Author Archive

Kate Preissler

Memory, narrative, history, Serial.

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Note from the author: I wrote this piece before the conclusion of the investigative journalism podcast Serial dropped on December 18, 2014. I’m leaving it as is, without addressing the ending because it does not change the questions that were raised during its run, nor does it negate the ways we can discuss Serial in relation to public history. Read More

Free range kids: museums at play

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  This post as it originally appeared on March 10 was a draft version, posted in error.  The correct version appears below.  We apologize to the authors and to our readers for the confusion.

Picture, for a moment, children of all ages loose in your museum; free to grab, change, move, and build with whatever their hands happen to come across. Read More

Growing things at historic sites

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I’ve written before about  differences  I see between education and engagement as strategies (and goals) for programming at cultural sites. Two features crucial to making programs “engaging” as well as “educational” are:
  1. The inclusion of activities that encourage visitors to use multiple senses and their full concentration, freeing the mind from other thoughts and distractions; and
  2. Information or activities that cause some type of positive change in individuals beyond their visit to the site.
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Impacts and outcomes: Learning to measure success

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We are just passing that time of year when my team at The Trustees of Reservations  transitions out of our high season and into the relative quiet of the winter. With a busy program season for our historic homes from around April to October and a budget planning season starting in December, I have about two months in the fall to review all of the data that we have collected. Read More

Would you like a side of history with that? Toward a more holistic public history practice

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Around the time that I took on my current position with The Trustees of Reservations, the organization made an internal change: our historic resources department became the cultural landscapes department, our historic resources staff the cultural resources staff. Why was this significant? Read More

Planning for engagement


In the two years that I have worked in my current position as Western Region Engagement Manager with The Trustees of Reservations, I get asked one question more than any other: “What is an Engagement Manager?”

Although I have a short response–“I oversee any point of contact between our properties and the public”–the frequency with which I encounter the question motivates me again and again to contemplate the work of “engagement” and what it really means to “manage” it at our sites. Read More