Tag Archive


Coffee Tables Books, Pulp Fiction Covers, and Courtroom Photography: Finding & Understanding the Art in Historical Interpretation

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Art was how I first encountered and understood history. Today, as a doctoral candidate researching the transnational legal history of juvenile justice in the American borderlands, I explore the history of the surveillance and policing of youth in places such as public schools, places of worship, and social services through historical visual sources and my own multi-media art. Read More

Disturbing Justice: legacies of incarceration at the Old Idaho Penitentiary

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The Old Idaho Penitentiary was the site of seven riots and disturbances and some of the structural damage from these actions is still evident today. For years, the exhibits and signage on display at the Old Idaho Penitentiary Historic Site never discussed the riots, so in early 2019 it was determined that the site’s latest exhibit should explain the damage still visible to visitors, contextualize the actions of prisoners and administrators, and connect historical situations in corrections to current affairs. Read More

Mapping Dissent: Queer and Trans resistance at UCSB

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Editors’ Note: This post is one of two History@Work pieces inspired by the current special issue of The Public Historian: “Queering Public History,” Vol. 41, No. 2. You can read additional LGBTQ reports from the field in this NCPH ePublication, which complements The Public Historian issue and these blog posts. Read More

Community-driven mitigation: Murals, canal stones, and a walking tour

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Jack Schmitt has mixed feelings about the way that the Pennsylvania Route 28 project turned out. On one hand, the longtime Pittsburgh historic preservation advocate beams when he talks about how he successfully convinced the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to replicate historic Pennsylvania Canal lock stones in a retaining wall in the urban highway corridor. Read More

Project Showcase: Murals of Las Cruces Project

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During the summer of 2015, a group of scholars, students, and artists trekked under the sweltering New Mexico sun with cameras and notebooks in hand to document public murals in the city of Las Cruces. What began as a student project in a public history seminar at New Mexico State University grew into the Murals of Las Cruces Project.  Read More

Public art and history: Silver Spring’s Memory Wall

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In the 1990s, Silver Spring, Maryland, was desperate for economic investment and an image makeover. Next door to Washington, D.C., the Montgomery County suburb had suffered from two decades of disinvestment and white flight. Once a thriving community with a booming commercial district and sprawling inner-ring suburban neighborhoods, Silver Spring had become blighted by vacant storefronts and empty parking lots. Read More

A color-blind Stockholm syndrome

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The American narrative, like any cultural narrative, consists of stories that structure and assign meaning to the nation’s origin, history, and existence. In theory, this narrative can link Americans who have experienced genocide, slavery, and white privilege. But for people descended from enslaved peoples, this narrative has instead been used to conceal the inconvenient truths of systemic historic and current racial injustice and inequality. Read More

I, Too, Sing America: Integrating the voices of all Americans in historic preservation

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Editor’s note: This post concludes a series commemorating the anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act by examining a part article published in The Public Historian, describing its significance and relating it to contemporary conversations in historic preservation. 

Historic preservation exists to tell stories of our journeys as a people and as a nation, but somehow along the way the stories of America’s African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American communities are erased or obscured as historians and preservationists tell the great American story. Read More

Exhibiting a unique artistic legacy at the South Side Community Art Center

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of a special online section accompanying issue 37 (2) of The Public Historian, guest edited by Lisa Junkin Lopez, which focuses on the future of historic house museums. The contributions in this section highlight the voices of artists who engage with historic house museums as sites of research, exhibition, and social practice. Read More