Blog Archives

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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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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MARCH promotes collaboration, innovation, and best practices in public humanities. We publish 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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