What’s an Annual Meeting “working group”?
NCPH working groups are seminar-like conversations of 8-10 people before and during the annual conference that explore, in-depth, a subject of shared concern. Working groups have a purpose they are working toward, a problem they are actively trying to solve. The working group proposal must articulate this as well as an end product(s) that the group seeks to create.
What makes a working group unique?
Two things. When a group convenes at the annual meeting, the conversation has already begun. Participants are invested in the outcome. Facilitators have had time to refine their questions and perhaps refocus on the issues. Second, facilitators lead their group in developing an end product, such as an article, a list of resources, an exhibit, a manifesto, a white paper, or a new collaborative project.
How will they be formed for the upcoming conference?
Individuals willing to serve as facilitators propose topics in response to the Annual Meeting Call for Proposals (due July 15). The Program Committee then selects several working group topics and issues another call, this time for working group discussants, in September to October. Facilitators build their groups in the fall by selecting discussants from among people who have submitted one-paragraph requests to join. Two to three months prior to the conference, facilitators ask each discussant in their working group to write a 2-4 page document that (1) outlines a personal statement and/or specific case study related to the working group’s organizing theme, and (2) raises questions and issues with which the participant would like to grapple in advance of the conference. These documents are circulated, and discussants are expected to take part in active online conversations prior to the conference. Facilitators might also circulate a set of readings or assign other tasks or questions prior to the conference. The Public History Commons is available as an online venue for pre-conference discussions, or groups may wish to set up their own sites. Participants’ case statements typically are archived in the NCPH Public History Commons Library as open-access documents (NOTE: Acceptance into a Working Group implies permission for digital archiving of pre-conference materials unless a group or individual participant stipulates otherwise. Groups using their own sites are invited to share materials in a form that can be archived, for example a PDF file of all case statements.)
Who may participate?
Anyone who proposes a working group topic that is accepted by the Program Committee, or anyone selected by working group facilitators in the fall in response to the working group call for participants. While some facilitators make their group’s discussion at the conference private if they believe the topic is controversial and public conversation would keep their discussants from speaking their minds, most facilitators will open their working group to other conference goers who want to sit in on the discussion. Such observers may be welcome to join in the conversation but are reminded that facilitators will give priority to the group’s pre-selected discussants who, by time of the conference, will have met each other online (by email, wiki, or blog) and in this manner, are already in the middle of a conversation when they meet face-to-face. When the group sits down at the conference, self-introductions should be limited to matching faces with names (no more than 30 seconds per person).
What happens after the annual meeting?
Facilitators report on the outcome of the discussion and/or the end product by authoring a one-paragraph summary (150-200 words) for the NCPH newsletter and, if they wish, a longer piece (750-1,000 words) for the NCPH blog, History@Work. The newsletter report is a summary of highlights that explains the final product the group will be producing. The blog post can be a critical review of the issue(s) discussed and should aim to demonstrate their wider relevance.
Questions? Contact the NCPH office at (317) 274-2716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After the Administrative History: What Next?
- Public History as Digital History as Public History
- Free, Separate, Uncertain: Can Public History Play?
- History on the Edge of Nowhere
- On the Edge of 2016: Commemorating the Past and Shaping the Future of Federal Preservation Activities
- Pedagogy in Public: Academic Programs and Community Partners
- Religion, Historic Sites, and Museums
- Teaching Public History through International Collaborations
- Who speaks for us? Government Historians and the NCPH
Over the past several decades, more and more public agencies are recognizing the importance of preserving and recording their history. This is the case for the National Park Service, which has been actively promoting the creation of administrative histories for its parks over the past fifty or so years. The idea is that these histories can help the park understand where it has been, including what challenges it has faced and how it has resolved them, and to help guide the staff in the future. Administrative histories of various units and programs of the National Park Service also help to compile a more complete understanding as to how the agency evolved. This working group is designed for NPS and other staff who deal with administrative histories, historians who write administrative histories, and those interested in the history of the National Park Service. Our goal is to explore a variety of questions focused around the key issue:
After the Administrative History: What Next? We envision several issues though we welcome questions and ideas from the participants.
- How have NPS parks and other entities used the Administrative Histories?
- What makes a good administrative history? What makes it useful?
- How can the insights and ideas in these histories be made more available and accessible to the public through programs, publications, etc.?
- Are there significant differences between NPS administrative histories and those completed for and used by other organizations? If so, what lessons can we draw from those distinctions?]
- What sources are critical to writing an administrative history? What will we do as digital records become more common-place? And how essential are the annual reports that the parks no longer complete?
- How can the NPS draw out some of the issues that develop from these individual administrative histories and incorporate the findings into a more complete understanding of National Park Service history? What are some of the trends and ideas that have emerged to help characterize NPS history through the various decades or periods?
While we have raised the issues above, we want to hear what other topics participants would like to discuss. We envision this working group as an opportunity to accomplish several goals. First, as the NPS works on revising its guidelines for writing administrative histories, the session organizers will prepare a summary of the ideas that come from this group to share with the NPS History Office in Washington. Second, the NPS Academy for Cultural Resource Management is interested in this topic, so we will share our overview with these NPS staff. Third, we would like to write a “Report from the Field” article on this topic for The Public Historian journal. And last, we would entertain submitting a piece on this topic to the History@Work blog.
2. Public History as Digital History as Public History
Facilitators: Sheila Brennan, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University; Christopher Cantwell, University of Missouri-Kansas City; Jason Heppler, Stanford University; Kyle Roberts, Loyola University Chicago; Brent Rogers, Joseph Smith Papers; Lauren Tilton, Yale University
That digital technology is transforming the work of history is hardly a point of contention. Museums now augment exhibits with new media, librarians curate digital archives, academics mine millions of digital sources with new tools, and educators encourage students to tweet, blog, and tumble their way into history. Yet the totalizing effects of digital history’s rise often obscures important differences in method and practice that lay at the edges and overlaps of these distinct fields. For example, historians employing digital methods might make their work publicly available, yet accessibility does not mean the work is inherently public history. In the same way, online exhibits may be digital by their very nature, but they may miss potential audiences if they do not adhere to best practices in digital humanities.
This working group proposes to explore differences and intersections of doing digital public history and publicly sharing digital history work. It aims to bring together public history educators, digital history practitioners, museum professionals, and students to discuss how these overlapping, yet distinct, fields should learn from each other. Do public historians need to know code? Do digital historians need to know how to share authority?
This working group will open with 15-20 minutes of discussion laying out some challenges. Then, we will break into small groups to discuss the implications of these challenges for our professional positions. These discussions might include:
- How should we train future public historians in digital methods and using digital tools?
- How should we train digital historians to consider audience early and to make their work accessible to specific audiences?
- Are there aspects of the digital humanities that are contradictory to the work of public history and the training of public historians?
- Who is doing digital public history at their institutions and who is involved in the teaching and training?
- What digital and public history competencies might students need for jobs today?
- How do we make publicly-accessible digital projects that are also digitally innovative public projects?
In the final 30 minutes, we will come together to report and summarize our discussions, which will be documented in a draft of best practices, and we will outline a work plan for co-authoring a white paper or article.
3. Free, Separate, Uncertain: Can Public History Play?
Facilitators: Abigail Perkiss, Kean University and Mary Rizzo, Rutgers University-Camden
What does it mean to play with the past? History is conceptualized as a serious intellectual endeavor, but when we widen our lens to include historical re-enactors, games set in the past (from Risk to Assassin’s Creed), fun-filled ethnic heritage festivals and role-playing pedagogical games, it becomes clear that play is a central method through which the public connects with history. Public historians, especially those working with youth, have experimented with play–from teaching visitors historic games to involving them in elaborate role-playing activities–for purposes of education and visitor engagement. Theorists and practitioners in other fields have conceptualized play in a variety of ways that have highlighted unstructured play, open-endedness, contingency, and collaboration. Social justice activists use theater games to address collective problems, often with long histories. Digital humanists describe their work as inherently playful with risk-taking, collaboration, and breaking things at the core. Neuroscientists see unstructured play as the wellspring of creativity and problem solving.
How can public historians incorporate these insights into our work? What can we learn from others (and vice versa) about how to make history fun? How can we make fun meaningful? Can play help us “lift the veil” on the interpretive fluidity of history to more deeply connect with the public? The intention of this working group is to bring together a diverse group of practitioners, theorists, and teachers interested in the intersection between play and public history. Participants may consider:
- types of play (structured, unstructured, group, etc.)
- play, failure and the contingency of the past
- play as prefigurative world-building
- playing for adults
- physical play and connections with history
- play as a tool for empathy
- digital play with history, from metadata games to augmented reality
- integrating play behind-the-scenes in program development
- using play to make museums and other history sites more inclusive and interactive
- the pitfalls of play–are there topics that shouldn’t be played?
This working group will also work together to produce something. Once the group is assembled, we will decide what that might be. Some possibilities include: a public Zotero bibliography of resources on play and public history; designing a game or other playful activity for the NCPH conference; collaboratively writing about issues raised by play and public history for the History@Work blog (or another publication); or working in small groups during the session on specific problems.
Ideally, this working group will include both public historians and other kinds of publicly-engaged theorists, artists, and practitioners to create a conversation around the possibilities of play for public history. Prior to the conference, the facilitators will convene an online conversation. Accepted panelists are expected to actively participate (in a fun way, of course).
