Host Committee

I. Purpose

Working closely with the SAA Executive Director and staff, the Host Committee serves as an advisory group to, and onsite extension of, the conference staff.  Committee members provide their knowledge of the local area and its history and ideas for the non-program-related arrangements associated with the Annual Meeting. 

The conference staff works with Committee members’ suggestions, the SAA Council-adopted budget, and the input of the SAA President and other leaders and staff to explore options and make final decisions and arrangements. Committee members also contribute promotional information (including articles, photographs, and online-only information about the host city) and serve on site as registration personnel.

II. Committee Selection, Size, and Length of Terms

The SAA Vice President / President-Elect appoints the chair and members of the Host Committee for the meeting over which he/she presides as president. The chair recommends members of the Host Committee from the geographic area in which the Annual Meeting is being held. The chair may wish to designate one or more co- or deputy chairs. The Host Committee is appointed one year or more before the Annual Meeting and serves through that meeting. Members of the Host Committee must be members of SAA, although non-SAA members may be asked to advise or assist the committee.

Host Committees generally establish subcommittees to facilitate their work. The number and responsibilities of these subcommittees is left up to the needs and wishes of each Host Committee.

III. Reporting Procedures

The Host Committee chair submits a report to the SAA Council (at the Annual Meeting or soon thereafter for online consideration) that addresses the extent to which Host Committee activities addressed diversity issues, evaluates the success of the Host Committee work process over the course of the year, and outlines issues encountered or to be addressed by future Host Committees. The Host Committee chair or co-chairs should be available to advise the incoming chair/co-chairs of the next year’s Committee to ensure transfer of knowledge.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

The Executive Director and conference staff are responsible for:

  • Final selection of images, reception venues, and vendors. Final selection of the plenary speakers rests with the President and Executive Director.
  • All final logistics arrangements, including negotiations and contracts.

The Host Committee’s primary duties are the following:

A. Identify, research, and recommend:

  • Repositories that will hold tours and/or open houses before and/or during the meeting.
  • Professional tours (and tour companies).  SAA does not provide any services related to professional tours, but may promote the availability of such tours if they do not conflict with the conference schedule.
  • Local vendors that may be good prospects for the Exhibit Hall.
  • Local prospects for meeting sponsors.
  • Speakers for plenary session(s) (although the final decisions are made by the SAA President).
  • All-Attendee Reception site. Closing Party site (if a Closing Party is held).

B. Help promote the meeting and supply articles, images, and other written materials.
The Host Committee works closely with the SAA Executive Director and staff throughout the year prior to and during the Annual Meeting.  Activities led by the Host Committee include but are not limited to:

  • Make a brief presentation during the previous year's Annual Meeting and alert local archivists and others about the Annual Meeting.
  • Prepare articles for several issues of SAA’s Archival Outlook to build excitement about attending a meeting in the host city and spotlight historical facts and notable local collections. Writing should be energetic, enthusiastic, and interesting; humor is appropriate. Generally these articles include photos and caption information.
  • Prepare promotional and welcome information for the Preliminary, Online, and Onsite programs. Provide images (including caption information and usage rights) showing scenes of the host city that may be posted on the SAA website or used in SAA publications for promotional purposes. Images ideally should reflect the diversity of people, collections, repositories, and institutions in the geographic area.

C. Collect, compile, and use available communication mechanisms (social media, conference website, materials in the registration area) to present local information to potential Annual Meeting registrants.  The Host Committee should develop and post actively on an Annual Meeting blog, which should include links to Annual Meeting information tracked and publicized by staff on the SAA website (such as repository tours and session information), as well as the following local information:

  • Travel information that will help attendees get around town as easily as possible (e.g., public transportation system maps and schedules, shuttle and taxi information, city maps). Submit to staff and consider linking to this material from the blog. 
  • Dining guide.  The Host Committee may choose to compile a guide or simply to provide links to online local guides. Submit to staff and consider linking to this material from the blog.
  • Lists of other information that may be of particular interest to attendees, such as local tours, bookstores, coffee houses, fun and unusual shopping destinations, nearby restaurants (with price ranges), services such as drug stores and photocopy facilities, cultural events, recreational activities, and tourist attractions. Information may be gathered from existing resources (such as the convention bureau) or the Host Committee may develop its own directory of information. Submit to staff and consider linking to this material from the blog.
  • A list of repositories (e.g., archives, libraries, museums) in the area that are willing to hold tours or to open their repositories to Annual Meeting attendees. Details such as the name, address, hours, and directions to the repository should be submitted to the SAA Executive Director and staff for publication on the Annual Meeting website or via other appropriate SAA media outlets.

D.  Coordinate and supply volunteers (both Host Committee members and other volunteers) for staffing of the “Advance Registration” desk during conference hours.

  • Includes checking in pre-paid registrants, handing out name badges and programs, and answering questions about the local area.  

SAA is not able to waive registration fees for Host Committee members or other volunteers. 

V. Meetings

The Host Committee meets as many times as is necessary before the Annual Meeting. SAA staff members attend some of these meetings. Meetings may be conducted in the host city, via conference call, or via alternative remote meeting technologies.


Approved by the SAA Council: September 1988
Revised: June 1992, December 2012