After each task is finished in preparation for the JWHA Nauvoo Conference, my best friend will say, “Great, that means you’re finished!”  Those of you who have been the program chair of any organization know that you are not finished until the event is over, the last bill is paid and the final thank you notes are in the mail.

However, as Cheryle Grinter, JWHA’s Executive Director par excellence, and the program committee and I tie up the final details, I am pleased to remind you what an outstanding package, err, conference, has been planned for you.  So many of you who are reading this know also that you are responsible for some part of this–as presenter, chair, interpreter, committee member or board member.  However, I’ve said before and I will say it again, it is you who are attending who make all these scholarly presentations worth the research, writing and presenting.  I relish being in the presence of people who are smarter than I am and this conference presents the opportunity in abundance.

In my review of last year’s member survey about all things JWHA, a few comments caught my attention.

“Conference seems to be for academics or scholars?  I’m just a curious sort that enjoys the articles.  I don’t research or write so I did not feel I was the target audience for the conference.”    The Saturday afternoon Walking/Shuttle Tour developed by the Program Committee may address this member’s concern.  Five stations on the Joseph Smith Historic Site grounds, each with its own interpreter of an important event or concern associated with the location, will provide historical context for those of us non-scholars who don’t know what we don’t know.  They should also enhance the knowledge of academics who have not visited Nauvoo before or for those who can’t get enough of Restoration history.

On the other hand… “I come for the well-researched papers and presentations.”   An abundance of provocative presentations this year require four breakout sessions at a time, giving 61 presenters the opportunity to share their research.

“Too many banquets. (They are rather expensive.)”  Several of you have commented for several years that the banquets are expensive.  This year we have one banquet, the Saturday night Presidential Banquet with the highly anticipated Presidential Address.

On the other hand… “Sessions and conversations.  Love the greet and meet with food and beverages; a relaxed atmosphere for meeting new friends.”

So… This year we have something very unusual which meets several requests, including continuing the tradition of connecting over food and beverages.  The Friday night banquet is being replaced by something entirely different!  We will have a food vendor from whose menu you can order the meal of your choice and take it to a table for Café Conversations.  Café Conversations is your opportunity to sup with the historian whose work fascinates you, or whose session you can’t attend because you will be attending another, or because you are giving your own.  You can ask questions and exchange ideas.  Likewise, it gives others a chance to explore your knowledge of an issue in which you are well-versed, thus satisfying another common value of JWHA’s annual conference, “I enjoy the scholarly exchange.”  “I want to be up-to-date on recent work and who’s doing it.” 

Who said historians were stodgy folks whose noses are always in books?  One comment, “Make conferences fun!” really hit a nerve.  So…we have three activities that are strictly for fun.

  1. Michael Allen will present his 30-minute magic show immediately preceding Café Conversations.
  2. And after Café Conversations Joseph Johnstun will be leading his “Nauvoo After Dark: Murder, Mayhem and Scandal” tour.  If you bought a chance you might just get to go with him.
  3. Likewise, Saturday night after the Presidential Banquet, Lach Mackay is leading his “Behind the Scenes” tour, taking you to places in Nauvoo most people never get to see. Again, this requires your being one of several lucky ticket holders when you buy a chance or two or three.

You can see why Cheryle, the Program Committee and I are looking forward to exceeding your expectations for scholarship, fellowship, intrigue and fun.

Registration closes September 15, but register before September 1 to save yourself the late fee.


Conference Registration – Until 8.31.17
JWHA Members                         $120
JWHA Non-Member Spouse   $120
Non-Members                             $145
Single Day*                                  $60
Student                                         $60
Vendor                                          $150

Conference Registration –  9.1.17 or later
JWHA Members                         $145
JWHA Non-Member Spouse   $145
Non-Members                            $170
Single Day*                                  $85
Students                                       $85
Vendor                                          $200

Optional Additional Registration
President’s Banquet                   $35




We all hope to see you in Nauvoo!

Sherry Morain, Chair

Program Committee

Bill Shepard, co-chair

Scott Esplin

Mel Johnson

Rachel Killebrew

Bill Russell

Clare Vlahos

Barbara Walden