4. History on the Edge of Nowhere
Group Case Statements
Facilitators: Shae Adams, W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas/Tarleton State University; Courtney Hobson, Darnall’s Chance House Museum (M-NCPPC), Upper Marlboro, Maryland
In this working group we hope to facilitate a group discussion centered on developing creative solutions for institutions lacking direct access to large populations. The working group will be co-facilitated Shae Adams and Courtney Hobson. Shae is the curatorial assistant at the W.K. Gordon Center in Thurber, Texas, with a population of five. Located nearly 30 miles away from the largest population center in the area, the Center relies on Interstate 20 for most visitor traffic, with an average of 5,000 visitors a year. Courtney is a museum assistant at Darnall’s Chance House Museum (M-NCPPC) in Upper Marlboro, Maryland with a population of 637. Despite Upper Marlboro being the county seat of Prince George’s County and located within a major metropolitan area, the rural town is still culturally isolated and most residents of Prince George’s County are not aware of the museum. Before the conference, participants will contribute to a private blog to begin a conversation about the challenges faced in increasing visitor traffic at institutions isolated from population centers. This blog will also include group discussion of what successes the participants have had in attracting visitors to every day tours, special programming, and developing community outreach initiatives. Through this pre-conference discussion, we will refine the topics to discuss at the conference. The working group discussion will address the most common problems faced by public historians on the Edge of Nowhere, possibly including:
- Ways to increase visitor traffic. This will also necessitate an agreement on the ways in which participants will measure the success of these ideas in their institutions.
- Ways to engage nearby small rural communities
- How to increase museum attendance without relying on physical signage or social media
Participants will decide how best to share the results of our discussion and form a sustainable network after the meeting. This post-conference network will allow continuing discussion while further refining and improving solutions for isolated institutions interpreting history on the Edge of Nowhere.
5. On the Edge of 2016: Commemorating the Past and Shaping the Future of Federal Preservation Activities
Group blog and case statements
Facilitators: Michelle Delaney, Smithsonian Institution; Barbara Little, National Park Service; Denise Meringolo, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Julia Washburn, National Park Service
The year 2016 is a momentous one for public historians in the United States. The National Park Service will mark the 100th Anniversary of its founding. The National Historic Preservation Act will turn 50. These two landmark moments come just two years after the National Museum of American History quietly marked its own 50th Anniversary in 2014. For several years, professionals in both the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service, and interested scholars from outside these institutions, have been engaged in conversations about how best to revitalize their role as cultural stewards, educators and innovators in the 21st century. These initiatives have resulted in a number of internal and external reports –including Imperiled Promise and A Call to Action in the Park Service and the Consortium program at the Smithsonian. While these outcomes have been useful, we would like this symposium to move beyond self-studies and difficult-to-implement initiatives. We envision a symposium that will focus attention on the ways in which creativity, collaboration, and civic engagement are already transforming the value and function of nationally significant cultural sites and resources. We are particularly interested in participants whose work can help draw attention to one or more of the following:
- International cultural resource collaboration that has lent new protections to endangered resources and new legitimacy to under-represented and endangered perspectives on the past
- Creative interpretive programming that has transformed a traditional historic place into a site of conscience, or a site of consciousness-raising
- Projects that have created “parks without boundaries,” sites that have fully engaged local and regional audiences in reclaiming and reframing preservation
- Ideas about how we might challenge entrenched institutional practices that constrain creativity without endangering or undermining the core mission of national preservation entities
- Examples of effective, dynamic, and ongoing collaborations among historic places, institutions of higher learning, and other cultural institutions
- Effective, creative, and fully imagined projects to diversify both audiences and work force in the realm of federal preservation, interpretation, and resource management
- Innovative and productive perspectives on the history of federal preservation, interpretation, and/or resource management programs and policies
This Working Group will design the form and content for a half-day symposium that will take place on March 16, 2016, as part of the 2016 Annual Meeting of the NCPH in Baltimore. The facilitators are seeking meaningful participation from a variety of public historians to design a dynamic and meaningful symposium. We are committed to planning an event that will not simply commemorate the history of federal preservation, cultural resource management, and historical interpretation, but will, instead, invite open and productive dialog about how federal cultural institutions can put a 21st century vision into action.
Together, the participants in this working group will work to create a symposium that will integrate processes of knowledge sharing with meaningful opportunities for dialog and planning.
6. Pedagogy in Public: Academic Programs and Community Partners
Group Case Statements
Facilitators: Elyssa Ford, Northwest Missouri State University and Debra Brookhart, The American Legion
For many public history programs, it is important to maintain close relationships with community partners. Such relationships offer ways for faculty to remain involved in the community and in the field, real-world projects and experiences for students, a source of internships and assistantships, and the hope of full-time job opportunities after graduation. Yet sometimes these projects leave someone “on the edge” — the students who may be unprepared or uninterested in the project, the community institutions who may not have been included as equal partners or who might find themselves left with an unfinished or unusable project, and even the theoretical basis of the class, which may get pushed to the side in order to complete a client-based project on time. This working group will address an array of issues that often arise in class projects and relationships with community partners. To do this, we want to avoid getting stuck in the cycle of individual project “show and tell” and instead will push participants to think about larger questions, including:
- How to initially find community partners and create those relationships, how to maintain those partnerships in a healthy way, and what to do when problems arise.
- What is and should be the purpose of projects and partnerships like this? Is the focus bringing hands-on experience and practice to students? Is it fulfilling a professional, usable end-product for a client? Is it based more broadly on the idea of civic engagement and offering a service to our communities?
- What are community partners looking for in these relationships? Are they worthwhile to the organization? From their viewpoint, what needs to be done to promote better relationships and communication streams? These partners are often left “on the edge” or the periphery of project formation and completion, so it is important to bring them to the center of this discussion.
We want to think broadly about all of these questions, promote discussion, and offer some tentative answers in order to establish a set of best practices that will help academic programs and cultural institutions move forward in creating these relationships in a more mutually beneficial way.
We welcome and encourage participation from (1) public history professors who already engage with community partners or who are considering reaching out to the community and establishing partnerships, (2) individuals and organizations who have been involved in these relationships as the community partner or those who are interested in beginning one of these relationships, and (3) students who have completed class/individual projects and internships and who can discuss their readiness to undertake the project, the process itself, and the benefit (if any) it brought.
7. Religion, Historic Sites, and Museums
Facilitators: Melissa Bingmann, West Virginia University and Barbara Franco, Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum
Presenting the history of religion in a historical context is an important means of making historic sites and museums relevant and for facilitating discussion of issues of social justice. At a time when academic historians are focusing research on the history of religion and Americans express high interest in religious subjects, museums remain reluctant to talk about the larger roles of religion in American society and tend to avoid complex or difficult topics that are perceived as too hard to convey to public audiences. Historic communities of by-gone religions, like the Shakers and Harmonists, have only recently begun to include religious beliefs and tenets in their interpretations. These and others like the Mennonites and Moravians have preserved sites that have meaning to their religion but often focus on furnishings, the daily experience of communal living, and connections to the broader narratives of American history, especially when they expect outsiders to visit these sites. Other religions, like the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic Church, create historical narratives intended for believers. In the case of the LDS, the preservation and interpretation of sites is specifically for the purpose of building faith among its membership. In many cases, historians of religion, especially those in the public sector, are working on the edges of proprietary knowledge. A key aspect of this working group will be to bring together public historians working in museums and historic sites, historians dedicated to specific religious institutions/faiths, scholars of the history of religion, and public historians looking at memory and religion to address these disconnects and challenges. We seek case statements that will introduce the following:
- Why is it challenging for museums to discuss issues of faith and spirituality with general audiences?
- How can we convey the energy and excitement of the recent boom in scholarly interest in religious history to general audiences?
- How can public audiences benefit by learning about and discussing religion and faith?
- How have various religions been portrayed historically and how have these shaped popular memory?
- How can history created by religious institutions intended for insiders interface with broader narratives placed in historical context?
- The role of artifacts in conveying the history of religion at museums and historic sites.
Our goal is to identify others who are interested in exploring greater inclusion of religion at historic sites and museums with the intent of creating a white paper and submitting a planning grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a larger project that could include a symposium, publication, or traveling museum exhibition.
8. Teaching Public History through International Collaborations
Group Case Statements
Facilitators: Na Li, Chongqing University
In July 2014, the first Public History Faculty Training program in China took place in Shanghai, as a result of partnerships between the Center for Public History at Shanghai Normal University, Princeton University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The program covered many common grounds in both cultures, such as public/social memory, oral history, museums, archives, urban landscapes, historic preservation, social/new media, public participation, curriculum design, and etc. Despite drastically different worldviews, public history issues are quite often similar across cultures. The two-week program also offered opportunities for student and faculty exchanges in an intensely cross-cultural context. Similarly, in 2010, Arizona State University’s Public History Program has been partnering with Sichuan University’s American Studies Program to create exchange programs on teaching public history.
Those recent collaborative efforts on teaching public history face similar challenges. First, language and cultural issues create confusions even breakdowns in communication. Second, different pedagogic philosophy also makes us realize some basic assumptions in our field are not so basic. Sharing authority, for example, does not come easily in classrooms that have long been dominated by one authoritative voice. More important, it is difficult to provide valid intellectual justification for training in public history if the field is attached to a strictly market-driven economy from the start. While it’s yet to be seen if those international collaborations will mature into successful cases for teaching public history, public history remains collaborative by nature, and it continues to push its edge, be it national, cultural, or disciplinary. This working group invites cases about teaching public history through international partnerships. Our discussions, based on the practical experience of such collaborations, will focus on:
- Specific public history projects in a cross-cultural context
- As most public history projects are catalytic, instead of conclusive, what factors could sustain those projects?
- What are the challenges in international collaborations, and how to overcome them?
- How to utilize urban resources to create cross-cultural public history trainings in museums, archives, urban preservations, and etc.?
- How to integrate public history as an area into established History Department?
