UMass Public History Program

UMass Public History Program Since 1986, the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has provided a vital link between the University and the Commonwealth's wide variety of institutions that preserve and communicate history to the public.
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"Understanding how things got so tense in Minneapolis requires understanding the history of the city’s racial geography....
06/01/2020
George Floyd’s Death and the Long History of Racism in Minneapolis

"Understanding how things got so tense in Minneapolis requires understanding the history of the city’s racial geography." That work, explains public historian Kirsten Delegard, director of Mapping Prejudice (a project that has tracked practices that restricted property in the city "for the exclusive use by white people") shows how “structural racism is really baked into the geography of this city and as a result it really permeates every institution in this city.”

The very intersection where George Floyd was arrested is a historically contested area

Friends, if you have not yet had the opportunity to hear alumna Bethany Groff Dorau's mesmerizing recounting of her effo...
05/30/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: An Inheritance of Grief: Memory, Serendipity, and the Legacy of Two Fallen Soldiers. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Friends, if you have not yet had the opportunity to hear alumna Bethany Groff Dorau's mesmerizing recounting of her efforts to recover and honor the life of Eben Bradbury, a young Marine killed in the #WWI bloody battle of Belleau Wood in 1918, you have a chance TOMORROW! Those of us lucky enough to have heard glimpses of this story know that this one is a "don't miss!" Consider joining this webinar, Sunday May 31, 2020, 11am ET, "An Inheritance of Grief: Memory, Serendipity, and the Legacy of Two Fallen Soldiers," part of the Newburyport Literary Festival (to register: https://bit.ly/2M3gKov). Bethany's 2018 book this subject is A Newburyport Marine in World War I: The Life and Legacy of Eben Bradbury. See you there!

Historian Bethany Groff Dorau and journalist Jessica Pearce Rotondi, both from West Newbury, share the experience of deep engagement with fallen soldiers whose loss haunted and fractured families for generations. For Dorau, author of A Newburyport Marine, a chance encounter led to the discovery of i...

05/29/2020
A Time to Remember | Historic New England

Our colleagues at Historic New England are among the institutions hoping to document impacts of the current health crisis, with a particular focus on home. Do you have a story to tell? An image to share? Consider contributing to the history of our region.

Home in the midst of COVID-19 can also mean school, office, entertainment center, and hospice. The crisis and its financial impact may result in the loss of home for many. We want to know how your home life has changed because of the pandemic.

At "a deeper level, the battle is over how individuals and families will remember their personal experiences with COVID-...
05/28/2020
Guest columnist David Glassberg: Instant COVID histories and a pending election

At "a deeper level, the battle is over how individuals and families will remember their personal experiences with COVID-19 and place them within a larger context. Memories shared among family and friends gain a powerful conversational truth. Although these intimate collective memories can be influenced by political ads and stories heard in the mass media, they have the quality of being authentic and real, because they are." Our always-thoughtful program founder David Glassberg on memory, Covid19, and the future of American politics.

Although we are not even halfway through the current health and economic crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not too early to consider how it will be remembered. Not years from now — that is the responsibility of future generations — but...

A note for friends south of us in Connecticut: The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is offering Stewardship Rel...
05/28/2020
Stewardship Relief Grant

A note for friends south of us in Connecticut: The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is offering Stewardship Relief Grants of up to $1,000 to Connecticut 501(c)3 nonprofit to help safeguard historic resources during the pandemic. Click through for more info.

New! Apply for funding to help pay for basic utilities and maintnenance bills for designated historic resources

05/27/2020

From Historians Cooking the Past to baking with Historic Deerfield's makers blog, it's been fun to see public historians exploring food as a vehicle for discovery and interpretation. What are you making these days?

ICYMI: "The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum commun...
05/26/2020
American Alliance of Museums and Museum Hue Unveil Partnership

ICYMI: "The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, and Museum Hue, an organization that has become a force in their advocacy for people of color in the museum field, today unveiled a strategic partnership focused on racial equity in the field."

For Immediate Release ARLINGTON, VA and New York, NY—The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, and Museum Hue, an organiza…

05/25/2020

We have been glad to hear how our museum-based alumni have been responding to the current health crisis, and Memorial Day seems like a good time to share word from Carl Herzog, public historian at USS Constitution Museum. Carl tells us they have launched an initiative called Museum Inside-Out -- bringing the museum and its experiences to would-be visitors who can't come to the site. Each week explores a theme in the museum's collection and interpretation. This week they'll also launch the "Maritime Movie Club;" participants watch a movie online, then the museum hosts a Zoom conversation about the movie, its elements of maritime history and relationships to USS Constitution. They're starting on Friday, May 29 (6 pm) with a discussion of "Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World," a movie rife with material connected to the history of USS Constitution. Sound like fun! Check their page for how to join in!

05/25/2020
"Girls in the Wonder House" by Jessie Swigger - NCPH 2020

Check out this fascinating presentation on children's museums by Jessie Swigger, Associate Professor and Director of Public History at Western Carolina University, which was created for the National Council on Public History - NCPH #NCPH2020 conference, for the panel "Studying Marginalized Populations: A Girlhood Case Study."

