Tag Archive


Agriculture and public history: A working group

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It’s an exciting time for public historians interested in putting the farm-to-fork movement into historic context. Recent books, including Interpreting Food at Museums and Historic Sites (2015), Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites (2017), and Public History and the Food Movement: Adding the Missing Ingredient (2018), demonstrate that public historians are bringing new insights to bear on interpreting agricultural history and food history. Read More

Cold War legacies: Preservation and use at historic sites

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Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of pieces  focused on Las Vegas and its regional identity which will be posted before and during the NCPH Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in April.

Cold War-era historic sites challenge public historians to strike a balance between the need for preservation and the need for continued use. Read More

Reimagining the history of the (Inter)National Park Service

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On May 13, 1918, less than two years after the National Park Service (NPS) was established, U.S. Interior Secretary Franklin K. Lane wrote to first National Park Service (NPS) director Stephen T. Mather regarding ways in which the new federal agency could interpret and expand its mission. Read More

Standing Rock and Sitting Bull: Where is the history?

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As I’ve watched the groundswell of protest at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota over the building of a new pipeline carrying “fracked” oil from the massive Bakken oilfield, I’ve been surprised by the lack of mention of what seems to me to be one of the most striking things about this action: the fact that it’s taking place on the same reservation where Sitting Bull was killed in December 1890 by federal Indian agency police who came to arrest him as part of an attempt to suppress a wave of Indian resistance. Read More

Continuing the conversation about preservation and climate change

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Newporters like to boast that their city is home to the largest concentration of American buildings pre-dating 1800. It’s a hard claim to verify, but tallies aside, the City-by-the-Sea in Rhode Island is undoubtedly a patchwork of architectural delights reflecting its history as a powerful colonial entrepôt, a Gilded Age resort, a naval base, and currently a vibrant tourist destination. Read More

Lake Effects: Missing the boat on climate change

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On August 24, 2014, the temporary exhibition Lake Effects closed its doors after a ten-month run at the Michigan Historical Museum. Attempting to absorb as much Great Lakes culture as I could before relocating to the southeastern United States, I visited the Michigan Historical Museum with my family in July. Read More

We won’t keep off the grass: A day at the folklife festival


Coming out of the Smithsonian Metro station on the National Mall, we were immediately drawn to the massive flower plaque bursting with colorful fabric art. Its sound beckoned us, as hundreds of bamboo wind chimes rattled in the breeze. In China, “flower plaques are decorated bamboo structures used for celebrations such as business openings, weddings, or anniversaries.” This one had been designed by Hong Kong-based artist Danny Yung. Read More