Discussants will comment on the questions outlined above in their case statements and suggest additional questions. We particularly welcome those who are currently engaged in teaching public history internationally. One possible outcome of this working group is an international collaborative forum on teaching public history.
9. Who speaks for us? Government Historians and the NCPH
The NCPH has, over the years, worked to represent and bring into its fold all types of Public Historians and numerous committees established to respond to the interests of its members, such as the consultants committee, the curriculum and training committee, and the new profession and graduate student committee. Many of these committees were established for the express purpose of providing professionals with similar interests a vehicle for networking, discussion, and advocacy, within NCPH specifically, and more broadly, within the larger historical profession. One group, however, is conspicuously unrepresented: public sector or “government” historians. These historians work in different and somewhat unique environments. Their status as “public employees” also impacts their ability to engage in the same manner as non-government historians, and they are sometimes left on the margins of Public History. While these members represent a sizable percentage of the NCPH membership they currently have no formal voice within the NCPH. Few sessions during annual meetings are dedicated to the specific concerns and unique challenges of working within a government structure. Is it time for a “government historians committee”? This working group, constituted of government historians from the U.S. and Canada, and representing all levels of government, will examine three key questions:
- Are government historians properly represented at the NCPH?
- Do we need a “government historians committee” or “task force”?
- How could a “government historians committee” contribute broadly to the NCPH mission?
To ensure the greatest level of discussion, the conversation amongst the working group is open to government historians beyond the working group itself. The working group will then submit its findings to the NCPH Board for its consideration.
PAST WORKING GROUPS
NCPH Annual Meeting, Monterey, California, March 19-22, 2014
- 1. Beyond Saving: Achieving Sustainability in Historic Preservation
- 2. Consulting Alliances: Obstacles and Opportunities
- 3. Innovative Reuse in the Post-Industrial City
- 4. GenNext: Are Public History Programs Sustainable?
- 5. Public History in China
- 6. Sustaining Digital Public History: Workflows for the Future
- 7. Toward a History of Civic Engagement and the Progressive Impulse in Public History
1. Beyond Saving: Achieving Sustainability in Historic Preservation
Facilitators: Steven Burg, Shippensburg University
Kim Campbell, University of South Carolina
Megan Southern, University of South Carolina
Daniel Vivian, University of Louisville
This working group is designed as a forum where public history educators and historic preservation practitioners can join together to examine the concept of sustainability as applied to historic preservation. In the months before the NCPH annual meeting, group members will participate in a blog where they can share their own experiences, consider the existing literature on sustainable preservation, post interactive content (pictures, videos, and hyperlinks), and examine critical case studies demonstrating examples of sustainable historic preservation. The group will then come together to discuss these issues, and to lay the groundwork for an article examining how public historians and preservationists can achieve greater success in achieving sustainability in their historic preservation work.
2. Consulting Alliances: Obstacles and Opportunities
Group Introduction and Case Statements
Facilitators: Michael Adamson, Adamson Historical Consulting
Heather Lee Miller, Historical Research Associates
Taking our cue from management gurus Peter Drucker and Tom Peters, we hypothesize that consulting historians, particularly those working as sole proprietors or within small firms, may be missing opportunities to work within a film production model, whereby historians with skills particular to the project come together for that project, and then reassemble for other “productions.” To begin, participants will discuss their experiences in working with either other individuals or firms, or as firms retaining outside historians on a project basis. The working group will then ascertain why consulting historians form alliances less often than they might.
3. Innovative Reuse in the Post-Industrial City
Group Blog and Case Statements
Facilitators: William Ippen, Loyola University Chicago
Devin Hunter, Loyola University Chicago
Our group will address the complex issues facing the preservation of decaying industrial buildings and infrastructure that once defined Western urbanity. Participants’ temporally and regionally diverse cases address a wide range of issues unique to this type of preservation with an emphasis on the intersection between sustainability, preservation, and public history. The working group’s major themes include the following: a) the post-industrial urban context: empty factories or warehouses due to decentralization, deteriorating inner city infrastructures, and neglected built environment due to population and tax revenue loss; b) the importance of environmental impact in dealing with these resources; c) the relative sustainability of adaptive reuse versus new green construction; d) tensions between historic preservation and LEED; e) community dynamics: social inclusion, economic development, addressing underserved population, or contested historical memory; f) issues about reuse during an economic downturn; and, g) importance (or over-emphasis) of National Register of Historic Places listing.
This working group asks the question: How can we ensure the sustainability of graduate education in public history? After two decades of incredible growth, public history has become a part of many history graduate programs. History departments in the US, however reluctantly, offer public history either as an undergraduate track, a handful of graduate courses, or a program. The field has gotten an additional boost from calls within the discipline to train graduate students broadly and prepare them for jobs outside the academy. While public history is still not offered in every department, the ranks of public historians in the academy has grown, as has the number of trained professionals.
However, these programs and the people they train face tremendous challenges as the economic recovery lags, sequestration squeezes both federal and state budgets, and universities adopt more capitalist approaches to education that emphasize efficiency and profitability. Many program directors have worried about the increasing cost of education and a shrinking job market for graduates. Many of us have seen a growing reluctance among students to pay for graduate degrees that don’t “pay off,” and some of us have seen enrollments decline even as we face pressure from departments and deans to increase numbers.
While every program faces its own unique circumstances, we plan to ask the broad question about sustainability, see if it resonates, and propose some strategies for defining and studying the issues related to the future of public history graduate education. That may include thinking about the call for accreditation of programs.
On May 23 and 24, 2013, a nation-wide seminar on public history took place at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Chongqing University, China. First of its kind, the seminar brought together 13 scholars engaged in public history theory or practice in China. The discussion focused on the theory and concept of public history, practices of public history in China, and on how to establish public history programs in China. This working group extends those conversations.
Three issues are integral to our discussions: 1) Is public history possible in China? Experience has demonstrated a legitimate public space for citizen dialogues, for authority sharing, but how to take advantage of this active and thinking space remains to be explored further. 2) What kind of curriculum will fit in a Chinese context? Participants are encouraged to bring in primary experience of teaching public history related courses in China, as well as suggestions for pedagogy. Initial thoughts include: how to utilize campus resources to encourage students to take courses from different departments based on the specific tracks they choose; how to integrate local historical study and experience in the core curriculum; how to design skill-oriented classes; and how to educate the educators. 3) How to integrate historic preservation practicum into public history programs? Discussions will situate the above general inquiry in a specific context. We will explore issues in the following aspects: a) what kind of history is interpreted and preserved in the public landscape? b) how to use oral history to document and analyze collective memory that is made public? c) how public history can make preservation sustainable for the future?
6. Sustaining Digital Public History: Workflows for the Future
Group Blog and Case Statements
Facilitators: Sharon Leon, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, GMU
Paolo Baglioni, European University Institute
In 2000, the U.S. Congress set aside funding to establish the National Digital Information and Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) through the Library of Congress. In the subsequent years, the Library and its partner stakeholders have done an admirable job of directing the attention of the cultural heritage community to the dire need for planning and execution of digital preservation strategies. The two reports from 2003 and 2011, both entitled “Preserving out Digital Heritage,” offer a baseline for significant forward progress on digital preservation, but far too little of this work has filtered into the everyday practice of public historians. As the public history community creates more and more digital assets, we need to take a proactive approach to digital preservation and sustainability.
In preparation for our face-to-face session at the NCPH meeting, the facilitators and participants will spend several months in asynchronous conversation through a blog. Each week, we will raise a targeted question and gather existing case studies and resources to share with the public history community. At the outset we will target several key aspects of digital preservation work, including: a.) the range of institutional repository options, both free-standing and hosted; b.) digital preservation standards for a range of media types and the ways they might be incorporated into existing public history workflows; c.) methods for creating standards-based interoperable digital public history websites that more easily lend themselves to upgrade and preservation. Then, the discussion will turn to the roadblocks that participants most commonly face in their own efforts to build, sustain, and preserve digital history work.
7. Toward a History of Civic Engagement and the Progressive Impulse in Public History
Working Group Introduction and Introductory Blog Post
Facilitators: Denise Meringolo, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Daniel Kerr, American University
Today, public historians promote the ideal of “civic engagement.” We practice public history as a form of public service and even political activism. We aim to produce historical interpretations with immediacy and value for our stake holders and audiences. Yet, we have done little to historicize the progressive impulse that has led some to gather, protect, commemorate, and interpret the past NOT to stem the tide of social change, but to advance it. This Working Group will address that gap in the historiography of our field and broaden our understanding of what it means to do public history. We seek both historical examples and contemporary case studies that can shed new light on history-related activities intended to foster social justice and inclusivity.
By identifying, historicizing, and analyzing the progressive impulse in public history, the Working Group will open up a new conversation about the beginnings of our field. Our work will draw needed attention to the limitations, and potential of contemporary public history practice. Most historiographies have set public history’s roots in 19th century historic preservation movements, Civil War battlefield commemoration, and the local history movement. A variety of scholars have argued that these practices infused public history with a conservative agenda, to protect America from the forces of dramatic social change. Less well studied has been the history and influence of progressive impulses underpinning public history as it is practiced today.
In addition to examining this alternative past, we are interested in documenting current public history projects that work to facilitate movement building and social transformation. Progressive public historians believe in the potential of historical inquiry to provoke public reflection and promote social justice, but they struggle against the constraints of institutionalization. How can public historians address those constraints and more effectively use historical reflection to foster change while broadening our efforts to work in and with diverse and marginalized communities?
