The mission of ISHA is to educate, promote and support organizations and individuals engaged in the celebration of sports heritage.
The Association was established in 1971 by William “Buck” Dawson of the Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida, M.H. Lefty Reid of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Vaughan L. Baird of the Aquatic Hall of Fame, both located in Canada. The Association was first called Association of Sports Museums and Halls of Fame. It became the International Association of Sports Museums and Halls of Fame when it incorporated in the State of Delaware on June 27, 1989. The name was changed to the International Sports Heritage Association on December 20, 2005.
There are over 130 institutions located in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia that are Regular Members of ISHA. In addition, various corporations and individuals participate in and contribute to the growth of ISHA as Associate Members.
Through publications, such as the ISHA E-Newsletter, and other educational efforts, ISHA enables members to draw upon resources from the museum and the corporate worlds for information on administration, development, collections management, public relations, and other policies, procedures, and products. ISHA provides a network for the exchange of ideas and opportunities for cooperative ventures among members.
The ISHA Annual Conference is held in the autumn of each year. The Conference includes educational seminars on topics such as licensing, conservation and preservation, exhibits, and marketing by professionals from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, as well as a trade show providing museum product and service information, round-table discussions (a forum for the informal exchange of ideas), facility tours, and other special events.