WHAT IS PUBLIC HISTORY?
Public history is an interdisciplinary form of scholarship practiced as public service. Public historians help create historical knowledge by sharing authority and inquiry with a variety of partners, including audiences, museum professionals, preservationists, business leaders, and others.
Public historians are trained, first and foremost, as historians –to conduct research, to craft interpretations, and to write well. However, they must also be prepared to work collaboratively with partners for whom an understanding of history can have immediate practical implications. Public historians produce original interpretations that build bridges between scholarship and everyday life by respecting the ways in which their partners and audiences use history, and by balancing professional authority against community needs.*
WHAT WILL WE DO IN THIS CLASS?
We will uncover the practical and theoretical issues concerning the management and development, interpretation, preservation, and presentation of history for public consumption. We focus on public management policies, methods of private ownership, and critical historical issues, including, but not limited to, museum exhibits, historical preservation policies and practices, governance of historical societies and museums, publication practices, historical documentaries (aural and visual), and other elements related to the dissemination of historical interpretations, common historical knowledge, and public memory.
*“What is Public History?” compliments of Denise Meringolo.