Zachary Hottel, Archivist, Shenandoah County Library- Truban Archives

Proposal Type

Structured Conversation

  • Seeking Additional Presenters
  • Seeking Specific Expertise
  • Seeking General Feedback and Interest
Related Topics
  • Archives
  • Museums/Exhibits

Creating sustained collaboration in the historic community is often difficult. Museums, historic sites, archives, and other institutions often struggle to do this due traditional, vertical lines of power. This structured conversation will help develop a better understanding of how historic institutions can create permanent, long lasting collaboration by crafting a grid that molds the vertical, top down public history model with visitors’ typical horizontal, across institution vitiation patterns.


Traditionally, most visitors interact with history in a horizontal manner. They visit a wide array of historic sites, museums, and archives in order to fulfill a desire to better understand specific interests or to find answers to research questions.

These interactions stand in stark contrast to the more vertical lines of power traditionally followed in the Public History field. Usually education and interpretation follows a top down approach, many time without developing an understanding of neighboring institutions.

This structured conversation would be designed to find ways to develop a “power grid” by crossing the traditional vertical approaches used in the field with the public’s horizontal search for information. It would specifically examine how collaborative efforts can expand from one-off, crossing of the wires to permanent parts of our institutions.  Leading questions would explore the positives and negatives of both approaches, how sharing information and collections between neighboring institutions can reshape operations, the challenges associated with increased collaboration, and how non-traditional sites, such as libraries, corporations, and businesses, can be included in our in-depth, collaboration grid.

If you have a direct offer of assistance, sensitive criticism, or wish to pass along someone’s contact information confidentially, please get in contact directly: Zachary Hottel, [email protected]

If you have general ideas or feedback to share, please feel free to use the comments feature below.

All feedback and offers of assistance should be submitted by July 2, 2017.


1 comment
  1. lara kelland says:

    dear zachary,

    what an interesting conceptual approach! of course you’ve likely thought of this, but i think attracting a cross section of collaborators (especially those with institutional planning experience will be beneficial. i wonder, too, if including public history educators might not also be useful. as one myself, i often muse (to little real substance) about the role we play in relation to the cultural organizations with which we partner. additionally, more grassroots community partners also impact the shape of the field and the work we do, so you might want to think a bit on how to incorporate those voices.

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