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Public History: 25 Years, 5 Questions

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Talk at 25th Anniversary Symposium, University of Massachusetts Public History Program. A

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Public History: 25 Years, 5 Questions

  1. 1. Public History25 years, 5 questionsSteven LubarJohn Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural HeritageBrown UniversitySeptember 2011
  2. 2. Who?What?When?Where?Why?
  3. 3. Who?
  4. 4. UsThemYou
  5. 5. the people in this room, publicUs historians, museum people, interpreters, expertsThemYou
  6. 6. the people in this room, publicUs historians, museum people, interpreters, experts the other, the past, us in theThem past, the “community”, the object of displayYou
  7. 7. the people in this room, publicUs historians, museum people, interpreters, experts the other, the past, us in theThem past, the “community”, the object of display the audience, readers, historicYou site and museum visitors, tourists
  8. 8. Us Them You
  9. 9. Us ( ) Them YouThe first task of every museum is “adding to the happiness, wisdom, and comfort of members of the community.” —John Cotton Dana, 1917
  10. 10. ( ) Us Them You The museum must remain “firmly in the control of a trained elite [to]maintain standards of quality independent of the contingent values of daily life.” Museums “must direct public taste…and not be dictated [to] by it.” —Paul J. Sachs, 1920s
  11. 11. Us ( Them You ) Museums should foster “the ability to live productively in a pluralist society and … contribute to the resolution of the challenges we face as global citizens…In every aspect of their operations and programs, museums must combine a tradition of intellectual rigor with the inclusion of a broader spectrum of our diverse society.” Every aspect of their work should be “supported both by rigorous scholarship and by respect for the many cultural and intellectual viewpoints that museum collections stand for and stimulate.” —AAM’s Excellence and Equity, 1992
  12. 12. ( Us Them ) Traditional Oral History You
  13. 13. ( You Them)Our mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. StoryCorps
  14. 14. ( Us Them ) You“The museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.” National Museum of the American Indian
  15. 15. ( UsThemYou )“The opportunity to help all Americans see just how central African American history is for all of us.” National Museum of African American History and Culture
  16. 16. You (Us) Them“I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions.” Nina Simon, Museum 2.0, 2006
  17. 17. You ( Them )“I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions.” Nina Simon, Museum 2.0, 2006 Us
  18. 18. Us You ( Them )“I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions.” Nina Simon, Museum 2.0, 2006
  19. 19. You ( Them )“I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions.” Nina Simon, Museum 2.0, 2006
  20. 20. Us Them You
  21. 21. Us Them
  22. 22. Us Them You
  23. 23. Us You
  24. 24. Us Them em Th You em h Them T T he Them m T h em
  25. 25. Who?What?When?Where?Why?
  26. 26. What?
  27. 27. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  28. 28. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  29. 29. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  30. 30. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  31. 31. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  32. 32. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  33. 33. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  34. 34. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  35. 35. People? Places? Communities?Things? Authentic? Virtual?Stories? Old? New?
  36. 36. Stories or Things?
  37. 37. Authentic or Accurate?
  38. 38. Real orVirtual?
  39. 39. Context orCommunity?
  40. 40. Dialogue or Lecture?
  41. 41. Old orNew?
  42. 42. Who?What?When?Where?Why?
  43. 43. When?
  44. 44. To o ol d!
  45. 45. To o ol d! To ne wo !
  46. 46. To o ol d!ri Ju gh st t!ne To w o !
  47. 47. Yesterday’s News Current day, too for my parents recent, not “ol skool” history yet “Back in the day” Too Old, not Old of date relevant, not Classic interesting Retro d! gh st o ol t! ! w To Ju o neTo ri
  48. 48. Who?What?When?Where?Why?
  49. 49. Where?
  50. 50. LocalStateRegionalNationalTransnationalGlobal
  51. 51. In the museum?On the Internet?
  52. 52. In the community?At the mall?In the schools?In our space?
  53. 53. Who?What?When?Where?Why?
  54. 54. Why?
  55. 55. Useful
  56. 56. Useful
  57. 57. Useful
  58. 58. Useful
  59. 59. Useful
  60. 60. Useful
  61. 61. Useful
  62. 62. Good for you
  63. 63. Good for you
  64. 64. Good for you
  65. 65. Good for you
  66. 66. Good for you
  67. 67. Good for you
  68. 68. Good for you
  69. 69. Fun
  70. 70. Fun
  71. 71. Fun
  72. 72. Fun
  73. 73. Fun
  74. 74. Fun
  75. 75. Fun
  76. 76. Who?What?When?Where?Why?
  77. 77. Congratulations to the University ofMassachusetts PublicHistory Program on 25 great years!

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