- 1. The Challenge of Interpreting Climate Change at Historic Sites with a Conflicted Audience
- 2. Exhibiting Local Enterprise: Developing Online Exhibits
- 3. Teaching Public History
- 4. Public Historians and the Local Food Movement
- 5. Teaching Digital History and New Media
- 6. Best Practices for Establishing a Public History Program
1. The Challenge of Interpreting Climate Change at Historic Sites with a Conflicted Audience
Facilitators: Chuck Arning, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
Mauro Agnoletti, Universita di Firenze
The landscape of interpreting climate change is a tricky terrain, for it is fraught with inaccuracies, misinformation, and the belief that the scientific community is divided on the issue. While the truth of the matter is that 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and that it is caused primarily by human activity, the interpreter often faces a conflicted audience at historic sites. The goal of this working group Discussion is to explore how the interpretation of climate change at historic sites could be undertaken from the perspective that the climate is changing, what strategies are in place or could be developed to deal with its impact and what approaches would work best in explaining it to a sometimes doubting public.
This is a global problem. Parks Canada is currently confronting its impact at several sites throughout its system. The 18th century Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site of Canada in Churchill, Manitoba, is succumbing to “the relentless progress of climate change” (to quote a Parks Canada website). Climate change is melting the permafrost underneath significant Canadian sites such as the Dawson Historical District in the Yukon and the York Factory along the Hayes River in Northern Manitoba. Scotland also has a significant problem and has actually formed a group, Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion to deal with the critical issues they face: 30% of the Scottish coastline has been surveyed revealing 11,500 archaeological sites of which 3,500 are at risk due to fierce erosion. In the U.S., the National Park Service sees a serious threat to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America established over 400 years ago, by the end of the century. The interpreter needs to bring this story of global change and its impact on park resources into historic site interpretation.
2. Exhibiting Local Enterprise: Developing Online Exhibits
Group Blog/Case Statements
Facilitators: Celia James, University of South Carolina
Anjuli Grantham, Baranov Museum
Claire White, Nantucket Historical Association
Allison Marsh, University of South Carolina
How do you reach audiences at your small museum or local historical institution? How can the digital world help you do so? What is involved in the process of creating online exhibits? How do institutions with limited staff and little or no technical support tackle such a project? This working group will consider these questions by using, evaluating, and refining “Exhibiting Local Enterprise” (ELE), a series of learning tools designed to help history institutions create online exhibits to showcase their local business history. ELE leads participants through the process of guided inquiry. The theme of the conference, the significance of audiences, is at the core of the discussion, as ELE must respond to several distinct audiences: the staff and volunteers at history institutions who are struggling to establish a digital presence, the local audiences of history institutions, and the global one established via the internet. The learning modules increase institutions capacity to make informed decisions, create quality on-line exhibitions and to share local business history to different audiences through the digital realm.
We are seeking professionals at history institutions who are interested in exhibiting local business history online but do not have the knowledge or technical skills to do so, as well as professionals at small museums and historical societies who are in the process of doing so or perhaps have recently created such a digital project. Discussants will analyze the particulars of how ELE addresses these concerns and how well it guides institutional staff through the process. ELE was created to fulfill a mission to “learn in public” by documenting the experience of graduate students during the creation of a digital business history exhibit of cotton mills in Columbia, South Carolina and then using that experience to educate professionals at small history institutions. ELE is a product of the University of South Carolina’s Public History Program, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the Baranov Museum in Kodiak, Alaska, and the Nantucket Historical Association. The online exhibits created for this project are expected to bring local voices to the Smithsonian’s national exhibition American Enterprise, scheduled to open in 2015.
Long practiced in North America and Australia, public history teaching is a much more recent development in Europe (except in Britain), Asia, or South America. In relation to the newly created International Federation for Public History, the working group proposes to discuss the specificity of public history teaching and its development worldwide. Initially devoted to Europe, the working group also seeks participants from other parts of the world.
Three main categories of questions are to be discussed: First, we need to concentrate on the ways public/applied history is taught in different universities. To what extent is public history similarly taught in Europe, North America, Asia, or Australia? What are the curricula and how are they applied? How can theory and practice be associated in undergraduate and graduate
programs? Are textbooks useful in teaching Public History? The second major interrogation relates to the links between public history teaching and projects outside the university. Collaboration with external institutions allows for internships and organization of public history projects (exhibitions, websites, tourism-oriented activities, etc.) in which students of the programs gain experience. This is why it is necessary to discuss the background of the faculty in charge of public history teaching. Who can teach public history? Is experience in public history projects sufficient? The task is particularly difficult in countries where public history is not a wide-spread discipline (e.g. France, Italy). Finally, the working group examines career expectations and job markets for students graduating from programs in public history. The participants will debate the changing needs for public historians in different parts of the world. Participants may examine the different positions graduate students can apply to, and to what extent public history teaching can adapt to accordingly. In order to do so, the working group is also looking for graduate students who could contribute to the discussion with their own experiences.
4. Public Historians and the Local Food Movement
Group Blog and Case Statements
Facilitators: Cathy Stanton, Tufts University
Michelle Moon, Peabody Essex Museum
Current food-reform efforts around the world are working rebuild local and regional food systems that existed in most places until fully industrialized and commoditized agriculture became dominant after World War II, making the kinds of places and knowledge associated with older food and farming systems potentially invaluable as real-life resources for rediscovery and reinvention. Yet for a variety of reasons, public historians have been slow to create strong partnerships with those actively producing and marketing food on local and regional scales. This disjunction has meant that public history sites have tended to reinforce the long-standing aura of “pastness” that has developed around small-scale agriculture over the past two centuries in places where industrialized farming has become the norm, rather than becoming linked to lively civic debates about real-life food supply. The local-food movement, meanwhile, has often assumed an over-simple story about the rise of “big ag” which overlooks the much more nuanced realities that have contributed to the development of our industrialized food system over the past century and a half. This Working Group is based on the premise that the methods and critical insights of public historians are crucial in uncovering and communicating those more nuanced histories, and that doing so is an outstanding way to link our own methods and values with vital public dialogue about a wide range of environmental and economic issues.
The facilitators are working to identify and connect with an Ottawa venue that links historic preservation with contemporary small-scale food production so that the session can combine a tour with the Working Group discussion. We will recruit widely among public historians with an interest in food-related topics, and will build on existing professional conversations within the U.S. National Park Service and elsewhere, working toward an edited collection of papers and case studies. We hope that both the edited volume and this conference session will include a
historical and theoretical framework for thinking about the public history/food movement nexus plus a set of examples that illustrate the exciting potential of these partnerships for civic dialogue and action.
5. Teaching Digital History and New Media Working Group
Facilitators: Steven Burg, Shippensburg State University
Sharon Leon, George Mason University
Jon Berndt Olsen, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Do you currently teach a course on digital history? Have you been thinking about integrating digital history methods into your public history course or program? Have you been wondering how digital history can enhance the teaching and practice of public history? This working group will provide public history educators, graduate students, and those interested in digital history with a forum for discussing the most effective approaches for teaching future public history practitioners about digital history and new media. We see this working group as an opportunity to compare notes, to share practical tips, and to delve into the question of how digital technologies and new media are reshaping the relationship of public historians to sources and audiences.
Growing numbers of public history graduate programs have introduced digital history into their curricula, either by integrating digital history into existing courses, or by introducing entirely new courses dedicated to digital history or new media theory and practice. It is likely that digital history will continue to grow as a part of public history graduate programs, and that it will also move into the undergraduate curriculum. The working group will seek to explore at least three core questions: (1) What are the goals of educators in training their public history students in digital history? How do differing goals shape the way digital history will be approached? (2) What should be taught? Are there specific knowledge, technological skills, theory, or perspectives that should be considered essential to a public historian’s training in digital history? And, (3) what approaches have educators found to be the most effective for teaching digital history to their students? Are there specific projects, assignments, or approaches that have been particularly effective in helping students to gain competence or expertise in digital history methods?
This lively session should provide participants with practical ideas and insights that they can apply to their own teaching and public history work.
6. Best Practices for Establishing a Public History Program
Blog post and case statements
Facilitators: Larry Cebula, Eastern Washington State University
Denise Meringolo, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Jon E. Taylor, University of Central Missouri
The current expansion of public history programs at North American universities is well-documented. Public history has become a “hot field” in academic hiring, but do these departments that are new to the field know what they are doing? Are they prepared to support the special requirements of housing and supporting a public history program? Are they providing relevant and realistic training for students?
Lara Kelland and Anne Parsons, public historians studying at University of Illinois at Chicago, recently shared their thoughts about the explosion of academic positions in public history on the NCPH blog, History@Work. Their article, “Help wanted: Thoughts on the Recent Boom in Academic Public History Jobs,” can be found at: http://bit.ly/PKXVUE The blog post spurred a debate about the need to create best practices guidelines to help department chairs and university administrators think more critically about the establishment of public history programs. The working group will create a draft document (to be submitted to the NCPH Curriculum & Training Committee) after considering the following questions:
● What departmental and institutional conditions are ideal for supporting public history?
● What are appropriate and necessary justifications for the creation of new programs? (Student demand? Market demand? Visibility?)
● What kinds of resources are necessary for the establishment and development of public history programs?
● How should departments prepare to address issues of faculty workload?
● What mechanisms should departments and institutions put in place to facilitate the formation and nurturing of partnerships with various public institutions?
● Are there trends in higher education that can be beneficial to fledgling public history programs?
● What kind of student support must departments put in place for graduates of their public history programs?
Discussants selected for the working group will comment on the questions outlined above in their case statements and suggest additional questions. The facilitators and discussants will then revise the list of questions and use them to survey public history programs in their region. The working group will also use the NCPH educators’ listserv to gather information and encourage participation and will use a blog to keep members informed about the progress of the working group up until the point it meets in Ottawa.
