Posts Tagged ‘community’
I was inspired to write this post while teaching a continuing education course called “Perspectives in Renaissance Art History.” Teaching recreational classes for adult learners is a wonderful experience, and it presents a challenge that is quite different than the kind of teaching I have been trained to carry out in the college classroom. Students in continuing education courses are not enrolled for credit or a degree. Rather, they have chosen a low-cost, low commitment class (usually only meeting from one to eight sessions), which promises to offer intellectual and social fulfillment. Instructors must think carefully about the level of rigor that these classes should achieve. I knew that I would be teaching a highly educated and well-traveled group of adult learners. Almost all of them would have attended college; many of them would have taken a class or two in art history during that time. The majority of them would have seen the canonical works of art I planned to show in class. I therefore chose to supplement a traditional survey of Renaissance art with a variety of theoretical frameworks and critical questions in the field. I assigned theory-heavy readings and spent class time discussing images. Read more.
Over the last few weeks I have been turning over in my mind and bouncing off colleagues the idea of admission fees, pro and con. Museum fees are hot button issue for many reasons. Few museums can claim fees are the sole or even the majority of their budget revenue; they are a part of the funding jambalaya that includes—or should include—membership or similar programs, endowment or investment funds, fundraising event proceeds, planned giving gifts, etc. How big a role fees play in funding varies depending on the size of the organization. Read more.
AASLH is looking for examples of creative projects/events museums and sites have done for anniversaries and other milestones that also contributed to economic development in their communities. Please contact Cherie Cook, Senior Program Manager, AASLH if your institution has done something along these lines:
The Woodlands Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
On March 23, 2012, public history and museum studies graduate students, along with emerging professionals in these fields, participated in the second annual Public History Community Forum. Held at the Woodlands Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, PubComm12 featured a number of behind-the-scenes tours, a panel of professional public historians, and lively discussion.
Far left: Jim Mundy, Board President for the Woodlands Cemetery Company
Jim Mundy, Board President for the Woodlands Cemetery Company and Director of the Library and Historical Collections at The Union League, provided a brief history of the site, including its transformation from an expansive private estate and innovative garden to its current status as a National Historic Landmark and active cemetery. PubComm12 attendees broke off into four tours led by staff members; a house tour, a cemetery tour, a landscape tour, and a special “director’s tour” with Executive Director of The Woodlands, Jessica Baumert.
From Left: Robert Lukens, Sarah Rutman, Jessica Baumert, John Petit, Charles Hardy III, Ross Brakman, Sarah Hagarty
After the group reconvened, the panel discussion “Paths to Success” began. Seven professionals from the Mid-Atlantic region offered advice based on their experiences as students and emerging professionals; Jessica Baumert, Executive Director of the Woodlands; John Pettit, Assistant Archivist at the Urban Archives at Temple University; Ross Brakman, Field Study Coordinator for the American Institute for History Education; Sarah Hagarty, Coordinator of Educational Resources and Initiatives at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation; Robert Lukens, President of the Chester County Historical Society; Sarah Rutman, Assistant Registrar and Conservator at the New Jersey State Museum; and Charles Hardy, III, History Professor at West Chester University, Oral and Public History Documentarian, Historical Consultant, and Supervising Historian for ExplorePAHistory.com. An eighth panelist, Lyndsey Brown-Frigm, Executive Director of the Jacobsburg Historical Society was unable to attend.
Approximately 40 students and professionals attended this year's event
The panel was followed by a question and answer period, during which the approximately forty attendees asked the panelists and each other about coursework, internships, and career goals. As the discussion continued, the importance of networks and willing sacrifice emerged, as did the sense that it pays to keep our eyes open, as opportunities may present themselves outside institutions or the academy.
Ideas for next year’s Public History Community Forum are already coming in. Suggestions include hands-on workshops for resume or grant writing, “speed mentoring,” and a ThatCamp inspired “wild card” session that attendees vote on the day of the event.
Part of PubComm’s goals is fostering a public history community and providing opportunities for graduate students and emerging professionals in the region. As such, PubComm12 was organized by a committee comprised of graduate students and recent graduates from La Salle University, Temple University, and Rutgers-Camden.
PubComm12 was made possible by the support of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers-Camden, and the guidance of Dr. Charlene Mires and Dr. Robert Kodosky.
Photo Credits: Adam Clements and Molly Dixon
The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent has reopened with a new exhibition concept, a community history gallery featuring exhibitions designed and curated by neighborhood organizations about the work they do and the contributions they have made to the fabric of life in the city. One goal of this new exhibition gallery concept is to give Philadelphians an active voice in presenting the city’s history based upon historical, social, cultural, intellectual, or political concepts.
The Philadelphia Voices Gallery will present three compelling exhibitions each year that give voice to the ways that Philadelphia’s community and neighborhood based organizations address issues including hunger, violence, homelessness, discrimination, housing, education, immigration, health, environment, and work.