This presentation by Jessie Swigger, Associate Professor and Director of Public History at Western Carolina University, was created for the National Council ...

05/22/2020
Historic Deerfield Library

Happy anniversary today to our friends at Historic Deerfield, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the library there, dedicated OTD in 1970! The dedication of the "Heritage Foundation Library" coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Today, Deerfield's "Memorial Libraries" makes available the collections of both the PVMA and Historic Deerfield--endless research possibilities for historians in the Valley!

ICYMI: our alumna Li Na, is in the pages of The Public Historian! Her article "traces the genealogy of museum developmen...
05/20/2020

ICYMI: our alumna Li Na, is in the pages of The Public Historian! Her article "traces the genealogy of museum development in China, and argues that the birth of the modern museum in China is a product of the radicalism of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries."

Welcome to the UMass Department of History Virtual Celebration of the Graduate Program! Please join us in celebration of...
05/19/2020

Welcome to the UMass Department of History Virtual Celebration of the Graduate Program! Please join us in celebration of our graduate students and the department!

"We are sad not to be able to gather in person this May to celebrate our terrific grad program but hope you will join us in congratulating our students in our 2020 virtual awards ceremony!

umass.edu/history/2020-grad-celebration

The ceremony is available *now* through Friday, May 22 at 6pm on the history department website (see link) and Twitter (@UMassHistory).

Please join in on applauding and congratulating everyone recognized here!"

Hello to our UMass Amherst History Department community! We are sad not to be able to gather in person this May to celebrate our terrific grad program but hope you will join us in congratulating our students in our 2020 virtual awards ceremony!

umass.edu/history/2020-grad-celebration

The ceremony is available *now* through Friday, May 22 at 6pm on the history department website (see link) and Twitter (@UMassHistory).

Please join in on applauding and congratulating everyone recognized here!

A lawsuit, filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), and the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Pro...
05/17/2020
Lawsuit Seeks Removal Of Trump Lands Appointees

A lawsuit, filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), and the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project, "takes aim at the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Neither agency has had permanent, Senate-confirmed directors during the entire Trump presidency."

In a lawsuit filed Monday, conservationists allege the Trump administration's unprecedented use of non-confirmed directors at the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management violates law.

ICYMI (h/t National Council on Public History - NCPH Public History News Update): "One of the many historic sites advers...
05/16/2020
COVID-19 May Permanently Shutter Museum Devoted to Vaccination Pioneer

ICYMI (h/t National Council on Public History - NCPH Public History News Update): "One of the many historic sites adversely affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic is the Edward Jenner house in the southwest of England. Jenner, an English doctor, inoculated thousands against smallpox from his 'Temple of Vaccinia' and coined the term ‘vaccination.’ Now the chronically-underfunded historic property, 'one of the most important sites in the history of medicine,' is ironically in danger of closing permanently."

In an ironic twist, Edward Jenner’s historic house is struggling to outlast the financial toll of being closed

Richard Gilder, philanthropist and supporter of public history, has passed away at age 87. Gilder helped restore Central...
05/16/2020
Richard Gilder, Donor to Parks, Museum and History, Dies at 87

Richard Gilder, philanthropist and supporter of public history, has passed away at age 87. Gilder helped restore Central Park and the @nyhistory and cofounded The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Read more about his many contributions below.

A successful investor, he was a major benefactor of Central Park, the New-York Historical Society and the Museum of Natural History.

Everyone at UMass Public History is sorry that this important exhibition at the @NationalBuildingMuseum did not open tod...
05/15/2020
Today Is the Day - National Building Museum

Everyone at UMass Public History is sorry that this important exhibition at the @NationalBuildingMuseum did not open today as planned. We were honored to have had a small window on the exhibit's development, in the travels of Professor Miller with curator Sarah A. Leavitt and the remote internships of two of our students. We still plan to bring Dr. Leavitt to out Fall Public History foundation seminar, whether in person or virtually, to talk about this work. Until then, we share Dr. Leavitt's sense of loss, in this as well as all the exhibits and other initiatives that are not unfolding as planned this year.

By Sarah Leavitt Part of an occasional series on previous and future Museum exhibitions by Sarah, a curator now working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Today is the day an exhibition should have opened. Today, Museum staff should have been mildly panicked, preparing for a press preview of...

Those who wish to contribute to a fund in Rob's memory to continue his work at Special Collections and University Archiv...
05/15/2020
Robert S. Cox, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Dies at Age 61

Those who wish to contribute to a fund in Rob's memory to continue his work at Special Collections and University Archives, the Robert S. Cox Special Collections Fund (https://bit.ly/2Z84PgM) has been established in his honor.

Robert S. Cox, head of Special Collections and University Archives at the UMass Amherst Libraries for the past 16 years, died May 11 after an extended illness. He was 61 years old.

The National Council on Public History - NCPH is hoping to learn how best they might "support the people who work so har...
05/15/2020
COVID-19 Survey for Public Historians

The National Council on Public History - NCPH is hoping to learn how best they might "support the people who work so hard to put history to work in the world." Please consider participating in the survey to assess how our national professional association can be most helpful as our field navigates these challenging times.

