New Year’s update from the History Relevance Campaign
11 January 2017 – editors
The value of history–both understanding historical events and the process by which we analyze them–has been demonstrated many times in 2016. The skill at the very core of the research process, critical thinking, cannot be overemphasized in today’s society. Evidenced-based inquiry and discussion is more important than ever.
The History Relevance Campaign was busy in 2016.
We held an evening event during AAM’s Museum Advocacy Day and introduced more organizations to our efforts. We gave several presentations at state, regional, and national conferences. In May we convened a gathering at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and heard from Richard Kurin, acting provost of the Smithsonian Institution. And in October we convened a meeting at the National Archives and heard from David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, who said he is a fan of HRC’s work.
Both meetings gathered representatives from organizations with national scope, including the American Alliance of Museums, National Park Service, National Archives, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Coalition for History, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Civil War Trust, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Museum and Library Services, Center for History and New Media, National History Day, and others.
A direct result of the May meeting was a renewed emphasis on development of a template to measure impact of history organizations, and this effort became the primary focus of the October meeting. We are exploring options for a grant to create this set of common metrics for measuring the impact of history organizations, and have been drafting proposals and speaking with national and local partners.
This month HRC will debut a new website that will serve as a clearinghouse for tools and news to share the work of HRC. We continue to build a relationship with the National Governors Association. And, we’ve begun a collaboration with LINK Strategic Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based communications firm, to create a communications plan to help the field be more strategic about how we talk about history. We’re grateful for LINK’s shared vision and generosity in donating their skills and time.
The HRC steering committee is comprised of sixteen members who represent a variety of history organizations that span the breadth of the country. Several new members were added this past year.
The number keeps growing
Over 150 organizations and counting have endorsed the HRC Value of History statement, including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, the National Humanities Alliance, and Conner Prairie. Check the full list at http://www.historyrelevance.com/endorsers and please invite organizations to sign on.
We encourage you to challenge your colleagues in history to use the language in the Value Statement. Please also share any successful ways that you have employed the Value Statement.
Here are two elegant videos by state historical societies that incorporate the Value Statement:
Made by History
History Is Essential
~ The History Relevance Campaign is a diverse group of history professionals posing questions about what makes the past relevant today. The Campaign serves as a catalyst for discovering, demonstrating, and promulgating the value of history for individuals, communities, and the nation.