in 1996 and is funded through the National Park Service and Department of the Interior. The mission of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area is to recognize, preserve, protect and interpret the nationally significant historic, cultural and natural resources of the Hudson River Valley for the benefit of the Nation. The Hudson River Valley Greenway is the management entity for the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. For more information, visit

About Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN)
GHHN is the statewide 'go-to' service organization for responsive assistance, interpretation and collections care. Our program services are local, professional and statewide. GHHN offers grants, workshops, webinars, consultations, technical assistance, a resource network and professional development opportunities to advance the work of historical societies, historic house museums, heritage centers, historic sites, archives and libraries. Visit us online at