Dan Curtis ~ Professional Personal Historian

Entries tagged as ‘Association of Personal Historians’

20 Reasons Why You Need to Attend the 2010 APH Conference.

June 23, 2010 · 6 Comments

In a previous post, 10 Great Reasons to Visit Victoria, BC, I extolled the virtues of my home town as the location for this year’s Association of Personal Historians conference. I know that coming up with the cash to attend a conference can raise questions of getting value for your money. Let me be frank. You’d be hard pressed to find another professional conference that gives you as much “bang for your buck” as the APH conference. I speak from experience. If you’re in the business of being a professional personal historian, you owe it to yourself to attend this conference. If you still need more convincing, here are 20 reasons to head to Victoria this November:

  1. You’ll learn enough new insights, skills, and ideas to keep you fueled until next year’s conference.
  2. You’ll meet friendly, seasoned veterans who’ll be happy to share their knowledge and experience with you.
  3. You’ll have the chance to develop business partnerships with other personal historians.
  4. You’ll make new friendships that will help sustain you in your business over the years.
  5. You’ll enjoy the luxury of putting work aside for a few days.
  6. You’ll be stimulated by dynamic keynote presentations.
  7. You’ll find your “Tribe” and be energized by its members who have the same passion as you do for personal histories.
  8. You’ll be able to share your work and experience in a supportive environment.
  9. You’ll get to taste the delights of “Nanaimo Bars” and “Sidney Slices”. Yummy!
  10. You’ll get to meet APH members  from your region.
  11. You’ll be able to put a  a face to the “stars” who post regularly on the APH listserv.
  12. You’ll become part of a vibrant group and return home feeling less isolated and alone in your work.
  13. You’ll get to ask lots of questions.
  14. You’ll have fun exploring Victoria, one of the world’s top travel destinations.
  15. You’ll get to take in the  “bigger picture” of personal histories.
  16. You’ll have epiphanies.
  17. You’ll get to listen to and talk with experts that you’d not normally have a chance to meet.
  18. You’ll discover new solutions to old problems.
  19. You’ll have a chance to test out and refine your “elevator” speech because attendees will be asking you, “What do you do?”
  20. You’ll get to meet me! Just kidding. ;-) But seriously I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at the conference.

© Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com

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Categories: Conferences · Inspiration · Personal historian
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10 Great Reasons to Visit Victoria, BC.

January 27, 2010 · 3 Comments

Victoria harbor with the Legislative Buildings in the background

No, I haven’t become a travel agent!  I’ll admit though that I love to extol the  virtues of  my home town,Victoria. And as a member of the Association of Personal Historians, I’m excited that this year’s conference will be held in Victoria, November 3 -7,  at the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. Named after Queen Victoria, it was established in 1843 by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a fort and trading post. Today it has an  estimated regional population of 326,000.

Here are 10 great reasons for you to come to Victoria.

1. Participate in the APH “Voices of the Elders” conference. If you’re not yet a member of the Association of Personal Historians, I strongly urge you to become one. You don’t want to miss this conference! You can join the APH by clicking here.

2. International travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler ranked Victoria #1 Best City in the Americas (2003/2004).

3. Aptly named the “Garden City”, Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada. Right now the snowdrops are blooming!

4. Victoria is home to Fisgard lighthouse, Canada’s oldest West Coast lighthouse, built in 1860.

Fisgard Lighthouse

5. Beacon Hill Park is  the site of the world’s tallest, free-standing totem pole carved from a single log. Erected in 1956, it stands  38.8-metres (127 ft.) and was carved  by Kwakwaka’wakw craftsman Mungo Martin.

World's tallest totem pole

6. Victoria is “Mile 0″ of the Trans Canada Highway,  the longest national highway in the world,  spanning 7,821 km (4,860 mi.)

7. Congregation Emanu-El is the oldest house of worship in British Columbia and the oldest synagogue in continuous use in Canada.

8. Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and second only to San Francisco which is the oldest in North America.

9.Victoria is home to The Royal BC Museum, one of the foremost cultural institutions in the world.

Butchart Gardens

10. The world famous Butchart Gardens are  a short 21 km (12.6 mi.) drive outside Victoria. Located on 55 acres, these sublime gardens are beautiful year round.


Victoria Harbor photo by Gregory Melle

Fisgard Lighthouse photo by Eric de Leeuw

World’s tallest totem photo by Fawcett5

Butchart Gardens photo by Phil Romans

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Categories: Conferences · Personal historian
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If You Miss This Conference, You’ll Regret It.

