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The Doctor is In

Over the past month or so a recurring topic has been floating in and out of my consideration so I’d thought I would share. It is the idea of museums as places, not just of learning and inspiration, but of rejuvenation and therapy. It started when a colleague returned from a trip to Europe full of excited stories about the new exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. Art is Therapy is not a typical exhibit where objects are selected for their relevance to a theme and displayed all together in a gallery. This show takes place throughout the museum, with commentary about the art and the space it inhabits posted adjacent to the objects which remain in their normal display areas. The underlying point of the show is to get people to go beyond looking at museum objects as special simply because they are made by a noted artist, or are particularly old or rare, but to appreciate them for how they make you feel regardless of provenance or pedigree.

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The Fickle Public

A week or so ago, a friend and museum colleague posted a link on Facebook to this article published in the Denver Business Journal. It is an opinion piece by David Sneed, CEO of Alpine Fencing. From viewing his company’s website—which offers a nice variety of fences for any of your neighborly needs—I think he would qualify as a typical “joe public” museum goer. This is someone we as museum professionals want hear from. How else will we be able to be relevant to a wider population? We must know what our patrons think, what they want and we should deliver, right?

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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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Public/Digital | History/Humanities: Conceptualizing the Digital Public Humanities

On February 20, 2014, I gave a talk at Lehigh University in Bethelehem, PA with the rather unwieldy title of Public/Digital | History/Humanities: Conceptualizing the Digital Public Humanities. As I explained to Julia Maserjian, Digital Scholarship Project Manager at Lehigh’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, who invited me to speak at Lehigh, it was really important to keep that little | symbol in between two parts of my title. That symbol—called a pipe—is used in the UNIX operating system and has a very particular meaning that I wanted to use as to frame my remarks. I’m no UNIX programmer, but when I was about ten years old my father, who is an electrical engineer and knew that I was interested in computers, told me that I should teach myself UNIX. “It’ll be useful,” he said, while handing me an approximately 700 page book on UNIX written for adults with some background in programming.

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Yes, but what does it all MEAN?

This past fall I taught an undergraduate course on American material culture. It was my first go at this type of course. I’ve taught “traditional” history courses covering everything from medieval & early modern Europe to American women’s history (my

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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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Teaching with Instagram video and other meditations on technology in the classroom

There are certain books we pick up again and again. We take delight in the characters, plots, and language because they are familiar. Or perhaps we revisit the same vacation spot year after year. Repetition can be soothing and it

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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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Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Did you know that turkeys have a field vision of about 270 degrees, or that they fly between 50-55 miles per hour? Aristotle Thanksgiving is one of the many websites that can give you an edge with your Thanksgiving knowledge

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THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA

Based at MARCH, with numerous community partners, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is a civic project to increase understanding of one of America’s greatest cities. From abolition and the American Revolution to yellow fever and zoos (with cheesesteaks, rowhouses, and hundreds of other topics in between), the digital Encyclopedia and print volume will offer the most comprehensive, authoritative reference source ever created for the Philadelphia region.

CONFERENCE CALENDAR

Oct
4
Sat
8:30 am Preservation in Practice: A Pri... @ Kean University
Preservation in Practice: A Pri... @ Kean University
Oct 4 @ 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
From: New Jersey Historic Trust: This one-day workshop is open to all preservationists, but specifically geared toward those serving on a local commission. This program is designed to benefit both new and experienced commission members as well as being relevant
Oct
6
Mon
9:30 am Greater Philadelphia Visitor Exp... @ Chemical Heritage Foundation
Greater Philadelphia Visitor Exp... @ Chemical Heritage Foundation
Oct 6 @ 9:30 am – 6:30 pm
Organizers of the Greater Philadelphia Visitor Experience Conference have announced the date of their 2014 event.  This year’s conference will be held October 6, 9:30am-6:30pm at the Chemical Heritage Foundation at 315 Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia. Proposals are due by
Oct
9
Thu
4:52 pm 1st Annual African and African D... @ CUNY Staten Island
1st Annual African and African D... @ CUNY Staten Island
Oct 9 @ 4:52 pm – Oct 10 @ 5:52 pm
From H-Net: The African American Studies Program (soon to be African and African Diaspora Studies Program) at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island announces its First Annual AFRICAN AND AFRICAN DIASPORA STUDIES CONFERENCE to be held
Oct
15
Wed
all-day CFP: Learning from the Reservati... @ Deadline
CFP: Learning from the Reservati... @ Deadline
Oct 15 all-day
From MuseWeekly: The National Council for Preservation Education seeks proposals for a conference titled “Learning from the Reservation: Using the Traditional Cultural Place Perspective for Better Decision Making in a Diverse Cultural Landscape.” Deadline: October 15, 2014.  The conference is to highlight
all-day CFP: Society for Applied Anthrop... @ Deadline
CFP: Society for Applied Anthrop... @ Deadline
Oct 15 all-day
From MuseWeekly: The Society for Applied Anthropology seeks proposals for papers, panels, or posters for its 75th annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA on March 24 – 28, 2014. The theme is “Continuity and Change.” Deadline: October 15, 2014. Pre-registration for the conference is

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