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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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Don’t Be Hatin’

Hate. It ends up encompassing a spectrum of negative feelings; from annoyance (like when my cat Diderot upsets the kitchen trash for the upteenth time) to the mind-altering ire that fuels people to maim and kill. The word has become a

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Shutdown After Action Report

I had a post almost ready to put up early in October about that opinion piece by the travel writer who said he hated museums, remember that? Seems a long time ago, now.  Then the shutdown hit and blew all

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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

Sep
18
Thu
all-day Conference: James Logan and the ...
Conference: James Logan and the ...
Sep 18 – Sep 21 all-day
From H-Pennsylvania: The McNeil Center for Early American Studies, The Library Company of Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and Stenton Museum are hosting an international interdisciplinary conference in Philadelphia that reconsiders early Pennsylvania culture in an Atlantic World context. James Logan (1674-1751), Provincial Secretary to the
Sep
19
Fri
all-day CFP: Museums in Action Annual Co... @ Deadline
CFP: Museums in Action Annual Co... @ Deadline
Sep 19 all-day
The planning committee for the Museums in Action Annual Conference has issued a call for proposals. The full call follows.  The conference will be held April 12-14, 2015 in Corning, New York. Sunday’s sessions and workshops will address topics that
Sep
22
Mon
9:00 am Understanding Audiences Workshop @ Middlesex County Community College
Understanding Audiences Workshop @ Middlesex County Community College
Sep 22 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
From H-NJ: In his History News article, “Turning Points: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Change” Balgooy writes that the 2008 economic downturn threatened our cultural institutions, but the issue extends beyond the economy. Surveys over the past thirty years by the National Endowment for
Sep
23
Tue
10:00 am Attack of the Podcasters: A Hand... @ New Castle Public Library
Attack of the Podcasters: A Hand... @ New Castle Public Library
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
From Sustaining Places: Want to learn how to record and edit audio for your small museum or historic site? Podcasting, which is just one application of recording and editing audio, is an inexpensive and easy (really…trust us) way for you to get
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

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