Navigating the 2018 Annual Meeting: Sacramento, California, April 12–14, 2018

This article first appeared:
SELBY, Hajni G. "Navigating the 2018 Annual Meeting: Sacramento, California, April 12–14, 2018." The American Historian, February 2018, 27-28.

Preparation for a conference can be the difference between an excellent experience and a frustrating one. The Organization of American Historians strives for each attendee to come away from the Annual Meeting satisfied, rejuvenated, and inspired. By offering the tools and information below, I hope to help you become comfortable in navigating the conference so you can focus your time onsite enjoying it. 

The 2018 OAH Annual Meeting will take place at three venues in downtown Sacramento, California. The primary location is at the Sacramento Convention Center, where attendees will find registration, all sessions, and the exhibit hall. The Hyatt Regency will house most meal functions (such as breakfast, luncheons, and receptions); most workshops and committee and affiliate group meetings; and the evening plenary. The Sheraton Grand Sacramento will host the LAWCHA committee meeting, luncheon, and reception.

There are two conference hotels available within the OAH room block, which is available until March 22, or until the block is filled, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and the Sheraton Grand Sacramento. Both hotels are across the street from the Convention Center. The hotel nightly rates are $163 and $158 respectively. For information on reserving your room, either online or by phone, please visit

Pre-registration is available until April 1, 2018, at which time rates increase. The OAH offers several categories of registration for both members and non-members. Depending on your category, it may be cheaper to become a member and register at the member rate than to register using the non-member rate. To receive the member rate, be sure to complete your membership application or renewal prior to registering.

Attendees accompanied by a spouse or other guest who would not otherwise attend the Annual Meeting are welcome to register their guest using the guest registration option. This allows guests access to all events at a deeply discounted rate. Attendees should also be aware of the new Institution Group Registration. If four or more individuals from one institution are attending the conference, they are eligible for a 15% discount per registration (the discount is applied to each person’s category). This is a great way to connect with your colleagues and encourage those who may be on the fence to attend while saving money.

Finally, educators who would like to bring three or more pre-candidacy students to the conference can contact the OAH for a special $35 student rates. To learn more about the various registration options and to view frequently asked questions, please go to:

There are multiple ways to map your conference schedule. The Annual Meeting Program lists all events in various formats. Begin by viewing the daily “Schedule-at-a-Glance” charts at the front of the program to get an overview of the events and session that interest you. Using the page numbers listed, you can find session descriptions or else peruse the entire program from beginning to end. The Annual Meeting Program is organized categorically: highlights, meals, workshops, tours, and sessions.

Alternatively, you may use our new online Theme Visualizer to discover a new and perhaps unexpected path through the conference. The Visualizer allows you to select a
theme and view all the sessions and papers that fall into that category or you can select a session to identify the theme and see all related sessions.

The mobile app, which becomes available in late March, is a great tool to not only explore the conference but also set your schedule. It allows you to mark all the events you would like to attend so you can easily manage your time and find your locations. Be sure to attend the new Friday evening OAH Awards celebration, which now
occurs separately from the Saturday Business Meeting!

The OAH offers attendees several food functions and networking events daily—many of which are free and open to all attendees. On Thursday all attendees are invited to
the Opening Night Reception in the Exhibit Hall. This is a great place to meet with exhibitors and colleagues while grabbing a light snack and a free drink! Also on Thursday, and continuing for the duration of the conference, the OAH is organizing dine-arounds—an opportunity to go to dinner with fellow attendees. The dine-arounds offer a prix fixe (set price) menu that you pay for during the registration process. The big reception bonanza is Friday, with receptions open to attendees beginning at 4:00 pm with the Pre-Award Reception, followed by a Publishers Mix and Mingle at 5:45 pm, and then various receptions for OAH committees and affiliates representing many different areas of interest. Some of these groups also offer keynote luncheons, which you can sign up for during the registration process. Finally, we invite everyone
to attend the President’s Closing Reception on Saturday evening. This reception honors OAH President Ed Ayers and allows you the opportunity to make final  connections and farewells within your community.

The Exhibit Hall is where you will find valuable resources, contacts, and events. Most publishers bring their acquisitions editors to the conference to meet with you. We encourage you to take time out of your day to walk the exhibits, engage with exhibitors, learn about new resources, and, of course, purchase books! Most publishers will offer deep discounts on their books, so we recommend you leave space in your suitcase or, perhaps, even bring an extra bag!

For those interested in ice-breaker conversations with publishers, check out The Hub. Participating Hub publishers are specifically interested in meeting with
attendees at the Annual Meeting and include SUNY Press, Yale University Press, University of Missouri Press, and Beacon Press.

Aside from exhibitors, the Hall also offers various lounge areas to meet with colleagues and friends as well as the Thursday Plenary Theater, the Doing History Workshop
Theater (which offers nine free in-depth workshops to engage broader audiences with high-quality scholarship), Chat Room and museum displays.

Posted: February 20, 2018
Tagged: Conference