Public History Boot Camps at Rutgers-Camden

The boot camps will be offered on April 20 and May 12, 2016.

Designed for historic site administrators, museum curators, librarians and archivists, interpreters, educators, board members, volunteers, and anyone interested in creating history with and for the public, these workshops introduce participants to useful resources and tools, teach vital skills, and share new scholarship and interpretation. They are also wonderful opportunities to share experiences and network with other practitioners in the region.

Assessing Your Collection: New Jersey’s CAPES and Artifact Assessment Program
April 20, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Since 1989, nearly 500 small to mid-sized history organizations with library, manuscript, archival, and photographic holdings have used the CAPES program to chart a practical course for improving collection preservation and research access. Operated by the New Jersey Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference (MARAC) and funded by the New Jersey Historical Commission, CAPES (Caucus Archival Projects Evaluation Service) provides eligible institutions and organizations with free consultancies by professional archivists, who conduct on-site surveys and needs assessments of collections and facilities, formalized in detailed reports.

New Jersey’s new Artifact Assessment Program, offered by the New Jersey Association of Museums, is closely modeled after the successful CAPES program and will complement existing archival surveys. The Artifact Assessment Program seeks to connect collection care professionals with nonprofit historical societies and museums and provides free professional evaluations of collections, storage, and exhibition areas.

This workshop is intended for staff and volunteers at New Jersey’s many small museums, historical societies, and historic sites with archival and artifact collections. It will explore the creation of these programs, their early endeavors, and the programs’ future.  A how-to session will be presented at the end of the workshop for organizations seeking to apply for these free services.

User Experience for Public Historians
May 12, 2016, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

At its core, User Experience (UX) is how your audience feels about using a product, system, or service, whether you’re designing a website, an exhibit, or a toaster. How can you make something useful, easy to use, and enjoyable? How do you know if your target audience is having a good or bad experience?

This workshop will cover the fundamentals of UX, why it matters, and ways to convince others in your organization to invest in this process. We’ll detail a typical UX journey and common methodologies that are useful for museum professionals, from user research and analysis to rapid prototyping and testing—including lean UX techniques you can use with limited time and money. In addition to practicing hands-on skills as a group through a series of practical activities, workshop participants will receive recommendations for books, articles, and other resources to explore further.

For more information about both of these programs, and to register, visit https://march.rutgers.edu/public-history-boot-camp/.