Tag Archive

The Public Historian

It’s not “just a musical”

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TPH_38_1_Covers low rez-1In the four months since my review of Hamilton: An American Musical was first published in The Public Historian, my ideas have been met with a wide variety of reactions.

This blog published four responses to the piece, including one by Annette Gordon-Reed, who wrote that my review was an expression of “our duty to use what we know of history and culture to comment” on artistic explorations of the past. Read More

Digital community engagement across the divides

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"A Conversation," by Khalid Albaih. Posted on Flikr, CC BY 2.0 license.

Image credit: A Conversation, Khalid Albaih

In 2008, the Journal of American History published a conversation among several historians regarding the future of digital history. William G. Thomas III  said, “We might imagine a more proximate collaboration in which historians team up with [community] groups.  Read More

Finding the intersection of technology and public history

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Photo credit: The Tire Zoo, on Flickr

Photo credit: The Tire Zoo

Digital technology has enabled public historians, cultural heritage professionals, and history students to collaborate with diverse audiences and explore history’s role in civic engagement in ways previously unimagined. The partnership between the Virtual City Project and the Restoration Group described by Andrew Hurley in “Chasing the Frontiers of Digital Technology: Public History Meets the Digital Divide” demonstrates the exciting possibilities as well as challenges advanced digital tools provide, especially in the face of limited budgets, long software development cycles, and varying levels of digital access. Read More

Hamilton: The Musical: Blacks and the founding fathers

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Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and the ensemble of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and the ensemble of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

This past August, I went with a group of historians to see the much acclaimed, and now Grammy-winning, musical, Hamilton. Our timing was just right. The ticket prices were reasonable (for the Great White Way), costing nowhere near the astronomical sums people pay now. Read More

Meeting our audiences where they are in the digital age

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Image from the 98 Acres in Albany digital project. By 1960, about 15 percent of Albany's South Mall take area’s 7,000 residents were African American. James C. Strawn was a janitor, musician, and barber who moved into the area soon after WW II. Mr. Strawn told a Knickerbocker News reporter that he hoped that “tearing down these 50- and 60-year-old buildings might make for some decent places in which to live.” Courtesy New York State Archives.

Image from the 98 Acres in Albany digital project.
By 1960, about 15 percent of the South Mall take area’s 7,000 residents were African American. James C. Strawn was a janitor, musician, and off-the-books barber who moved into the South Mall take area soon after World War II.

Read More