Details on eligibility and selection and information for successful applicants can be found here. The application (PDF) deadline for this cycle of exhibits is June 8, 2012.
Applicants are invited to attend one of three informational meetings prior to submitting their applications. In addition to answering questions about the application process, the meetings will allow applicants to discuss exhibition concepts and learn more about the Philadelphia HIstory Museum’s resources and facilities. The meetings will be held at the museum on April 20, April 21, and May 5, from 1:00-2:00pm. Those interested in attending the meeting should contact Cindy Little at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215.685.4836.
It is February and you know what that means – it is Black History Month. I have never been too keen on the setting aside of particular months for things whether it be Women’s History Month in March or Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. I feel it gives people an excuse to ignore these topics the rest of the year. In the case for the historical recognitions it seems like the same token individuals/artifacts are dusted off (sometimes not even) and brought out for the obligatory exhibit or public program.
In our field if we don’t fall into step with the observance of a particular month for a particular group we could be labeled as out of touch, insensitive, or even worse, bigoted. I have always honed to the belief that if an organization is truly interested in serving the public—we as non-profits are responsible for keeping the public trust after all—it serves all the members of the public all the time. It doesn’t mean that you slip a minority into an exhibit or program to make sure you are hitting some quota, it means you keep your audience in mind at all times. You create programs that reflect your community and you are welcoming to everyone from all backgrounds. It is easy to say but hard to achieve. Not that most of us would want to consciously be unwelcoming, but there are perceptions we all have to manage.
The public is conditioned to expect African American history in February, though is it me or are they less conscious of March being Women’s History Month? So what to do if you want to capitalize on expectations but not appear to be pandering? Have your Black History Month program or exhibit or what-have-you in February but have another one some other month as well. Make sure your exhibits reflect the diversity of your community as much as you can reasonably manage. I understand the challenges this can create. My institution has limited resources relating to African American history (historically the Black population of the area hovers around 10%), though they are improving very slowly.
George Ambush operated a lunch wagon in the 1940s. Popular for its delicious sandwiches Ambush’s business also was known for its catchy slogan, “The six wheeled diner, where service is finer.” Much of his clientele included employees from local Frederick companies like Price Electric and Frederick Iron & Steel, which would coordinate their lunch hours to accommodate the wagon’s schedule. (Photo credit: From the collections of the Historical Society of Frederick County)
Nevertheless, we refuse to use the “we don’t have it, we can’t exhibit it” excuse and have come up with other ways to try to be good stewards of our community’s history. We host lectures, symposia, write articles, and use photos to fill in the gaps we have. At the same time we don’t typically make a big deal over the fact our efforts are specifically focused on Black history or women’s history or any other group’s history. It is all history and has equal importance to the understanding of our community and nation.
A recent thread on a listserv to which I subscribe was entitled “Incorporating the African American Story.” This made me think, are people still “incorporating” Black history? Shouldn’t it be there from the start?
Last week, Philadelphia launched a beta version of Change by Us. The civic engagement platform was initially launched in New York, but is now available to any city under a free open source license. Change by Us is notable for its potential audience, “neighbors, city leaders and response leaders,” who offer support and guidance for community projects.
Change by Us Philly asks the community, “How can we make smarter, safer & greener neighborhoods?” Answering the question is simple; visitors input their idea on an electronic sticky note, which in turn is added to the virtual bulletin board. Scanning the board allows community members to locate ideas for existing projects. By clicking on see more ideas, the visitor can narrow the field by neighborhood, or see the distribution on a map of Philadelphia. There are links to resources and existing projects as well.
Philadelphia leaders involved with the project are Mike DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor, Environmental & Community Resources; Charles Ramsey, Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer; Catherine Wolfgang, Chief Service Officer, Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service; and Claire Robertson-Kraft, Board Chair for Young Involved Philadelphia.
Change by Us Philly was launched by CEOs for Cities, Local Projects, and Code for America, in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia. Change by Us is funded nationally with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Case Foundation.
The Maryland Humanities Council has received the Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize for “Standout in Risk-Taking and Most Demonstrable Community-Changing Outcomes,” from the Federation of State Humanities Council for its “Practicing Democracy” program.
In its first year, “Practicing Democracy” brought Marylanders together for a series of forums, workshops, and interactive events which provided the opportunity for people of different opinions and points of view to come together for passionate, respectful, and effective civic conversation. Programs addressed natural gas extraction, transportation, cultural diversity, and land use and development. The program was supported by the Boeing Charitable Trust. The full press release is available on the MHC website.
The Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize is awarded annually to up to three programs for outstanding work in public humanities. It is awarded to councils for innovative programs that have a significant impact on citizens, organizations, or communities in their states.