This blog is for students enrolled in HIST 7040 Issues and Interpretation in Public History. It is a place to reflect on readings and class discussions, share news and announcements, and discuss current practices and events in the field of public history.

HIST 7040 is intended as an introduction to key theoretical, methodological, and practical issues related to creating history by, for, and with a wider public. Issues include questions of audience and authority in presenting history; the relationship between history and memory; the politics and ethics of public history; and the applications of history in diverse formats and media. The course is designed for, but not limited to, students who might consider work in the varied fields of public history.

Kate Wilson


One Response to About

  1. Broxton Harvey says:

    First of all let me say the reading for this week were very interesting and informative. They have opened my mind up to how public history really works today in our society. First I will start with the article on shared authority. This article really gets to the nuts and bolts of how sharing authority can make an exhibit much more interesting than one could have imagined. The Missouri Historical Society in their own words “had less than they expected and more than they hoped”. This is evident after speaking with the women that helped mold the Dollar Dresses exhibit. Without shared authority I doubt it would have been as interesting. Also, in the Meet Me at the Fair exhibit, the Filipino community was able to provide feedback on the exhibit. This resulted in an awareness of the different cultures within the community mainly between the Igorots and the Visayans. I feel these examples of collaboration between historians and the public exemplifies what public history really stand for.

    Also, the Enola Gay exhibit debates shows how the publics opinion can manifest itself in many shapes and forms. With the exhibit scheduled to open and the 50th Anniversary approaching the dropping of the atomic bomb was and still is seen as a very sensitive issues. History will find many such moments where we struggle to celebrate one accomplishment, while not being insensitive towards the victims. Much of this debate was on should and how the exhibit should be displayed. In our readings from last week James Gardner stated that we should tell “history as is, not as we wish it had been”. This philosophy also rains true in the article about the Liberty Bell. We as historians must provide the true facts even if it makes the audience uncomfortable. This is evident in how the exhibit tied liberty and unfreedom together to tell the story. This was a true testament to historians becoming involved and telling the story of the Liberty Bell as well as the story of Washington’s slaves.

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