- A Fresh Look at Measures of Success in Public History Work
- Biography and Museums
- Civil War Sesquicentennial
- Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Imagining the Future of Public Interfaces to Cultural Heritage Collections
- How Much Is a Piece of the “True Road” Worth? Evaluating Historic Roadway and Preservation Values
- Imagined Places, Actual Spaces: Physical Manifestations of Romanticized Pasts
- Imagining New Careers in History
- Public History and Sustainability
- Public History Online: Using the Web to Collaborate and Share
- Reconstructing the New Deal: Towards a National Inventory of New Deal Art and Public Works
- What It’s Worth: Valuing and Pricing the Work of Historical Consultants
1. A Fresh Look at Measures of Success in Public History Work
Alex Bethke, Naval Facilities Engineering Command; email@example.com
Dwight Pitcaithley, New Mexico State University; firstname.lastname@example.org
David Rotenstein, Historian for Hire; email@example.com
Darlene Roth, Consulting Historian; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jannelle Warren-Findley, Arizona State University; email@example.com
When the public history movement was founded, more than thirty years ago, little thought was given to how public history work would be judged, except to encourage the standards of scholarship that underlie the entire profession. It was enough, during that generation, to get the work going. Now we have more than a generation of public history practice, degree programs, and decades of experience in heritage tourism, cultural resource management, historic preservation, archives, museums, and public interpretation in historic sites and environments. Historical scholarship is always an element of the work, but not always the dominant element. A recent NCPH white paper, Tenure, Promotion and the Publicly Engaged Academic Historian illustrates again what has been an on-going problem: how is work to be properly evaluated that does not occur within academic purview? There is a missing element in these discussions that could be addressed directly that might add substance to future deliberations concerning the work of public historians and academic historians engaged in public history. Simply put it’s this: just what constitutes success in public history? It is time to develop a new success model for public historians based on service and scholarship, with marks and measures that can be readily discerned by history professionals anywhere. We need guidelines to evaluate work where scholarship may be the beginning rather than the end of a project and where publication may be a by-product or only one of many products of a large, inter-disciplinary undertaking. This proposed session intends to tackle the set of issues head on and to create a set of criteria upon which a new success model might be based. The five participants in this session propose a working session. Together, we have more than one hundred years of work in public history. The panel includes one pioneering public historian (and a founder of NCPH), two veteran historians with both academic and public history service, and two younger professionals who are already breaking new ground in their work. The facilitators will devise a set of questions that all participants will answer. We will undertake a period of discovery, share our findings, report to the audience what we have determined, hold an open discussion, and hopefully, we will project our findings for more discussion and dissemination. We hope this activity will provide a fruitful beginning point for this new success model. It is our intention to be of service to the profession of history, not to dictate its choices, but to contribute to the understanding of how the profession moves through the public marketplace, where it leaves its marks, and how we might acknowledge what those marks are as contributions to the field in general.
How can museums use biography in more effective and compelling ways? History museums have employed biography as an interpretive strategy for decades. But how can we improve and even rethink these approaches using new media, new approaches to objects, and even performance? What can historians and curators learn from each other to push the methodological, technological and interpretive boundaries of biography?
This working group is being convened by curators from the National Museum of American History to start a conversation about how we create and deploy biography in the 21st century museum. It will be the first of series of conversations on the topic and part of a larger initiative at the Smithsonian Institution to examine innovative approaches to biography. The group seeks ten to fifteen participants who may have projects in process or recently completed.
3. Civil War Sesquicentennial
Facilitators: *Case Statements*
Bob Beatty, American Association for State and Local History; firstname.lastname@example.org
W. Eric Emerson, South Carolina Department of Archives and History; email@example.com
Dwight Pitcaithley, New Mexico State University; firstname.lastname@example.org
The years from now until 2015—the Civil War Sesquicentennial—present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a broadly focused national effort to educate Americans as well as foreign visitors about one of this nation’s most traumatic and transformative events. With thoughtful preparation, America’s community of academic and public historians can provide an inclusive set of educational activities at museums and historical societies, historic sites, libraries, colleges and universities, in our nation’s classrooms, in print, and on television, radio, and the Internet. Against this backdrop, the American Association for State and Local History worked closely with public historians and practitioners to develop a list of four recommendations for the Sesquicentennial and identify implementation strategies and best practices:
1. Activities should emphasize 150 years of history, and not solely the 150th anniversary of hostilities.
2. Local museums and historical organizations should make themselves available as centers for open discourse about the war and its legacy.
3. The field should make stronger efforts to provide evidence about the causes and effects of the Civil War by sharing primary sources with the public.
4. It is important to respect, hear, and engage all groups.
In addition, AASLH has actively worked to engage key stakeholders at the national level and regularly convened state sesquicentennial commissions to ensure a robust commemoration that is both historically and intellectually honest and one that does not repeat the mistakes of the War’s centennial celebration.
This working group will explore how public historians and history organizations have commemorated (or plan to commemorate) the Civil War Sesquicentennial in light of these principles and recommend a process for archiving the nation’s and historical community’s commemoration of CW150. Sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History.
4. Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Imagining the Future of Public Interfaces to Cultural Heritage Collections
Facilitators: *Group’s Website*
Trevor Owens, Library of Congress, email@example.com
Steve Lubar , John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Leon, Center for History and New Media, email@example.com
Digital cultural heritage collections include temporal, locative, and categorical information which is increasingly being tapped to build dynamic interfaces to these materials. These kinds of dynamic interfaces are increasingly what end users expect of their interactions with online content. There are now several software platforms, including SIMILE’s Exhibit, the Center for History and New Media’s Omeka, OCLC’s Content DM, as well as a range of commercial museum, library, and archive systems.
These kinds of tools are generating an unprecedented opportunity for historians, librarians, archivists, curators and the general public to create interactive and dynamic web experiences with digital cultural heritage collections.
Participants in this working group will discuss current projects in this space and also work to imagine the future of these kinds of interfaces.
The call for participation should be broadly interpreted but the following kinds of proposals are specifically encouraged,
•Discussions of the possibilities of visualization platforms for cultural heritage collections
•Worked examples of implementations of interfaces to digital cultural heritage collections
•Proposed models for new interfaces based on work in other fields
•Reports on software currently being developed to meet these needs
•Critical analysis of specific implementations of online interfaces to digital collections
•Ruminations on how these kinds of interfaces change and alter the process of historical storytelling
•Analyses by users of cultural heritage data of their interactions with existing interfaces
5. How Much Is a Piece of the “True Road” Worth? Evaluating Historic Roadway and Preservation Values
Hugh Davidson, Maricopa Co. (AZ) Department of Transportation; firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina Slattery, Historic Preservation Lead, Mead & Hunt, email@example.com
In his classic exposition on material culture history Brooke Hindle deployed the storied ‘True Cross’ as an antiquary relic to considerable advantage. Time revealed that such medieval relics lacked authenticity, but purported crucifixion fragments captured people’s imagination as embodying cultural significance for considerable time. In this working group forum we ponder whether cultural resource specialist’s and preservationist’s attempts to grapple with remnant modern roadway—running the gamut from old postal roads up to Interstate highways—doesn’t invest inordinate meaning to older transportation facilities. Recent analysis of highway history in the West and Midwest will inform our discussion, but we seek out other participants from across the country. From macadamized roads, to two-lane blacktop, and up to expansive parkways and divided freeways, we assign significance to roadway sites arguing they embody once notable achievement and cultural attributes worthy of preservation. Across the nation public historians, cultural resource managers and preservationist’s repeatedly attach significance to these structures; however, how often are we yielding to a nostalgic impulse toward automobile culture, which undoubtedly merits s consideration as popular culture, but rarely translates into well interpreted appreciation of American automobility? Should our desire to recognize twentieth century automobility receive its own catalog of worthy historical artifacts? Undoubtedly. The focus of this working group is to discuss boundaries; namely, just how far should we cast our net to include authentic remnant roadway structures. Just how much is the true road worth in terms of promoting preservation values and public interpretation?
6. Imagined Places, Actual Spaces: Physical Manifestations of Romanticized Pasts
Facilitators: *Case Statements*
Sarah McCormick, University of California, Riverside; firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily McEwen, University of California, Riverside; email@example.com
Chelsea Vaughn, University of California, Riverside; firstname.lastname@example.org
This working group will explore romanticized understandings of local history as they appear in such public historic stand-bys as architectural recreations, public commemorations, monuments, festivals, and performances. From costumed celebrations and theatrical living history demonstrations to artifact collecting, museum exhibitions, and interpretation at tourist hot spots, the tangible manifestations of historical pageantry and performance are central to the field of public history. Through this working group we hope to explore new ways to examine the impact of these romanticized understandings on local historical sites, focusing specifically on the power of performance in constructing ethnicity, gender, regional, and national identity, the transformative effects of costuming and the creation of “otherness,” the notion of collecting and display as performance, and the overall driving force of consumerism at many historic sites. While the work of the panel organizers centers upon the Western United States, and Southern California in particular, we welcome and encourage submissions from other regions in order to expand the discussion. We want to think broadly about the historical and contemporary effects of the romanticization of history, its continued (and shifting) hold on the public’s imagination, and think about how scholarship on these topics might be reconsidered in the future.
