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PoliticalFest in Philadelphia

The local Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which runs from July 25 to July 28, consciously draws on the city’s key role in prior American political events in using the tagline “Lets Make History Again” as part of its marketing campaign. DNC week also offers a chance for both conventioneers and the general public to learn about American political history through a series of seven exhibits around Philadelphia collectively called PoliticalFest, which run from July 22 to July 27.

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Jersey Shore Public History: Community Education, Architectural Preservation, and Heritage Tourism

Although I did not realize it at the time, my first public history ‘gig’ was my high school summer job giving tours of Lucy the Elephant, a national historic landmark in Margate that was built in 1881 to draw potential land buyers to what was then the sparsely populated borough of ‘South Atlantic City.’ At that point the belly of the beast resembled a small gallery displaying a range of local historical artifacts, including a horse-drawn firehose cart, which were soon removed to the just opened Margate Historical Society Museum where they stayed on exhibit until the building itself was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

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Date Night: The Old Fashioned Way

My wife’s idea of a good date night does not usually involve a visit to a tavern or a historic site. Her ideal date would involve a nice meal at an elegant restaurant and an entertaining show, and then ice cream, of course. Last month, I was able to accomplish her ideal Date Night: The Old Fashioned Way with a trip to the Half Way House Restaurant and Swift Creek Mill Theatre in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

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Common Touch: An Artist’s Multi-Sensory Exhibition Exploring the History of the Education of the Blind at the Library Company of Philadelphia

By Erika Piola

As the Co-Director of the Visual Culture Program (VCP at LCP) at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the collections with which I work daily document the visual construction of history. In preparing for our current VCP exhibition Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind, the experience has purposefully challenged my conceptions of the privileged role of vision in visual culture studies.

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Viewing American-Soviet Cold War Relations through the Lens of Art

By Ksenia Nouril

Dreamworlds and Catastrophes frames the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union within the period of its own conception. In this way, it honors the collecting history and legacy of Norton Dodge (1927-2011)—an inimitable mediator—whose commitment to this kind of art continues to shape an understanding of the transnational exchanges in art and culture during the Cold War.

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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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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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