Category: Public History Matters

Filmmaker Chris Padgett recognizes the value of community-based storytelling. His recently released video trailer for Rivertown Anthology: Voices of Beaver County is just the beginning of what promises to be a highly creative and deeply thoughtful ongoing film series about “the people and their stories” in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Padgett’s work falls in line with […]

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It’s the shortest question, and yet the hardest to answer. It challenges public historians in ways that put their knowledge, competence, credibility, and authority on the line. So What? It’s a fair question, of course, but it can unsettle us.  Behind these words is subtext: I don’t care. I’m not interested. This is irrelevant. For […]

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“NFLplayer PatTillman joined U.S. Army in 2002. He was killed in action 2004. He fought 4our country/freedom.” ~President Donald Trump’s 2017 social media comment used to condemn NFL players who protest during the national anthem   “The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart—no matter those views—is what Pat […]

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In our system of government, citizens of each state send politicians to Washington DC as their representatives.  But did you know that states are also represented in our capitol by representative artwork, such as murals, portraits, and paintings reflective of each state’s history. Perhaps the grandest display of state art can be found in the […]

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Most people want to learn the truth about history, even if it rattles common sense or deflates comfortable–but dubious–accounts of history. We recently posted a provocative mini-essay about a particular populist conception of WWII veterans–that they were all heroes. Of course, many were. Some, if we are to be truthful with ourselves, were not. During […]

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“We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization,” read an official statement from the Philadelphia Flyers sports organization.  “As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith’s recording of ‘God Bless America’ from our […]

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History is never over and done with—never complete, never static. Visit a local history museum today, and what you see there has been collected, preserved, interpreted, and presented to us–today (no matter how dusty, musty, and time-worn the exhibit behind glass). We are not time travelers, so the only history we know is happening right […]

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Most public historians assume their displays, exhibits, explications, and events will be received and reviewed intelligently by visitors to their museums and historical sites.  In fact, it is ethical standard practice for public historians to seek critical feedback and commentary on their work; the input helps them improve quality, accuracy, and professionalism. Exhibits, artifact displays, […]

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