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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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Pinterest for Public History

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board to which users “pin” images. With 25 million users and the ability to drive more clicks than any other social media site, including Facebook, Pinterest is an alluring platform for public history. In June I offered a workshop at MARCH aimed at small- to medium-sized organizations with new users who have limited time to devote to social media.

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Star-Spangled Tourism: Nineteenth Century History and Twenty-First Century Heritage at Fort McHenry

Like World War I and the Korean War, the War of 1812 is sometimes termed a ‘forgotten war.’  At the Price of Freedom exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of American History it is grouped alongside the Mexican War, Spanish-American War,

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Home Before The Leaves Fall

“Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Great War 1914-1918,” a collaborative commemoration of World War I by heritage and educational institutions through the City of Philadelphia, kicked off at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on June 26. Peter John Williams, author of a pictorial history, Philadelphia The War Years delivered a talk that highlighted Philadelphia’s importance as the third largest city in the United States at the start of World War I and as a manufacturing powerhouse known as the “workshop of the world.” Nearly 60, 000 Philadelphia men and 2,000 Philadelphia women served in World War I and thousands more worked in factories and shipyards supporting the war effort. A large naval yard, munitions manufacturing, and an aviation training facility transformed Philadelphia during the years of the Great War into fully mobilized war time economy more commonly associated with the World War II home front.

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The Guns of August and The Dogs of War: Remembering and Forgetting America’s Great War

At the time no one knew to call it World War One. In the mid-1910s it was widely termed the ‘Great War’ and later the ‘War To End All Wars,’ an especially ironic name given the role contemporary historians have argued WWI played in precipitating WWII. In fact the History Channel recently aired a three-part series treating the period from the mid-1910s through the mid-1940s as single era of warfare. This way of remembering World War I, as but a small part of a larger history, is common throughout the United States, although in sharp contrast to much of the rest of the English-speaking world.

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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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5 steps to a successful digital history project

In a recent post for Public History Commons, Lara Kelland highlighted “the potential for the democratization of historical knowledge made possible by digital tools and the role of public historians in this process.” Like Kelland, I find the marriage of

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‘On The Way To Cape May': Finding Hidden Histories on a Public Humanities Road Trip

Summertime tourists have been flocking to Cape May to beat the heat for nearly 250 years. Back then most visitors came by boat. Some travelled down the Delaware River from Wilmington, Philadelphia, and points North, while from across Chesapeake Bay came Baltimoreans, residents of Washington DC, and all points South (as well as their slaves). Today many visitors come down the Garden State Parkway (certainly the most direct way for the tourists traveling from New York, New England, and French Canada) but for those starting from Philadelphia or via the Delaware Memorial Bridge there is a better route that offers the opportunity to visit any of several public humanities sites along the way.

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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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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 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

Jan
30
Fri
all-day The Past, Present and Future of ... @ Westminster Choir College
The Past, Present and Future of ... @ Westminster Choir College
Jan 30 – Feb 1 all-day
From MuseumL: To further research on how music scholars, performers, educators, journalists and industry professionals can engage the public,Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey will host a three-day conference on public musicology from January 30 to February
Mar
1
Sun
all-day CFP: Pennsylvania Historical Ass... @ Deadline
CFP: Pennsylvania Historical Ass... @ Deadline
Mar 1 all-day
From H-Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Historical Association invites proposals for its 2015 Annual Meeting to be hosted by Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pennsylvania, October 8-10, 2015. The program committee welcomes and encourages proposals on all aspects of Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic history.
Mar
21
Sat
all-day Art in Architecture/Architecture...
Art in Architecture/Architecture...
Mar 21 – Mar 22 all-day
From H-DC: Latrobe Chapter of The Society of Architectural Historians will hold the 11th Biennial Symposium of the Historic Development of Metropolitan Washington, DC, on March 21-22, 2015 at the Catholic University of America. Paper sessions will be held on the 21st,
Mar
24
Tue
all-day Society for Applied Anthropology... @ Omni William Penn Hotel
Society for Applied Anthropology... @ Omni William Penn Hotel
Mar 24 – Mar 28 all-day
From MuseWeekly: The Society for Applied Anthropology will hold its 75th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from March 24-28, 2015 at the Omni William Penn Hotel.  The theme is Continuity and Change, and planners hope to explore and celebrate the Society’s long
Mar
27
Fri
all-day Annual Conference of the Eastern... @ Rowan University
Annual Conference of the Eastern... @ Rowan University
Mar 27 – Mar 28 all-day
Submitted by Simon Bronner: The Eastern American Studies Association has announced the dates of its annual conference, Land and Sea– Geography, Economy, and Culture in the American Experience, to be held March 27-28, 2015 at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

View Calendar