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. Who gets to decide? How do we shift our lens to ensure that the history we present in public is as diverse as our communities?
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. Telling those stories means that different narratives about the past might emerge. In a series of workshops, work-sharing, and discussion sessions aimed at staff, board members, and volunteers of museums, historic houses, archives, libraries, as well as schools, participants will be encouraged to consider how they might foster inclusive public histories of our state and region by focusing on a little known person, place, or thing.
Unconferences rely on the expertise of all participants, rather than pre-selected presenters. You are encouraged to propose sessions in advance or on the morning of the conference that will be voted on during the morning of the unconference. Some suggested topics might include, but certainly are not limited to, using material culture to reveal hidden histories, lessons learned from (successful and not-so-successful) community collaborations with communities, ways public history might address contemporary social issues such as mass incarceration, immigration, and police brutality, or the role of archives in defining what counts as history.
In addition to participant-led sessions, four scheduled workshops will take place concurrently. April Hathcock is leading “Coping with Copyright in Public History,” during which participants will learn how to make public domain determinations, conduct fair use analyses, work with Creative Commons licenses, and complete due diligence searches for owners of orphan works. Hathcock is also willing to help you sort out your thorniest copyright questions! Kristyn Scorsone is offering a hands-on workshop for beginners interested in using Historypin, a mapping website that enables its users to tell the history of a community by layering historical images, videos, and sound onto a map. StoryCorps staff will teach you how to use their app to highlight and celebrate the voices of your communities through interview collection, public programming, and the development of locally focused archives and exhibitions. Finally, Erika Halstead will share tips for how to engage constituencies in meaningful discussions about the past.
Registration costs $20 plus a small service fee. You can register on Eventbrite.
In keeping with the broad audience that Untold Histories hopes to gather together, the unconference is sponsored by a coalition that includes the New Jersey Historical Commission, the New Jersey Council on the Humanities, the County of Middlesex, New Jersey, LibraryLinkNJ, Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Science, Rutgers-Newark Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Humanities.