7. Imagining New Careers in History Case Statements will be available at http://publichistorycareers.wordpress.com.
Seth Bruggeman, Temple University; email@example.com
William Walker, State University of New York-Oneonta; firstname.lastname@example.org
This working group will bring together students, history faculty, and innovative historical entrepreneurs for a brainstorming session to imagine new careers in history. Mindful of the conference theme—“frontiers of capitalism and democracy”—working group participants will embrace a spirit of entrepreneurship and exploration as they engage in conversation about the future of the historical profession. Seeing the large pool of talented young individuals with training in history as an opportunity rather than a crisis, this working group is a chance for creative thinkers to develop new ideas and incubate developing ones. It is also a place for successful historical entrepreneurs to share their secrets. Building on discussions at previous NCPH conferences that have connected academic historians with museum professionals, consultants, and historians in for-profit industries, this working group will offer a productive environment for sharing off-the-wall ideas that just might transform how history is practiced both inside and outside the academy. The working group’s organizers will solicit case statements from participants that analyze existing historical ventures—both non-profit and for-profit—and suggest new possibilities. The emphasis will be on creativity and innovation. Participants in the working group, especially students, will be encouraged to build collaborations with one another that continue beyond the conference meeting.
8. Public History and Sustainability
Facilitator: *Case Statements*
Alex Bethke, Naval Facilities Engineering Command; email@example.com
Priya Chhaya, National Trust for Historic Preservation; firstname.lastname@example.org
Leah Glaser, Central Connecticut State University; email@example.com
Sustainability is arguably one of today’s “Frontiers of Capitalism and Democracy,” offering new areas of entrepreneurship and job creation while asking for democratic investment in our lives and planet. Hoe should public historians address this trend? This working group will continue and expand a conversation from the 2010 NCPH/ASEH conference in Portland entitled, “Recycling Buildings? Reframing Historic Preservation in the Language of Sustainability.” A follow-up panel was organized at the 2011 ASEH conference in Phoenix, entitled “Public History and Sustainability,” where the theme also focused on “Sustainability.” THIS working group will open with some of the issues discussed at the ASEH conference, how ASEH is pursuing its role in the sustainability movement, as well as ideas about how NCPH can partner with groups like ASEH and/or OAH on this issue and bring our own voices to the table. We hope that this working groups can come to some consensus on how we as historians define sustainability. Participants will share ways a historical sensibility, methods, research, and projects can support sustainability, balance sustainability with historical interpretation and preservation, encourage responsible growth planning strategies, educate on climate change, and train a workforce for a newer “green economy.” This working group seeks participants from the ASEH/NCPH 2010 preservation-focused group to build upon our discussion. We’ll also seek case statements that expand the definition of sustainability beyond preservation to examine historical topics, public history projects, interpretative programs, tourist attractions, activities and/or strategies that have or can influence local and national economic and environmental conversations and policy. How do historians and especially public historians define sustainability and our role on this “frontier” to influence public philosophy and policy? How do historians and preservationists become key partners for planners and policy makers? How do we change or training of future preservationists and recruit new preservation disciples?
9. Public History Online: Using the Web to Collaborate and Share
Facilitators: *Case Statements* *Group’s Website*
Jordan Grant, American University; firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Tchakirides, American University; email@example.com
With the help of the web, our cultural institutions have grown adept at “getting the word out.” Institutional and exhibition websites, blogs, and social media campaigns have given the public new ways to access our collections and expertise. Despite these welcome changes, in too many instances, old hierarchies and one-way information streams have endured. Even with “Web 2.0″ innovations, true dialogue and collaboration has proven elusive. This working group will discuss how we can build more democratic and sustainable cultural institutions using digital technology and the web.
- How do we create spaces where visitors can freely share their knowledge, their objects, and their opinions?
- How do we create opportunities for the public to work collaboratively with traditional experts?
- If we can create these spaces and opportunities, how do we convince the public to invest their time and energy with us, and not someone else?
As the questions above suggest, this working group welcomes a wide range of participants and projects. Participants should prepare case studies that describe attempts to foster real sharing and collaboration in a digital environment. We hope group members will be candid about both their successes and their failures. Case studies should consider both the technical and the institutional challenges that these digital projects present. We hope this session will be an opportunity for learning and discussion, and that it will spark larger conversations about how we can pursue public history in more meaningful ways online.
10. Reconstructing the New Deal: Towards a National Inventory of New Deal Art and Public Works
Facilitators: *Case Statements*
Eileen Eagan, University of Southern Maine; firstname.lastname@example.org
Gray Brechin, University of California at Berkeley; email@example.com
Sean Lent, Independent Scholar; firstname.lastname@example.org
This working group centers on interdisciplinary efforts to locate, collect, and bring to light the federally sponsored art and public works of the New Deal. We also plan to relate discussion of New Deal projects to recent controversies such as that over the labor history mural in Maine. This is public history in terms of locating and interpreting public sources and also doing so in relation to public policy. It also represents cultural democracy on the edge of capitalism, and its crash. This revival and renewal of New Deal history seems especially essential in light of recent debates over the impact of New Deal policy and efforts to forget or distort the legacy of those policies. A group at the University of California at Berkeley has developed the California Living New Deal project to map New Deal projects in California. Groups elsewhere, including Maine, have engaged students in similar projects in those areas. A new project could expand these efforts into a national inventory. This working group will bring together faculty and students involved in these efforts. We invite others from around the country to join us in this discussion and planning to pursue this project. Eileen Eagan and Sean Lent will discuss and present results from the activity in Maine. Gray Brechin, from the Geography department at UC Berkeley will discuss his experiences and plans based on the California project. He will also assert the urgent need for a national inventory of New Deal public works. Discussion by the people attending the working group will follow short presentations by Brechin, Eagan and Lent. This working group will take place at the Milwaukee Public Museum, a short two block walk from the Frontier Airlines Center.
11. What It’s Worth: Valuing and Pricing the Work of Historical Consultants
Facilitators: *Case Statements*
Emily Greenwald, Historical Research Associates, Inc.; email@example.com
Kathy Shinnick, Consulting Historian; firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the value of history? History consultants often notice that pricing and selling our services can be challenging and sometimes uncomfortable. In graduate school, we learned how to dig in the archives and write great narratives, not to market ourselves and make a profit.
This working group will assess the value of history on two levels. First, how can history consultants appropriately price services? Topics could include assessing the markets we work in, finding peer pricing data, determining a client’s price point, and weighing fixed price contracts against time and materials projects. Second, how do we persuade potential clients that our services have value, that history is relevant to their endeavors? In short, how do we sell history? This discussion could include marketing strategies, ideas about where to network, and how to craft an “elevator speech.”
1. The Choices We Make: Public Historians’ Role in the Commemorations of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War
2. Public History and Gentrification: A Contentious Relationship
3. Using “Centers” to Teach Public History and Engage Community Partners
1. The Choices We Make: Public Historians Role in the Commemorations of the Sesquicentennial of the American the Civil War *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Kati Engel, National Park Service, Kati_Singel@nps.gov; William Stoutamire, Arizona State University, William.Stoutamire@asu.edu
Initiated at the 2009 annual meeting, past participants in this working group have called on NCPH to provide opportunities for members to share information and coordinate efforts before and during the commemoration of the Sesquicentennial. As we continue the conversations begun in Providence and Portland, we must explore the responsibility of public historians to offer new insights into familiar topics, identify gaps in the historical record, and encourage new scholarship. The theme, “Civil War to Civil Rights,” adopted by the National Park Service, challenges us to go beyond the battlefield and explore the legacy of this conflict. Following the theme of the conference, working group participants will reflect on how the challenge of intersecting identities in the United States has affected how we are choosing to commemorate this anniversary. Those interested in participating in this working group should submit a one-paragraph overview of what they will bring to the discussion, and hope to take away. Topics that may be explored are changing perceptions, previous commemorations, and the role of memory in history, and others.
2. Public History and Gentrification: A Contentious Relationship *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Andrew Urban, Rutgers University, email@example.com; Jeff Manuel, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, firstname.lastname@example.org; Amy Tyson, DePaul University, email@example.com
This working group will explore the complicated relationship that exists between public history and the urban development process known as gentrification. Gentrification typically refers to the economic and cultural transformation of urban neighborhoods – in the form of new restaurants, shops, attractions, and housing stock – and the marketing of these neighborhoods to middle-class residents seeking cheap housing. Whereas some people view gentrification as saving or reviving neighborhoods that would otherwise be neglected, others view gentrification as a form of hostile takeover or even urban colonialism.
History is at the heart of gentrification. As poorer residents are displaced, the dramatic racial and economic shifts that often accompany gentrification can lead to a neighborhood’s past being bulldozed. Alternatively, new residents are enticed by the opportunity to “buy into history” through the purchase of a dilapidated Victorian-era house or by converting a former factory space into a residential loft. History may be used to brand a neighborhood and mark it with an unspecified heritage that offers consumers a seemingly unique place in a world of increasing global sameness.
Through historic preservation and the creation and operation of historic sites, museums, and walking tours, public historians routinely interact with neighborhoods and communities experiencing gentrification. This working group will address the following questions: how is public history deployed by those seeking to promote gentrification, such as property developers, civic officials, and economic development agencies? What are the consequences of using public history to assist in the transformation of an urban neighborhood? Conversely, how can public history work to oppose or counteract the effects of gentrification? What roles can public historians play in preserving human ties and sites that are threatened as a neighborhood undergoes economic and cultural change? Finally, what role should public historians and the field of public history play in the broader policy debates about gentrification, which involve planners, politicians, community leaders, and realtors? What unique and important perspectives can public historians bring to these debates?
We hope to examine the relationship between public history and gentrification in practical and pedagogical contexts. We invite participants to share specific case studies where public history has come into conflict with gentrification and examples of how the relationship between gentrification and public history has been interpreted and debated in the classroom, through oral history, and in negotiating community partnerships. In the spirit of the 2011 conference theme, the working group will explore community partnerships that cross class and racial lines, as well as examples of universities and museums acting as agents of gentrification.
The working group seeks to include a diverse range of public history scholars representing universities, museums, and community organizations whose case studies may be drawn from existing or planned public history projects, or works in progress. As a practical output, the working group will compile a bibliography and list of projects that address gentrification and public history, which we will make available to the NCPH.
