Blog Archives

Second Annual Telling Untold Histories Unconference

From battles over children’s books to debates over the Confederate flag, the public is questioning what counts as part of our national historical narrative. Registration is now open for the second annual Telling Untold Histories, New Jersey’s unconference on public history, museums, cultural heritage and education to be held at Rutgers University-Newark on May 13, 2016. Untold Histories reflects the belief that every place, every person, and every object has a history, albeit a hidden one.

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“The Pennsylvania Turnpike: America’s First Superhighway” Exhibit at State Museum of Pennsylvania

By Curtis Miner, Senior History Curator at State Museum of Pennsylvania

When the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in October 1940 as the first limited access “super highway” in the country, there was the sense that history was unfolding, even if its implications for how Americans might travel in the future could only be glimpsed faintly, if at all.

The press corps of the day declared it to be a “dream highway“ and America’s answer to the German Autobahn. The thousands of motorists who descended on it during its first weekend of operation, many having waited in line for hours for a chance to ride the “magic carpet” across the Alleghenies, seemed to agree. Though there were other long distance roadways then in existence, including national routes such as the Lincoln Highway, none offered the speed, convenience and safety of the new 160-mile stretch that crossed the Allegheny Mountains connecting Harrisburg to Pittsburgh.

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The Value of Volunteering and Interning

Volunteering and interning can teach you everything from why dress codes are important to why it’s important to show up on time each day. The types of responsibilities you receive are usually a little different and can be tailored around what your strengths and weaknesses are.

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Reconstructing Reconstruction: Post-Bellum Public History in the Smithsonian and National Park Systems

The September 2016 opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture offers a timely opportunity to evaluate how existing branches of the Smithsonian represent the era of Reconstruction, a period about which public opinion “matters more than most historical subjects” because “it forces us to think about what kind of society we wish America to be,” according to historian Eric Foner in a March 2015 Op-Ed in the New York Times.

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Right to Recapture Fugitive Slaves vs. Struggle for Social Justice: Illuminating American History through Regional History

Front cover of Stealing Freedom Along the Mason-Dixon Line by Milt Diggins.

By Milt Diggins

The narratives presented occurred in the Philadelphia – Wilmington – Baltimore corridor, and offer a close up view of slave catching and kidnapping that adds insight into how this issue contributed to the sectional hostility leading to Civil War. I had decided to build the narrative outward, using Thomas McCreary and his community as the framework for examining the issue of slave catching and kidnapping. This unique approach enabled a closer view of multiple perspectives held by those caught up in the animosity and violence. The addition of McCreary’s community provided additional depth to the story.

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Elfreth’s Alley: Embracing A First Research Project in the World of Public History

An image of Elfreth's Alley in 1980. (Photo taken from Library of Congress.)

When I started on my very first project, the only experience I had (that even came close to this type of endeavor) was writing my capstones and my Honors project (essentially all fancy terms for a thesis, of which I had to write three). While I thought the experience of having to write two capstone projects- including eight, yes eight, drafts of my English capstone- in one semester had prepared me, I was quite wrong.

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All Quiet on the Southern front (of Pennsylvania): A Recap of a WWI Symposium in York, Pennsylvania

Which one is the real "Black Jack" Pershing? (Here's a hint, the Pershing image on the right is courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

The East Coast Branch of the WFA holds two World War I seminars every year in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia areas, bringing together scholars, students, and others who are interested in learning more about the “War to End All Wars.” This fall’s symposium took place on October 24th at the York County Heritage Trust and involved a full day of activities.

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MARCH publishes news of interest to public humanities professionals in the Mid-Atlantic region of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Suggestions and submissions are welcome.

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