Take this survey powered by surveymonkey.com. Create your own surveys for free.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the tragically un-remembered police shootings of Black college students at Jackson S...
05/15/2020
Remembering the Jackson State Tragedy

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the tragically un-remembered police shootings of Black college students at Jackson State. On May 15, 1970, just after midnight, all-white police officers opened fire on a group of students in front of a women's dorm at the historically Black university, injuring 12 and killing two students.

"If the shootings at Kent State University have been misrepresented and misremembered, the targets of the deadly assault by law enforcement at Jackson State College have been twice victimized, their story erased from the nation’s public narrative, their trauma largely forgotten," writes Nancy K. Bristow.

The tragic event was largely overcast by the infamous killing of students at Kent State 11 days before, but "the violence was not caused by student protest against the Vietnam War but was instead another chapter in the long history of state violence against African Americans, a story inseparable from the victims’ identities as young black people attending college in America’s most racially repressive state."

The violence wasn’t caused by anti-war student protest; it was another chapter in the long history of state violence against African Americans.

A flattering portrait of Norman Rockwell: "Enamored of history, figure, narrative, and scene — “The story is the first t...
05/14/2020
Where Norman Rockwell honed his American vision - The Boston Globe

A flattering portrait of Norman Rockwell:

"Enamored of history, figure, narrative, and scene — “The story is the first thing, and the last thing,” as Rockwell once said, was maybe the closest he ever came to dogma — he fell victim to a moment furiously carving out a revolutionary future just as it erased the past, or at least to view it with palpable disdain. Rockwell loved the past . . . . He saw in the old masters a tradition of humanism that the swelling avant-garde thoroughly lacked, with its rough, gestural language and distaste for the human form. Rockwell wanted to paint scenes of daily American life as Rembrandt had: With a mythic quality, elevating the everyday to something nearing the sacred."

The Norman Rockwell Museum is currently closed due to Covid-19, but you can explore their virtual museum, including the Norman Rockwell in the Age of the Civil Rights Movement (https://www.nrm.org/).

The artist we know began to take shape on a farm in Arlington, Vt.

During a field trip to the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, a group of middle school students experienced racist comments f...
05/13/2020
After Racism Claims, Boston Museum Creates Diversity Fund

During a field trip to the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, a group of middle school students experienced racist comments from a museum worker. The museum has since created a $500,000 fund for promoting diversity and will also "implement an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy."

The $500,000 fund comes a year after black students said they had been subjected to racist remarks by employees and patrons at the Museum of Fine Arts.

05/12/2020
Mattatuck Museum | Art Exhibitions & Educational Programs in CT

Congratulations to 2020 UMass Amherst Public History Program graduate Rachel Panasci Lima for landing a new position as Director of Youth and Family Programming at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT. We look forward to visiting the museum when it reopens to the public. https://www.mattmuseum.org

American art and history museum offering a permanent art collection, rotating exhibitions, special events, and family programming in Waterbury, CT.

Check out this interview with Professor Naomi Oreskes, who teaches the History of Science at Harvard, on the relationshi...
05/12/2020
Science, Politics, And The Coronavirus: 'A Tragedy of Denial'

Check out this interview with Professor Naomi Oreskes, who teaches the History of Science at Harvard, on the relationship between science and political power and their increasingly contentious relationships.

"What we've seen in the last few weeks and months is . . . a fault line that already existed for the last 40 years or so in the United States. We've seen the growth of what my colleagues and I call 'implicatory denial' — people who reject scientific evidence, not because there's anything wrong with the science, but because they don't like its implications. And the place we've seen this most clearly, and the reason why it lines up with partisan politics, is because a lot of scientific evidence in the area of environmental science and public health points to the need for government interventions to address the problem. This clashes with the conservative ideology of personal responsibility and limited government."

WBUR spoke with Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard professor of the history of science, to help explore the historical context of conflict between science and politics in regard to the coronavirus.

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Comments

When the going gets tough, public historians get.......cooking? Please consider sharing a story, recipe, and/or reflection about cooking in the time of the coronavirus. Follow along as we chart this unprecendented moment in our kitchens..........https://www.facebook.com/historianscookingthepast/ Thanks!
Want to spend time in Western MA this summer? Public History alum seeking a petsitter in Greenfield! Click on pic for contact information or FB message me.....
A relatively new museum and research institute in L.A. with lots of online access to the archives.
Here's a great piece about history unfolding in the present and things to look out for, including the need for continuous education to adapt and maintain relevance.
Here's a short piece on restoration strategies. Beyond this article, it appears professionals are frequently favoring authentic wear and tear that shows history rather than refurbishing vehicles to look newer than when they were made. This attitude seems to be trending beyond automobiles and is a relevant consideration for any type of artifacts.
Museum folk: Discuss! :-)
For people interested in the history of technology this Antique Machinery Show is an amazing event this weekend.
All are welcome, and I think it will be relevant to those in your program! https://www.facebook.com/events/1098790896941651/?active_tab=discussion Registration: http://survey.fitchburgstate.edu/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=l6K1mm35
Fantastic article, makes me excited to return to school this fall and dive deeper into public history: