Author Archive

Priya Chhaya

TBD to Historical Urgency: Reflections on Gathering as Public Historians

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In the Spring of 2023 public historians gathered—in person for the first time in four years—for our annual meeting in Atlanta. Months later, as I organized my photographs from the trip, I kept coming back to a series of images from the exhibit hall, images of a puzzle slowly coming together, one piece at a time. Read More

The Art of (virtual) gathering: Considering audiences with purpose and intention

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For the last fifteen years I have worked as a public history digital content creator. Much of my work has been learned on the job as I engage with the tools and technologies of multi-disciplinary storytelling—and more recently, consider how technology facilitates community engagement with history in both public and intimate settings. Read More

Go For the Moon: Building Complex Public History Projects

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Last July, Washington, D.C. area visitors and residents were treated to an incredible sight: an image of the Saturn V rocket from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that first put humans on the moon, projected onto the Washington Monument. This projection, known as Apollo 50: Go for the Moon, was a part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, organized by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM), that featured a weeklong series of events. Read More

PastForward: Places, voices, and livability

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This past fall in Houston, the National Trust for Historic Preservation gathered for its annual conference, PastForward. One of the key features of the conference is a series of marquee presentations called TrustLive. TrustLive presentations often feature a single speaker followed by a short panel discussion on a topic relevant to today’s preservation movement. Read More

Why do old places matter?


“As I settle in a place, the place settles me.” Juhani Pallasmma, Forum Journal (Spring 2015)

00_29.3Cover_smallMore than fifteen months ago, my colleague at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Tom Mayes, embarked on a journey. For six months, he lived at the American Academy in Rome researching and thinking about one of the most central tenets of our profession: Why Do Old Places Matter? Read More