Whenever a public historian asks me whether it’s worth the time and effort to run for office in a historical association, or to serve on a committee, I strongly recommend giving it a try. Over the nearly forty years I spent at the Senate Historical Office, I calculate that I spent almost half of that time also serving in one elected office or another in various historical associations and beyond that on any number of standing or ad hoc committees.
I decided to become a professional historian in a campground in Ohio in the summer of 1994. I was spending the day lounging at my campsite, reading About Time: Exploring the Gay Past, by Martin Duberman, when his essay “’Writhing Bedfellows’ in Antebellum South Carolina: Historical Interpretation and the Politics of Evidence” got me so fired up that I decided it was time to go out and do what I could to bring the past to the people. Read More
Recently, I received the announcement of the Founders Award that the National Council on Public History will present later this week to me and to Philip Cantelon, my colleague of many years, various associations and initiatives. Reading the citation for the award brought back many treasured memories of the early days of public history, especially memories of individual historians who were mentors and co-workers and who became invaluable friends. Read More
How can historic house museums remain relevant and engaging in the 21st century? That is the question before the nearly 15,000 such institutions currently operating in the United States. Much ink has been spilt debating the future of the house-museum model, from the pages of The Washington Post to The Boston Globe, even on this blog. Read More
Every morning, we wake up and open our dressers or closets to find something to wear. If you’re anything like me, the selection is usually the first thing you grab as you wipe your heavy eyes and question whether it was worth staying up to watch an extra hour of Netflix the night before. Read More
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