For Students


HIST 8152 Syllabus – Fall 2018

Course Description

This course introduces the practical considerations and theoretical issues concerning the public management, ownership, and interpretation of historical resources. Emphasis is placed on issues such as resource management policy, museum practice, historical preservation, historical society governance, digital history, and other facets of the dissemination of public memory. We will find out who manages our shared heritage and determine how historians can best contribute to the formulation and preservation of a shared past.

During fall 2018, this course will consider all of these issues through the lens of a public history project oriented around the so-called “Burk Mansion” at 1500 N. Broad St.  The building, owned by Temple University, though long unused, has been identified by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia as requiring an updated statement of historical significance.  We will work together to draft that statement, but also to imagine a new future for the Burk Mansion and to identify steps that your predecessors might take toward making that future a reality.

Course Objectives

  • Identify key themes and issues bearing on the practice of public history.
  • Become familiar with major scholarship concerning public history.
  • Understand multiple facets of public history practice including organizational hierarchies.
  • Meet public history professionals practicing in Philadelphia and beyond.
  • Develop project management and public presentation skills.
  • Learn to collaborate with project partners.
  • Explore new media solutions to common public history problems.

Tentative Reading and Discussion Schedule

Aug. 29: Introductions

Sept. 5:  What is Public History? Why do we Need It?

Kelland, Clio’s Foot Soldiers, read intro and one chapter of your choice.

Frisch, Shared Authority (excerpt)

Rosenzweig and Thelen, The Presence of the Past (excerpt)

Burns, “Not in My Backyard”

Rymsza-Pawlowska, History Comes Alive, Introduction.

Review “How do We Define Public History?” at

** Data Dump 1 (WEB Crawl)



Sept. 12: Place

Hayden, “I: Claiming Urban Landscapes as Public History,” in The Power of Place, 1-81

Review “How to Read a Landscape” at

AASLH Tech Leaflet

** Blog 1 (Burk Mansion)

Sept. 19:  People

Kyvig and Marty, Nearby History


Today we will meet at the Special Collections Resource Center on the ground floor of Paley Library.

Sept. 26:  Memory

Kelman, Misplaced Massacre

** Data Dump 2 (SCRC)

Oct. 3:  Preservation

Hurley, Beyond Preservation, Conclusion and Chapter 2, if time permits

Kyvig and Marty, Nearby History, Chapter 10

Grossi, ““Plan or Be Planned For”: Temple Contemporary’s Funeral for a Home and the Politics of Engagement,” The Public Historian, Vol. 37, No. 2 (May 2015), pp. 14-26

Visit with Patrick Grossi, Director of Advocacy, Greater Philadelphia Preservation Alliance

** Blog 2 (Map or Another Visual Source)

** Group Presentation on Current Knowledge, Process, and Significance, 10 minutes

Oct. 10: Oral History

Leon Fink, “When Community Comes Home to Roost: The Southern Milltown as Lost Cause,” The Journal of Social History 40 (Fall 2006):119-45.

Sherrie Tucker, “When Subjects Don’t Come Out,” Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity, ed. Sophie Fuller and Lloyd Whitesell, 293-310. (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2002): 293-310.

Daniel R. Kerr, “Allan Nevins Is Not My Grandfather: The Roots of Radical Oral History Practice in the United States,” The Oral History Review 43:2 (September 2016): 367–91.

** Data Dump 3 (Newspaper / Census)

Oct. 17: Interpretation

Laura Peers, Playing Ourselves

Ken Yellis, “Fred Wilson, PTSD, and Me: Reflections on the History Wars,” Curator: The Museum Journal 52 (October 2009):333-48.

** Blog 4 (Newspaper)

Oct. 24:  History in Houses

Pustz, Voices from the Back Stairs (excerpts)

Linda Young, “Is There a Museum in the House? Historic Houses as a Species of Museum,” in Museum Management and Curatorship 22:1 (2007): 59-77.

Janice Williams Rutherford and Steven E. Shay, “Peopling the Age of Elegance: Reinterpreting Spokane’s Campbell House–A Collaboration,” The Public Historian 26:3 (Summer 2004): 27-48.

Oct. 31: Midterm Roundup

** Oral History Preliminaries

** Statements of Significance



Nov. 7: The View from Temple


Nov. 14:  Labor

Amy Tyson, Wages of History

Stanton, The Lowell Experiment (excerpt)

Nov. 21: Thanksgiving Break



Nov. 28:  Presenting the Past

Beverly Serrell, Exhibit Labels

** Blog 5 (Interpretive Statement)

Dec. 5:  Final Presentations

Submit final assessment during Final Exam period: Dec. 13-19