Author: Sharon Ann Holt

Dr. Holt is a public historian, scholar, teacher, and executive. She is a lecturer in history and public history at Pennsylvania State University, Abington. As a public historian, Dr. Holt seeks to build community connection and civic vitality around understanding and presenting American history. Over more than a decade in the public humanities, Holt has brought about new initiatives, improved the strategic focus and financial management of non profits, built brands, managed teams of staff and volunteers, and contributed to statewide, regional, and national discussions on the future and purpose of the humanities. She lectures in the United States and Europe, and publishes in journals of public history, museum studies, and American history.

Controversy in Public History … Can We Move Beyond Relativism?

Public historians took a battering 20 years ago through highly public struggles over two Smithsonian exhibits.

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Summer Fruits of the Humanities

Recent observances around the on-going 150th anniversary of the Civil War have highlighted the great popular interest in how war affected the lives of everyday people. New Jersey now has a window into everyday lives during the American Revolution, thanks to the good work of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area.

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Searching for a usable past in the Hudson Valley

I passed a wonderful late June week traveling the Hudson River Valley from the Vanderbilt estate in Hyde Park, New York, south along alternating banks of the Hudson to the Edward Hopper house and museum in Nyack. In addition to the 3rd generation Vanderbilts with their (inherited) railroad fortune, my husband and I explored the architectural and material legacy of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, financial speculator Jay Gould, West Point, the Loyalist and slaveholding Philips family, 3 generations of Rockefellers, artist/inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, the writer Washington Irving, and artists Edward and Josephine N. Hopper.

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History and Historic Preservation, huh! What are they good for?

“Please, tell me whether you think the world has changed at all since 1966,” asked Ned Kaufman at the June 5 New Jersey History and Historic Preservation conference in Monmouth County. Chuckles and giggles flowed from the audience. Agreed then that much has changed, he responded, why hasn’t our thinking in preservation also changed? Why are we still pursuing the same goals, working with the same tools, and recruiting the same supporters as we were in 1966?

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Could the public humanities become more valuable?

Building community has turned up as a priority in a wide variety of settings around the region lately, often with the humanities in the driver’s seat. Perhaps in the season when underground bulbs send up the flowers that remind us to appreciate the beauty in nature, it is reasonable to treat the humanities a bit like those flowers. Perhaps this is a chance to take a moment to give a sniff, let our spirits be lifted, and renew our hopes for our work in a troubled world.

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New possibilities dawn for Bethlehem Steel Historic Site

On January 30, a Northampton County grand jury called for the firing or resignation of Stephen G. Donches, once PR executive at Bethlehem Steel Corporation and since the 1990s, president of an effort to create a National Museum of Industrial

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Sustainable Organizations? — The Fundamentals Haven’t Changed Much

While researching women’s leadership in Philadelphia for History Making Productions, I found the wonderful essay below, called “A Recipe for an Ideal Club.”  Courtesy of the New Century Guild, founded in 1882 by Eliza Sproat Turner (1826–1903)  to address the specific needs

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