3. Using “Centers” to Teach Public History and Engage Community Partners *Case Statements*
Facilitator: Ann McCleary, University of West Georgia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Lubar, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, email@example.com
In recent years, many public history programs have created some type of institutional structure at their universities to provide experience for their students. This session will examine the roles of such centers in the public history field and their advantages to the public history programs, community partners, and students. In discussing such “centers,” we are focusing on institutionalized “centers,” not class projects or internships designed for short-term, often semester-long training. We propose this session as a working group that would include representatives from all the relevant constituencies, from university faculty and students to the public history partners with whom these “centers” work. The latter could range from local governments to regional museums, archives, and parks to larger government entities such as the state humanities councils and the National Park Service.
Ideally, these “centers” are designed to assist all involved, so how can we create and maintain these laboratories to their best potential? We propose a variety of topics for discussion, but we will be open to those of interest among the working group participants. On the university level, when should a university consider creating such an institutional structure? What types of organizational structures have public history programs created? How are such centers
funded? What types of resources are needed? How does one gain support for a center through the university? Should these centers be collaborative, involving other departments? If so, with whom have programs partnered? What are the challenges and successes at the institutional level in managing these centers and keeping them vital to the university and the mission of the department and the program? How does a program keep a center going? What might be some of the reasons for not creating such an institutional structure?
From the students’ point of view, we plan to recruit graduates, and perhaps current students, who have worked in these environments and could speak to the benefits from their point of view. What have they gained through their experiences? What lessons can they share with us about what we should do, or not do, when creating and managing these centers? When have they learned the most in working at a center, and when have the centers failed to reach their potential?
Last, but equally important, we want to include representatives from partners who have worked with university centers. Who might utilize such a center and why? What are some of the factors that have led to successful partnerships with university centers? What do these partners most need from centers? How can centers more effectively meet the needs of the public history community? What types of projects have partners funded? What are some of advantages and disadvantages when working with a center? We believe that this session would help all of the parties involved by providing opportunities for all the participants to brainstorm and share ideas in this increasingly popular public history endeavor.
2. Employment/Experience Opportunities for Recent Graduates and New Professionals
3. Environmental Sites of Conscience: Exploring Issues to Inspire Visitor Action at Environmental History Sites
4. How Do We Get There? Racial and Ethnic Diversity within the Public History Profession: Continuing the Discussion
5. International Council on Public History? Bringing Global Public History Closer
6. Interns to the Rescue! Public History-University Partnerships in Financial Crisis
7. Jump Start Your Digital Project in Public History: Planning Sessions
8. Preparing the Professional Historian: Connecting Academic Training with the Changing Marketplace
9. Public History for Undergraduates: Teaching, Mentoring, and Program Development
10. Public History’s Outlaws: Engaging the Histories of “Illegal” Behavior
11. Recycling Buildings? Reframing Historic Preservation in the Language of Sustainability and the Green Economy
12. Toward a New Textbook for Undergraduates in Public History
13. Working 9 to 5 While Practicing History
14. Continuing Conversations/Bearing the Standard: Public Historians Role in the Commemorations of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War
15. Structuring the International Discourse of Public History Practice and Scholarship
1. Consultants Working Group *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Matthew Godfrey, Historical Research Associates
Edward Salo, Brockington and Associates, Inc.
This working group brings together practicing full-time historical consultants to discuss how they use their training as historians in their daily work, how their consulting practices operate, what kinds of clients they serve, and how they have adapted to changing conditions, specifically the recent economic downturn, in the consulting marketplace. Questions the group will cover include the following: How do public historians working as consultants enhance the public’s understanding of history? Do client relationships potentially compromise the integrity of “for hire” historical research and analysis? How does working as an independent consultant differ from working in a larger public history consulting firm? Is the study of public history (as a field or a major) important/essential to working as a consulting historian? Should professors and directors of public history programs encourage their students to consider consulting as a potential entry-level employment goal? Is it possible for consultants to pursue their own passions and research interests within a program of work largely dictated by client needs and demands?
2. Employment/Experience Opportunities for Recent Graduates and New Professionals *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Sharon Babaian, Canada Science and Technology Museum
Katie Wilmes, National Archives Experience
This working group will bring together a group of new professionals, recent graduates, and students to share their ideas, needs, and concerns with experienced public historians who, in turn, will talk about what they think new public historians can bring to their institutions or agencies. We see this as a dialogue between new professionals and experienced public historians, each contributing useful information, innovative ideas, and practical solutions to the employment challenges facing us.
3. Environmental Sites of Conscience: Exploring Issues to Inspire Visitor Action at Environmental History Sites *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Erika Gee, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
Morgan M. Smith, NPS John Muir National Historic Site
This working group will bring together staff at historic sites, historians, advocates, and others to explore how sites of environmental history can foster public dialogue on contemporary environmental issues. The Environmental Sites of Conscience Project can address questions of how to ensure that communities who want to preserve their sites and how they can be supported as educational facilities over the long term. The working group would explore how the idea of Sites of Conscience relates to environmental history heritage preservation efforts, defining unique ideas of what Environmental Sites of Conscience could be. Participants will discuss specific strategies for how they currently or could imagine environmental history sites as spaces for addressing the contemporary legacies of what happened there, as well as discuss broader approaches to fostering dialogue on environmental questions and issues. Participants will also define goals and direction for the project, how they might see this group working together, and the role that the Coalition might play. The working group will be the first step for the future project, in which the Coalition’s primary contribution will be to create a space for peer exchange among existing and emerging sites; provide financial and technical assistance for sites interested in designing programs, and to connect with relevant learning and experience in the international network.
4. How Do We Get There? Racial and Ethnic Diversity within the Public History Profession: Continuing the Discussion *Case Statements Not Available*
Facilitators: Calinda Lee, Emory University
Modupe Labode, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
The working group will begin prior to the conference by engaging new participants, as well as participants from the 2009 How Do We Get There? working group, in dialogue via the online classroom set up post-conference by co-chair Modupe Labode. Co-chairs will facilitate an online discussion that enables 2009 participants to share the lessons from ongoing projects, noting best practices and initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity at sites that educate and employ public historians. The working group will also discuss developing a new policy for the NCPH about increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Case statements should focus on diversifying the profession, including successes and failures, as opposed to the demonstrated merits of diversity within the profession. Case statements with an emphasis on environmental history are welcome.
5. International Council on Public History? Bringing Global Public History Closer? *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Anna Adamek, Canada Science and Technology Museum
This working group is part of an initiative by the NCPH International Task Force to provide a forum for a dialogue among public historians worldwide. Over the last three decades public history has been proliferating in North America. The task force would like to explore the state of public history around the world, and opportunities for greater international cooperation in the field. Is there a need for an international organization in public history, for universal standards, and a strong global lobby? How can the NCPH and its journal, The Public Historian, serve the international community? The facilitators invite the participation of public history professionals from around the world; contributors will explore the need for and benefits of formal international cooperation in the field. (Discussants who cannot join us in person in Portland may be able to contribute via a video link.) Each participant will be asked to outline the state of public history in their country, and present examples of the best practices or model institutions from their home countries. Next, discussants will be asked to present their views on bringing public history professionals across the globe together. The working group will then put forward a list of non-binding recommendations for the international task force.
6. Interns to the Rescue! Public History-University Partnerships in Financial Crisis *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Aaron Cowan, Slippery Rock University
Turkiya Lowe, National Park Service
The recent international financial crisis has ravaged the budgets of public history institutions both large and small, as endowment portfolios shrink and legislators sharply curb public funding to balance government budgets. In response, many museums, historical societies, and other history organizations have been forced to eliminate or reduce full-time staff positions, with resulting cuts in the quality and availability of education, preservation, and archival work. In order to maintain viability, some organization’s boards have turned to universities to pick up the slack through the use of student volunteers, interns, and public history faculty members. This working group seeks a dialogue about questions raised by the “rescue” of financially-burdened local history organizations. How should public history faculty approach such opportunities? Should such relationships be established formally, and if so with what terms, conditions, or limitations? What should be the primary focus of such relationships: to provide ongoing day-to-day support, or establishing a firmer foundation by which such organizations can regain independent operation? Is it realistic to ask student interns to perform the work of public history professionals? To what extent do academic historians have a public responsibility to aid institutions in distress, and how might this “rescue” work be reevaluated in terms of institutional performance review?
Participants should be either public history faculty who have some recent experience with this type of partnership as consultants, teachers, or supervisors of interns at financially-distressed institutions or staff of museums, archives, or other local history sites who have pursued such a relationship in response to financial hardship. Others who might have significant and prolonged volunteer experience (for example, as a historical society board member) in such arrangements would also be most welcome.
7. Jump Start Your Digital Project in Public History: Planning Sessions *Case Statements Not Available*
Facilitators: Sheila Brennan, The Center for History and New Media
Sharon Leon, The Center for History and New Media
Tom Scheinfeldt, The Center for History and New Media and George Mason University
How often do your digital project ideas sit untouched and never progress to the planning and implementation stages? Staff from The Center for History and New Media will facilitate this working group to help public historians think about their goals for reaching audiences with digital media. Discussants and facilitators will brainstorm open-source or free tools that can help accomplish those goals. This group will be most useful for those contemplating projects such as an online exhibition, mobile content delivery, audience participation in collecting stories or annotating objects or photographs, digital archives, and others. Pertinent open-source or free tools may include: Drupal, WordPress, Omeka, Flickr, Phone Gap, Open Street Map, or Wikis.
8. Preparing the Professional Historian: Connecting Academic Training with the Changing Marketplace*Case Statements*
Facilitators: Michelle McClellan, University of Michigan
Brian Martin, History Associates, Inc.
