Tag Archive


Project Showcase: Kin/Folk/Lore

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Kin/Folk/Lore (KFL) is a community-led history project that uses grassroots storytelling to incite meaningful dialogues across cultures, generations, and localities in Philadelphia. Participant-audiences forge unlikely connections while considering changing landscapes, core values, and hopes that define their lives—past and present. KFL’s collection exists as a free, publicly accessible digital oral history database, exhibit, and album series. Read More

History in handwriting: family archives in public history

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In the depths of unexplored historical niches, historians often find information scarce in public records and archives, leading them to underutilized family and personal collections. Approaching research from such a personal angle has many benefits, but it’s also important to consider the logistics and ethics of utilizing personal and family records for research. Read More

Community engagement and post-custodial collecting in Central Arkansas’s Little Poland

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Community engagement has become an essential part of post-custodial collections work. Through community engagement, archives can grow trust with underrepresented groups. The Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Butler Center for Arkansas Studies is currently employing these methods to document the history of the historically Polish Marche community in Pulaski County, Arkansas, while also working to build sustainable community relationships and trust. Read More

Editor’s Corner: Crossing Borders

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Editors’ Note: We publish the editor’s introduction to the February 2023 issue of The Public Historian here. The entire issue is available online to National Council on Public History members and to others with subscription access.

This issue begins with Jean-Pierre Morin’s “Considering the Revolution: The Identities Created by the American Revolutionary War,” the second in a five-part series that arc from the origins to the legacies of the American Revolution (see part 1, “Considering the Revolution: Indigenous Histories and Memory in Alaska, Hawai’i, and the Indigenous Plateau” and “Decolonizing Museums, Memorials, and Monuments” in the November 2021 issue). Read More

Looking for Lucille’s story in the 1950 census

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On the morning of April 1, 2022, I was among throngs of remote researchers who visited the National Archives and Records Administration website to access data from the newly released 1950 Census. I had waited thirteen years to answer one research question: Who was the Black woman working in a family home that I had first researched in 2009? Read More

Preserving Intellectual Disability History: The Elwyn Archives and Museum

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Founded in 1852 as the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-Minded Children, Elwyn is the oldest continuously operating educational facility for people with intellectual disabilities in the United States. Today, headquartered just outside Philadelphia, it is a large multi-state provider of community-based and residential supports to people with a wide range of disabilities. Read More

Hands-on History in a Hands-off Era

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The COVID-19 pandemic requires innovative solutions for remote and socially-distanced learning. During the 2020-2021 academic year, we designed teaching kits, or mini-teaching collections, that permitted undergraduate students in an archival methods course to safely engage in hands-on activities. The kits formed the basis for several assignments throughout the semester and fostered a meaningful sense of connection among students during a highly disconnected period. Read More

Oral histories battling climate change

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Editor’s note: Today we continue the “Our Climate Emergency” series with a post by Melody Hunter-Pillion that centers oral history methods as a way to battle climate change. 

“It’s different and it’s more severe . . . I’m not the scientists, but I can definitely tell you, it’s happening.”

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Digital public history as folk music hootenanny: Part 3—Toward a multimodal Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project

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The Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project, discovered in the silent archives of Northwestern University Libraries Special Collections repository (Part one) and digitally developed through collective effort (Part two), now features a fully-searchable, open-source online archive and a digital exhibit that introduces themes and materials to aficionados and newcomers alike. Read More

Digital public history as folk music hootenanny: Part 2—How we created the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project

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The Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project began with silence. The question became how to activate its noisy past for a broader public when its history only remained in the quiet corners of the archive. The path forward would require not one solitary scholar in the stacks, as with a traditional historical research project, but many participants bringing out the voices, music, and sensory experiences from the repository. Read More