Author Archives: Seth Bruggeman

A Return to Things

This summer, I’m finally getting back to things. Literally. After a decade or more of casting my lot almost exclusively with public history, I’m delving back—even if briefly—into the world of material culture studies, which once upon a time was … Continue reading

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RIP Critical Thinking: A Field Report

More news of weak links in American higher education has made the rounds in recent weeks. Researchers tell us that thirty percent of college seniors are no better at writing or thinking critically than they were as freshmen. This revelation … Continue reading

Posted in grants, Leutze, Teaching American History, Temple University | 1 Comment

A Tea Party in Colonial Williamsburg

In a recent Washington Post story, staff reporter Amy Gardner reminds us that history museums play a vital role in ongoing debates about nation and citizenship. Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg has witnessed a recent wave of Tea Party activists who’ve come … Continue reading

Posted in Colonial Williamsburg, museum, Tea Party, Virginia Dare | Leave a comment

America’s “Best Idea” a Good Idea for Today’s History Sites

Ken Burns has done it again. His latest series, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, has bloggers abuzz with paeans to Steven Mather, Shelton Johnson, and other unsung heroes of our national park system. And, like any Burns docudrama, The … Continue reading

Posted in Cliveden, Eastern State Penitentary, JFK National Historic Site, Ken Burns, National Park Service, Shelton Johnson, Steven Mather | 1 Comment

Broken Budget? Bake Bread!

Amid last weekend’s rising rivers and lightening strikes, Hilary and I fled the city and headed south into the Brandywine River Valley. I wanted Wyeth country, but with the afternoon almost gone, we settled for a quick tour of the … Continue reading

Posted in 1876 Centennial Exposition, Brandywine Valley, Bread, Chadds Ford, Charm, Hilary, John Chads, John Chads House, Philadelphia, Wyeth | Leave a comment

de Maistre’s Revenge

In my last post, I mentioned the remarkable influence of context shift on our relationship to everyday objects. If it’s context shift you’re looking for, check out Microsoft’s Photosynth. This server-side visualization software allows you to translate a slew of … Continue reading

Posted in Bill Turkel, panorama, Photosynth | 1 Comment

Big Boats

I had a surprising run in with an old friend early last month while visiting Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport museum. Last November, Mystic hauled the Charles W. Morgan out of the water and laid it up in dry dock for an … Continue reading

Posted in boat, Charles W. Morgan, Connecticut, Mystic Seaport, whaling | Leave a comment

In Search of Birthplaces

In conjunction with a new book project, I’m attempting to compile a comprehensive map of recognized (read: marked and or celebrated) birthplace monuments in the U.S. and beyond. Check out my progress so far and help me fill in the … Continue reading

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Preservation Prevented

I’ve been involved with historic preservation long enough to know that old buildings can disappear fast no matter who values them nor how much. Even so, I still can’t quite believe how quickly the old Shoemaker House vanished. Wreckers razed … Continue reading

Posted in Ambler College, historic preservation, public history, Shoemaker House, Temple University | 12 Comments

The Windows Remember

From time to time my job leads me to local museums and historic sites. It’s a great gig for a museum junky like myself. And, better yet, I occasionally get to see stuff that doesn’t turn up on the usual … Continue reading

Posted in Battle of Germantown, Benjamin Chew, Cliveden, George Washington, National Trust, windows | 1 Comment