AASLH is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. Its roots stem from the early Conference of State and Local Historical Societies formed at the 1904 annual meeting of the American Historical Association in an effort to serve the needs of state and local historical societies. The AHA disbanded the conference in 1940, and from it the AASLH was created. Its purpose as stated in its first constitution was "the promotion of effort and activity in the fields of state, provincial, and local history in the United States and Canada."
From its headquarters in Nashville, AASLH provides its more than five thousand individual and institutional members with a variety of programs and services. Among these are the quarterly magazine History News; the monthly newsletter Dispatch; a video library lending service; regional and national seminars and workshops; an annual meeting; and a national Awards Program.
AASLH is a cosponsor of the Seminar for Historical Administration held each year at Colonial Williamsburg. The goal of the seminar is to develop and strengthen leadership within historical organizations and the museum community. AASLH also cosponsors National History Day, a national program for school children designed to enrich their understanding of history and its impact on their lives.
Through its diverse programs and services, AASLH works to ensure the highest-quality expressions of state and local history, whether provided through publications, exhibitions, or public programs.