A Companion To Public History
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This collection of thirty-four essays shows the ways in which the field of public history as evolved internationally over the past thirty years. I deliberate sought out authors from many disciplines, backgrounds, and interests. Collectively the essays showcase the shapes, forms, and places of public history and most engage with methodological and theoretical problems associated with the field. It is heavily illustrated and has some varied formats (interview, conversation, photo essay) that facilitate use in the classroom. A version of the introduction has been translated into several languages and these are posted here for open-access download.
I co-direct the Carleton Centre for Public History with Dr. John Walsh. The Centre collaborates with public history practitioners outside the academy as well as with individuals and communities on a variety of projects such as Lost Stories and Capital History.
The articles that constitute this special issue examine the role of museums in promoting peace and social justice through developing historical understanding and historical consciousness. By telling stories about the past for an audience in the present, history museums operate in the belief that knowing what has happened in the past helps us understand who we are, and for some this is a first step in the long process of achieving social justice and perhaps even resolving conflict. By bringing difficult subjects, traumatic experiences, and injustices into the open, by making them visible, and by finding ways in which visitors can critically engage with them, these museums play an essential role in contemporary society.
David Dean, PhD (*1955), is Professor of History and co-director of the Centre for Public History at Carleton University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Ottawa. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, David was Company Historian to Canada's National Art Centre's English Theatre Company between 2008 and 2012. He has published widely in early modern British history and in public history, including the co-edited volume 'History, Memory, Performance' (Palgrave 2015). He is currently editing 'A Companion to Public History' for Wiley-Blackwell. David is on the Steering Committee of the International Federation for Public History.
If your dream job involves designing museum exhibits, discovering untold stories in archives, or presenting history to public audiences, public history is the major for you. Public history is one of the newest and fastest growing areas of employment for students of history. It spans public presentation and engagement, as well as government and corporate consultant work.
Public history majors work with our archivist in the university archives starting their very first semester and will meet and network with history professionals. All public history majors complete internships at museums or archives and leave the program with practical experience in the field.
BW offers Ohio's only undergraduate major in public history. BW is a partner of the National Council on Public History, an organization that offers career information about this dynamic, growing career field.
If you aspire to a career in a museum, archive, library, the National Parks Service or other venue that teaches history to members of the public, the B.A. in public history is for you. BW offers the only undergraduate public history major in Ohio.
If you love history but want to work in a corporate, nonprofit or tech field where you will need a foundation in historical knowledge but also skills in data analysis, presentation and technological applications, consider the B.S. in applied history.
If you want to prepare for law school, paralegal certification, grades 7-12 social studies teaching, government employment or public policy work, or if you love history but want to remain flexible in your career options, BW offers a B.A. in history. Students in this program can easily double major in another discipline such as science, English, international studies, national security or theater.
Public history is offered as a major, minor and certificate program. The major is intensively experiential. Much of the coursework takes place in archives and local museums. There is a required capstone internship. See full list of required courses and electives.
As a public history project and companion to Defending the Arctic Refuge, this website shares source materials related to the book and the broader history of the Arctic Refuge struggle. In addition to featuring a recently-digitized version of the Last Great Wilderness slide show, the site includes a detailed timeline and a diverse array of primary sources.
There are no plans currently to continue the physical exhibit after Dec. 23. However, a companion website (reckoning.wisc.edu) will archive the exhibit and provide viewers with an immersive online experience, including materials that expand on the physical exhibit.
To clarify these aspects, here are two recent examples. In 2018 the Czech developer Warhorse Studios published Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a realistic role playing game (RPG) set in medieval Bohemia. The developers affirmed that the game would be more historically accurate than any other game, and would have make justice to the neglected history of the country. However, many criticised the nationalistic and xenophobic inclination of the game, depicting medieval Bohemia as pure, flawless, and surrounded by malevolent foreign enemies (on this regard see this article on Kotaku).
is a field in the historical sciences made up of professionals who undertake historical work in a variety of public and private settings for different kinds of audiences worldwide. The settings in which they work may include international and transnational organizations, governments at all levels, as well as local, regional, or national non-profit, corporate, cultural and educational institutions.
The exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art, which opened Sept. 12, recorded more than 7,400 visits its first month. A companion website had 4,400 visits during the same period. Visitors online represented 25 countries and 47 states.
Andromache Gazi is Associate Professor of Museology at the Department of Communication, Media and Culture, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece. She has a long-standing professional interest in the application of exhibition theory in practice and has planned and curated a plethora of museum exhibitions. Recent research interests include public history, community museology, oral history, and the use of sound in museums.
The role played by national museums within the broad field of public history has not been fully addressed. Traditionally national museums have been a privileged stage for shaping and boosting national identity through the exhibition of significant objects and for disseminating official and deeply rooted views of national history. Using the National Historical Museum in Athens as a case study, this paper analyses what happens when a national museum allows its permanent exhibits to be scrutinized by a nonprofessional group whose members then present their own reading of them in the very halls of the museum.
In what follows, I depart from the assumption that Red Cross museums, like other humanitarian media, are about seeing. Two particular qualities, however, make them distinct from other visual media: the one is their capability to create three-dimensional visual experiences by arranging films, photos, text panels, and other aesthetic objects across a museum space. The other is their ability to shape multisensory narratives that connect various media with each other. A look at the history of Red Cross museums therefore opens a promising window on the ways in which those institutions have evolved into important narrative agents of the movement.
Taking a particular interest in the entanglements between visual display and narrative, the following sections argue that Red Cross museums have shaped, changed, and formulated their own humanitarian narratives throughout the twentieth century. The first section starts out by first describing the origins of the institution of Red Cross museums, with a particular focus on the museum of the American Red Cross in Washington DC and the International Red Cross Museum in Castiglione, Italy. The second section explores the history of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva, showing how it resolved challenges and limits of historical representation that the museum in Castiglione could not work around. The third section briefly maps out the 1980s and 1990s museum boom within the German Red Cross movement, before the final section, calling for more cooperation between public historians and practitioners, spells out some of the potentials such cooperation may involve.
In (West) Germany, meanwhile, collectors in Pinneberg and Geislingen started out with showing small displays as early as the 1960s. In 1979, a traveling exhibit on Red Cross history opened in Bad Bevensen and then began to tour the country. Four years later, a permanent museum opened in Nurnberg, followed by further museums in Geislingen (1987), Berlin (1990), Essen (1990), and many other places. Today, the Association of the German Red Cross Museums counts over a dozen such museums across Germany (see Arbeitsgemeinschaft, 2020 and Schlösser, 2016 for short overviews of German Red Cross museums).
This essay has argued that the work of Red Cross museums may offer a fruitful field to facilitate more exchange between public historians and humanitarian practitioners. Red Cross museums, this essay has attempted to show, are a key venue for the production of historical narratives that communicate the meanings and purposes of the movement by showcasing shifting narratives of heroism, civility, and local volunteerism. Public historians and their research may provide practitioners with a more thorough understanding of the workings of those narratives, inviting their critical reflection and helping to build more sensibility towards the framings they use, the ethics of representation they involve, and the silences they may produce. Museum practitioners, meanwhile, may wish to draw on the historical expertise and research skills that public historians offer them in researching, handling, and presenting meaningful historical materials, particularly where museums are running on a low budget. On a more conceptual level, they may also see value in the theoretical and methodological input public historians may provide them on modes of visual presentation or newer paradigms such as inclusion and cultural participation (see Lücke and Zündorf, 2018). 59ce067264