August 31, Week 1 What is Public History?

Set up for class and class project – Public History and Public Health: The Spanish Flu in Philadelphia

 Google Drive

  • “Expertise” assignments
  • Professional associations AASLH (review technical leaflets on exhibit design!); NCPH, etc.
  • Begin to define roles for research and development of a pop-up exhibit
  • Read over schedule looking for deadlines: immediate needs 1) visit a museum to document a good and bad exhibit label; 2) read begin reading Barry

Create and Post to Reading Blog: Introduce yourself due by September 1, send me a link to your blog and initial entry.


 September 7, Week 2: Public History in Theory

Carolyn Kitch, Pennsylvania in Public Memory

Rosenzweig and Thelen, The Presence of the Past, ( read intro and browse through the rest)

Denise Meringolo, Museums, Monuments, and National Parks: Toward a New Genealogy of Public History, and “Prologue: A New Kind of Technician—In Search of the Culture of Public History.”

**Post to Reading Blog by Wednesday, noon

**Connect with the Public History Commons at

Recommended: Ian Tyrrell, Historians in Public: The Practice of American History, 1890-1970, Chapters 1-2


September, 14 Week 3: Spanish Influenza and Today

John M. Barry, The Great Influenza; AND Thomas Wirth, “Urban Neglect”

**Meet at City of Philadelphia, Division of Disease Control, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

500 South Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19146

*Please let me know if you anticipate any difficulty getting there.

Read Barry closely for Philadelphia, places, dates, sources, and timelines.  Make a list of ten questions you have for Public Health Professionals that would help you understand the contexts for contagious disease control today as compared to 1918. 

**Post questions and responses to Barry and Wirth to Reading Blog by Wednesday, noon




September, 21 Week 4: Exhibits, Part I

Polly McKenna-Cress and Janet Kamien, Creating Exhibitions

 In Class: Next Steps, Assignments and Advocacies

  • Brainstorming 


September 28, Week 5: Exhibits, Part II

Beverly Serrell, Exhibit Labels

 *By class time, visit a Museum, take a photograph of the worst and best exhibit display/label/panel; dump into our class folder labeled “Exhibit Labels”

Assignment 1: due Wednesday, September 27: Sketch out your ideas for an exhibit on the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia.  Write up

  • A preliminary plan for what you’d design, with a big idea, themes, and one panel script ( two pages)
    1. Include a sample label for an object image for athe panel script
  • Describe your audience (1 paragraph)
  • Describe the DDC Themes as you understand them (1 para)
  • Create a simple timeline for completion of the entire project
  • Develop a rough list of needs (both items and services) (1 page, and figure ~ $2,500 budget)
  • What are your site recommendations for the project (1 para)
  • include at least one sample label for an object image for a panel of your exhibit (1 page).

Make sure to use Creating Exhibitions and Exhibit Labels as guides for what you’d produce.

**Post your reflections on Creating Exhibitions and Assignment 1 to your Reading Blog by Wednesday midnight and please post a copy in the Assignment 1 file on the Google Drive as well.


October 5, Week 6: Small Group Workshop II (MEET ON YOUR OWN)

Read through AASHL Technical Leaflet on Exhibits and Tips for working in groups

 Meet with your own in small groups to design a pop-up exhibit plan

Assignment 2: As a group: turn in an edited version what you’ve produced together as a group (following guidelines for Assignment 1, but creating the script for 2 panels that you have developed around themes/big idea(s) in your small group)  to me by October 11.  Turn in Assignment 2 file on the Google Drive. As an individual: turn in a one-page assessment of what you and your group produced, which outlines your process and reflections upon it.  Send this second portion of the assignment to me by email.


October 12, Week 7: Understanding Place and Preservation

Hurley, Beyond Preservation.

Hayden, “I: Claiming Urban Landscapes as Public History,” in The Power of Place (~3 total chapters), 1-81

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

**Post for Reading Blog by Wednesday, noon


October 19 Week 8: Art/History Curation at Museums / Locating Difficult Pasts

Lubin, David M. “Labyrinths of Meaning in Vanderlyn’s Ariadne,” Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994, 1-54;

Wallach, Alan “The Battle over ‘The West as America’” Exhibiting Contradiction: Essays on the Art Museum in the United States, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998, 105-117;

Truettner, William H, “Storming the Teocalli—Again: Or, Further thoughts on Reading History Paintings.” American Art 9.3 (Autumn 1995): 56-95;

Edward T. Linenthal, “Anatomy of a Controversy,” in Linenthal and Tom Englehardt, eds., History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996);

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

***Meet at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

**Post to Reading Blog after visit to PAFA


October 26 Week 9: Oral History

Sommer and Quinlan, The Oral History Manual.

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.

***Come to class with 5 key questions for an oral history project of your design

  • In class: Oral History interviews with peers

**Post to Reading Blog, by Wednesday, noon



 November 2, Week 10: Public History as Labor

Reading: Tyson, Wages of History

3:30-4:30 Workshop with Jim Kopaczewski?

**Post to Reading Blog, by Wednesday, noon


November 9, Week 11: Grassroots Museums 

Andrea Burns, From Storefront to Monument

Aileen Novick, curator at the Hempsted Houses, Connecticut Landmarks, New London, Connecticut. TEAS guest speaker, MEET in Weigley Room

2:00-3:30 in the Weigley Room

**Post to Reading Blog after class about Novick’s talk


November 16, Week 12: Current Professionals Panel and Workshop

For class, review recent award winning or other excellent and interesting public history projects, exhibits, digital works, performances, etc.

**Post to your blog about what you find and include a list of questions for your panelists.

ALSO:  Prepare for our Design Workshop by reviewing materials we’ve read on exhibits, and having questions ready.

2:00-3:00 Panel

3:30-4:30 Exhibit Design Workshop


Assignment 3 DUE (Nov. 17th-ish)

Write your own plan for a pop-up exhibit:

  • Sketch out an narrative outline that “pitches” your exhibit and its key themes (THE PITCH – 1 page)
  • Describe how you’d display these themes in a  mobile exhibit (DESIGN – 1 Page)
  • Edit our existing script as you see fit or write a new one (PANELS – 6-8 Panels limited to 200-250 words each)
  • Make a timeline for completion of the plan by the centennial (1 page)
  • Outline a budget that would fall under $4,000.00 (1 page)*
  • Include your site recommendations for the exhibit (1 page)
  • Outline a brief Public Relations plan for the exhibit (1 page)

*See sample budget in Google drive


November 20-24, Week 13: FALL BREAK


November 30, Week 14:

Meet at Philadelphia Health Department Final Presentations to Public Health Department staff and others: Each student should develop a 10 minute presentation, with visuals (ideally via PowerPoint or other accessible media).  Make a strong clear argument about your design and how it fits their requirements and how it makes a challenging and coherent argument about Philadelphia during the Spanish flu.  Consider carefully how the exhibit would fit our working definitions of “good public history.”

**Post to Reading Blog after meeting


December 7, Week 15: 

Letting Go (ed. Bill Adair)

**Post to Reading Blog

December 14: **Submit Final Reflection Essay and Portfolio (See description above