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Interpreting Gender and Sexuality at Historic Sites

On a 2013 study trip to historic sites in and around Boston, hosted by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, participants were struck by the wide variety of ways they saw gender and sexuality interpreted–or in some cases, not interpreted at all. The trip prompted a number of interesting questions, which representatives from the Pew Center together with members and friends of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites would now like to raise and discuss with other public historians. Toward that end, a session will explore these issues at the upcoming meeting of the National Council on Public History.

The questions to be considered there include: Where is the interpretation of gender and sexuality in 2013/2014? How do we move beyond the “just add women and stir” model of gender interpretation? How do we build on the progress made at a small number of historic sites now interpreting LGBT history? What is the future of gender and sexuality at historic sites?

Please take a moment to reflect on these questions, and help inform a larger discussion; there are 12 questions about the topic area (these will ask you to mention historic sites that you find especially effective, so you may want to reflect a bit on the the places you find most successful before commencing the survey), with 8 quick demographic questions at the end. The results of this survey will be shared at the NCPH panel as well as a future issue of The Public Historian. We will share aggregate results on the website of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, too (but if for any reason we’d like to quote anyone directly, we would seek express permission before doing so).

The questionnaire asks a series of questions about the state of women’s history interpretation, with particular attention to questions about gender and sexuality. At the end are a handful of demographic questions to aid in our overall analysis.

Here is the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P3TT7RS

If you wish, you may save your response as you work, and return to it as time permits. The survey will close on March 1st. Please feel free to invite friends and colleagues to participate — Many thanks for your time and insight! Any questions, please contact Marla Miller (mmiller@history.umass.edu).

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