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of public history programs, specialized certificates, and courses intended for graduate students, as well as continued turbulence in the various job markets for graduates of history programs. Through a moderated discussion, participants in this working group will explore several interrelated issues central to teaching public history at the graduate level and the employment of historians beyond the academy: the reasons for developing (or not developing) public history coursework and programs for graduate students; how to identify and fill gaps between the skills and experience of academically trained historians and what they need to succeed on the job; how the training offered by graduate programs can be better aligned with the actual requirements of public history positions; and, consider the need for focused continuing education to ensure that professionals can maintain and expand their skill sets in a dynamic labor market.
We anticipate a thoughtful discussion between teachers, employers, and students aimed at bridging gaps between graduate training and market expectations for the benefit of future professionals, academics and employers. The working group will engage in an honest appraisal of the current job market for historians before exploring the questions of when and why it is appropriate to create a public history program for graduate students. Since this is part of what we hope will be an expanded conversation across the profession, we invite educators, practitioners and employers, as well as students and recent graduates to participate in this working group.
Please note: Preparing the Professional Historian is intentionally scheduled for Saturday so that participants can attend one or more of the following NCPH sessions: Career Workshop; The Challenge of Public History: Integrating Training, Practice and Policy (Roundtable); Employment, Experiences, and Opportunities for Recent Graduates and New Professionals (Working Group); Interns to the Rescue (Working Group); Promoting Community Involvement with Service Learning (Roundtable); and/or Working 9 to 5 While Practicing History (Working Group).
9. Public History for Undergraduates: Teaching, Mentoring, and Program Development *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Eleanor Mahoney, National Park Service
Ivan Steen, State University of New York Albany
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of public history programs intended for undergraduates. Discussants will explore several interrelated issues linked to teaching public history at the undergraduate level: how public history courses can enhance undergraduate education, how public history techniques can be profitably incorporated into all undergraduate history classes, how the training offered by undergraduate programs can be better aligned with the actual requirements of public history positions, and the reasons for developing, or not developing, new public history programs.
The working group will begin with an honest appraisal of the current job market for historians before exploring the questions of when and why it is appropriate to create a public history program. Participants are asked to explore the following specific questions: Given the depressed nature of the job market, is it appropriate to create a new public history program? Do faculty members have a responsibility to ensure that students have an honest understanding of the limited job market? How can public history professionals be brought into the conversation to ensure that students do acquire skills which employers require? How can public history programs better prepare students for a career in which they may not be able to work full-time as historians? We ask that those who hire historians participate in this session to assist educators in gaining a better understanding of the skills employers need and public history programs should teach.
Please note: Public History for Undergraduates is intentionally scheduled for Saturday so that participants can attend one or more of the following NCPH sessions: Career Workshop; The Challenge of Public History: Integrating Training, Practice and Policy (Roundtable); Employment, Experiences, and Opportunities for Recent Graduates and New Professionals (Working Group); Interns to the Rescue (Working Group); Promoting Community Involvement with Service Learning (Roundtable); and/or Working 9 to 5 While Practicing History (Working Group).
10. Public History’s Outlaws: Engaging the Histories of “Illegal” Behavior *If you would like to review the case statements for the Public History’s Outlaws working group, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com.*
Facilitators: Andrew Urban, Emory University
Amy Tyson, DePaul University
Terrorism, prostitution, abortion, copyright piracy, pot-smoking, bootlegging, insider trading, sodomy, draft dodging, undocumented immigration, flag burning, murder, violations of the Clean Air Act. What do public historians stand to gain when they take on histories of “illegal” behavior? This working group explores this question by looking at examples of museum exhibits, documentary films, programs, and websites that have successfully or unsuccessfully broached such histories. We are also interested in theoretical approaches that engage why public history should take on the history of “illegal” events or actions that in many cases, people have chosen to avoid, ignore, or forget. Ultimately, we hope to examine how public histories of the “illegal” might provide a critical framework for thinking about how laws are created, disseminated, and naturalized within society. Interested participants should send a one-paragraph abstract describing the specific case-study or theoretical perspective they would like to discuss as part of this working group. We welcome proposals from individuals from a range of professions and career stages.
11. Recycling Buildings? Reframing Historic Preservation in the Language of Sustainability and the Green Economy *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Leah Glaser, Central Connecticut State University
Henry Kunowski, Architectural Historian
We are interested in case statements about historic preservation projects that might help influence or change the perception of historic preservation as non-sustainable, projects that illustrate the technical (embodied energy) and philosophical (historical preservation is sustainability) benefits and obstacles (public/professional perception) involved in rehabilitating and LEED-certifying buildings, buildings that are challenged to make good on their promise of eco-benefits. This issue may also introduce broader public history projects that one may be able to use as models for promoting reinvestment in our existing infrastructure. In addition, we also hope to hear about successful ideas for getting public conversations started and keeping them sustained, perhaps grounded in marketing, lobbying at the local or national level, partnerships between the academy and advocacy groups like the National Trust and the U.S. Green Building Council, etc.
12. Toward a New Textbook for Undergraduates in Public History *Case Statements Not Available*
Facilitators: Rebecca K. Shrum, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater
Cherstin M. Lyon, California State University, San Bernardino
Have you taught the introduction to public history course to undergraduates? Have you found it difficult to find suitable textbooks? What would an ideal textbook for the Introduction to Public History undergraduate course look like? This working group seeks proposals from people who have either content ideas for specific portions of such a textbook or overarching thematic or conceptual frameworks. Ideally this discussion will bring scholars together who might want to take on the challenge of writing this much needed textbook for undergraduates. If this working group decides to move forward with writing such a textbook, the participants would work collaboratively on the project. Additionally, the working group is also interested in considering specific readings that participants have used in the past and found to be successful. Scholars who are authors of existing materials are also invited to participate in this working group
13. Working 9 to 5 While Practicing History *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Scott Hoffman, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS
Lynn Kronzek, Lynn C. Kronzek & Associates, Burbank, CA
This NCPH Working Group will provide a forum for looking critically and thoughtfully at the professional work of historians who practice their craft while working full time in unrelated or tangentially related careers. The recent recession has exacerbated an already challenging public history employment market. This working group will explore prospects and ideas for engaging in serious historical work when doing other, more remunerative employment. Case studies might explore topics such as: employment trends, building a consulting firm from scratch, compensation for historical consulting, strategies for managing professional expenses and supplementary income, publishing, techniques for working outside the 40 (or more) hour workweek, and coping with a dual identity.
14. Continuing Conversations/Bearing the Standard: Public Historians Role in the Commemorations of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Donna Neary, Kentucky Historical Society
Carroll Van West, MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area
This working group focuses on commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War (2011-2015). Initiated at the 2009 annual meeting, participants called on NCPH to provide opportunities for members to share information and coordinate efforts before and during the commemoration of the Sesquicentennial. This working group continues the conversations begun in Providence exploring the responsibility of public historians to offer new insights into familiar topics, identify gaps in the historical record, encourage new scholarship, and explore the public history of previous commemorations of the Civil War. Following the theme of the conference, working group participants will reflect on changing and evolving attitudes about the Civil War since its conclusion, through the present.
Those interested in participating in the Working Group should submit a one-paragraph overview of what they will bring to the discussion, and hope to take away. Topics that may be explored are changing perceptions, previous commemorations, the role of memory in history, the role of empathy in Civil War commemoration, and others.
15. Structuring the International Discourse of Public History Practice and Scholarship *Case Statements*
Facilitators: Rebecca Conard, Middle Tennessee State University
Holger Hoock, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress
Mark Phillips, Carleton University
This group will examine public history as a distinctive mode of practice and scholarship that transcends venues of practice and national borders. Participants will be asked to use case studies to examine theoretical frameworks and methodologies that inform inquiry and analysis, and the relative roles that historian, audience (or end user), collaborators, partners, or governing bodies play in shaping the processes of inquiry and interpretation. In this respect, case studies will focus on the dynamics of historical production rather than end product in order to foreground the purpose-driven nature of public history. The underlying premise is that regardless of venue or location, public historians approach their craft, implicitly or explicitly, by first assessing the purpose for which historical knowledge is needed and then framing a historical problem, or set of historical questions, that respond to that need, and that the intended audience plays a role, actively or passively, in shaping the final product. Thus, to encourage comparably high degrees of introspection and international comparisons, participants will be asked to address the overarching questions of 1. for what purpose is history being engaged or applied? and 2. or whom is history being engaged or applied? A series of related questions flow from these two questions, which we also will ask presenters to address: what authority does the historian exercise in the inquiry process vis-a-vis the agency held by client, collaborator, partner, governing body, and/or audience? how does the historian negotiate the uncertainties that attend the process of inquiry? what theoretical frameworks and/or interdisciplinary methods inform inquiry or interpretation? what authority does the historian exercise in constructing the interpretation? what role does the client, collaborator, partner, governing body, and/or audience play in shaping the end product? and, most importantly, how does the historian maintain the integrity of history?
Participants answered the Call in October 2008, submitted “case statements” in March, and began discussing them by email in the weeks before the conference.
- Public History as Work
- How Do We Get There? Racial and Ethnic Diversity within the Public History Profession
- Bearing the Standard: Public Historians Role in the Commemorations of the Sesquicentennial of the American the Civil War
- Where is the History in Historic Districts?
- The Public Value of History
- Historical Truths and Reconciliation: Interpreting Indigenous Histories
- So You’re Teaching in a Public History Program: A Working Group
- Digital Experiments, Collaboration, and Interactivity
- Historical Truths and Reconciliation: The Interpretation of African American and Enslaved Peoples