July 30, 2009 · 5 Comments

APH Conference 2009-logo

The Association of Personal Historians  2009 Annual Conference is being held in  Valley Forge, Pennsylvania from  Oct. 21 – 25, 2009.  If you can get to only one conference this year, this is the one to attend.

Warning: Early bird registration ends on July 31st. If you want to save money click here. Non APH members can attend the conference but if you’re not yet a member, I’d encourage you to join the APH. The Conference fees are lower and you’ll receive a wealth of benefits that are well worth the membership fee.

I attended my first APH conference in Portland, Oregon,  in 2006. It was a great experience. Here’s what it did for me:

  • Recharged my batteries: Meeting with and listening to the varied experiences of APH members got me excited about my chosen profession.
  • Honed my skills: From workshops on marketing for introverts  to making demo reels to the therapeutic benefits of life stories, I soaked in new and valuable information.
  • Inspired me: The keynote speakers and workshop leaders helped me see my work in a larger context and made me want to do more.
  • Made new friends: I found personal historians are “my kind of people”. They’re good listeners. They’re enthusiastic. They’re helpful. I still keep in touch with several colleagues I met in Portland.
  • Created a sense of community: Working on our own can sometimes feel daunting and lonely. I left Portland knowing that I was now part of a very vital and enriching community.

Revolutionary Perspectives is the theme for the 2009 APH conference. Paula Stahel, APH President, writes:

… this year’s conference theme,  is designed to help you transform and expand your awareness. The wide array of educational workshops and enlightening speakers will open your eyes to opportunities you can take advantage of immediately. Access to new information, ideas, technology, and connections will offer fresh insight on how to make your business thrive, not just survive, harsh economic times.

I really encourage you to go to this year’s APH conference. It’s an investment you won’t regret. I wish I could say that I’ll see you there but I’m caring for my 91 year-old mother and she’s my priority right now. One day I’ll be back at an APH conference. See you then!

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Categories: Conferences · Personal historian · Resources
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How to Find A Personal Historian.

July 10, 2009 · Leave a Comment


Let’s say you’ve decided you really need help getting your personal history completed or you want someone to produce a personal history of  your mother. Where do you find a personal historian?  Here are several suggestions that should help you in your search:

  • Google search: type in any of the following key word combinations – personal historian, your life story, family stories -  and you’ll see an extensive listing of personal historian blogs and web sites.
  • Community centers/libraries: A number of personal historians offer workshops and courses on writing your personal history through such places. You might contact your local community center or library to ask  if they know of any personal historians in your area.
  • Referrals: Most personal historians are happy to refer you to their colleagues. So if you can’t locate  a personal historian in your community go the APH site and get the names of several personal historians who  live nearest to you. Contact them and ask if they might know a local personal historian.
  • Social media: More personal historians are using networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Go to any of these services and search for “personal historian” and you’ll likely find someone.

Photo by Chuck Burgess

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Categories: How to · Life stories · Personal historian · Tips
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Here’s A Book You’ll Want for Your Library.

March 13, 2009 · Leave a Comment

cat-and-booksAs a member of the Association of Personal Historians, I’m pleased to tell you about the publication of the Association’s new book, My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of  Personal History. The APH website describes the anthology as a celebration of  “the full range of life story writing, from lighthearted stories and deeply felt reminiscence to eyewitness accounts of history…. this rich collection of 49 stories from real life — gathered or written by members of the Association of Personal Historians — also explores the importance of life review and why these stories matter so much.”

Susan Wittig Albert writing in  StoryCircleBookReviews.org says:

If you’re a fan (as I am) of stories rooted in real life, you will very much enjoy this book. It would also make a delightful gift for the storytellers in your family—and might even give them a few valuable ideas (and some important motivation) for telling their own stories. And if you’re a teacher of memoir, reminiscence, or personal history, it would make an excellent addition to your classroom teaching or to your students’ reading list. Imaginatively conceived, thoughtfully arranged, and professionally
edited and presented, My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History will be a source of pleasure, information, and instruction.

You can read excerpts from the book here.  Priced at $19.95, you can order the book through the APH by clicking here or at Amazon.com by clicking here.

The anthology is edited by Paula Stallings Yost and Pat McNees with a foreword by Rick Bragg.

Photo by Tyler

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Categories: Book reviews · Life stories · Memoirs · Personal historian · Resources · Writing
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