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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Operating as usual

“Public history courses offer educators the opportunity to highlight the experiences of local communities of color or ot...
02/19/2021
Centering African American history in a public history course | National Council on Public History

“Public history courses offer educators the opportunity to highlight the experiences of local communities of color or other marginalized groups. In this case, centering African American history educates students about the diversity, longevity, and beauty of Black people, and the timeliness of their stories.”

In a new post for the NCPH blog [email protected], alum Dr. Felicia Jamison (Ph.D. ’17) provides an inside look at her course "African American History as Public History," which "considers how museums, historic sites, films, public school lesson plans, and the broader public have interpreted African American history since the late nineteenth century."

Check out the many readings and projects mentioned in her post, including the "Social Justice & Museum Resource List," edited by La Tanya S. Autry: https://bit.ly/3pwBNRP

https://ncph.org/history-at-work/centering-african-american-history-in-a-public-history-course/

I first became interested in public history as a child. My church often had events that celebrated Black history. And at least once a year, my schools would create bulletin boards highlighting the achievements of African Americans. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I kne...

Public history professor Sam Redman spoke to VICE recently about Harvard University's announcement formally apologizing ...
02/12/2021
UMass Department of History

Public history professor Sam Redman spoke to VICE recently about Harvard University's announcement formally apologizing for collecting the remains of 15 individuals of African descent who may have been enslaved, as well as the university's intention to research and possibly repatriate the remains.

Professor Redman's 2016 book "Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums" explores this topic further: https://bit.ly/3aWZKfS

Read the full article below ⬇

In a recent article in Vice, Associate Professor Sam Redman discusses the historical context and impact of Harvard University's announcement formally apologizing for the collection of the remains of 15 individuals of African descent who may have been enslaved as well as their intention to research and possibly repatriate the remains.

“From the beginning, the collection of human remains has been “ego-driven and political in important ways,” Redman said, “and in ways I think we should continue to confront.”

Read more on the history of human remains collection by academic institutions, and efforts to repatriate them here:
https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkdvwb/harvard-finds-possible-remains-of-enslaved-people-in-its-collection-of-dead-bodies?fbclid=IwAR061gVh7RHqd0G8lUSJe259sk8l50BYoZ2OvBKuoW5oB5-lTfNCf899MZ8

02/09/2021

Alum Rebekkah Rubin (M.A., '17) is taking over the National Council on Public History - NCPH Instagram this week -- hop on over to their account (@ncph) to follow along!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLCT0awJsbi/

How do you tell the stories of ephemeral, collective “monuments”? What traces do they leave, and what duty do we have to...
02/08/2021
Institute for Ideas & Imagination

How do you tell the stories of ephemeral, collective “monuments”? What traces do they leave, and what duty do we have to collect and preserve traces of a historical moment?

Join the Institute for Ideas & Imagination and others on February 11th for a virtual program diving into questions of memory, memorialization, archiving, and more:

Please join us next Thursday, February 11th for "Paper Trails: Memorials in an Age of Anxiety," featuring #NoraPhilippe and #SarahGensburger. Organized in partnership with Columbia Global Centers l Paris and the Columbia University in the City of New York Alliance Program , and co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française, this event aims to ask such questions as: How does one tell the story of ephemeral, collective “monuments”? What traces do they leave, and what duty does one have to collect and preserve traces of an historical moment? Are these fragments of memory a new way of writing a “people’s history,” distinct from traditional stone and marble monuments? How do these paper memorials enable us to honor the victims of today, while writing history for the citizens of tomorrow?

For more information on the event, or to sign up, click here:

Important information regarding UMass Amherst Libraries and Special Collections and University Archives, Du Bois Library...
02/08/2021
Resources for Remote Learning and Instruction | UMass Amherst Libraries

Important information regarding UMass Amherst Libraries and Special Collections and University Archives, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst's services, which will be fully remote through February 19:

https://www.library.umass.edu/about-the-libraries/covid-19-updates/?fbclid=IwAR1EmajTu7SfChjy0dvPXMozztcY28Uh5ZChmU9M7_t0zxgKAaM_TSEPv38

On the occasion of W. E. B. Du Bois's birthday, this panel celebrates the centennial of the remarkable and short-lived 'The Brownies' Book' (1920-1921), the periodical for Black children edited by Du Bois, Jessie Fauset, and Augustus Granville Dill.

We are thrilled to see the official launch of the Black Presence Initiative, a series of actions designed to "document t...
02/06/2021
UMass Amherst Launches Black Presence Initiative

We are thrilled to see the official launch of the Black Presence Initiative, a series of actions designed to "document the authentic lived and living experiences of Black community members, as well as create a space for celebrating our campus history.”

Last semester, students in the Intro to Public History course had the opportunity to work on the Initiative’s oral history project, guided by Professor John Bracey and graduate student Erika Slocumb from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. A living history website highlighting these interviews will launch this summer.

Other components of the Initiative include re-naming the
UMass Fine Arts Center for former Chancellor Randolph Bromery and a virtual guided tour of campus developed by Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, director of the W E B Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst.

We are excited to stay tuned and see this initiative grow!

https://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/umass-amherst-launches-black-presence

UMass Amherst has launched a new Black Presence Initiative. The Initiative, spearheaded by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, is coordinating a series of actions designed to document and honor the contributions of Black students, faculty and staff to the campus.

How do #museums and #publichistory platforms tell stories of the U.S./Mexico border? On February 16th, join curator Dr. ...
02/05/2021

How do #museums and #publichistory platforms tell stories of the U.S./Mexico border?

On February 16th, join curator Dr. Sarah Leavitt and UMass Public History Program director Dr. Marla Miller as they discuss several recent examples, including border-related nominations to the National Register of Historic Places in El Paso and a public art project documenting migrant deaths.

Register for this free, virtual event here: bit.ly/36KQRVg

Even as President Biden’s recent executive order on January 20th halted construction on the border wall, it still looms large as a prime example of the potential of the built environment to impact peoples’ lives.

The program will conclude with a preview of the National Building Museum's upcoming exhibition The Wall/El Muro: What is a Border Wall?, curated by Leavitt, which “will situate the wall in the wider, international context of shifting borderlines, the early construction of border fences, and old and new border walls throughout the world.”

Image: Border wall and Monument #1 at Sunland Park, New Mexico. Photo courtesy Sarah Leavitt and Marla Miller.

02/01/2021
Feinberg Series

Happening now: Join us for "Young People Fighting for Climate Justice," the 2021 James Baldwin Lecture and a Feinberg Series event co-presented by the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies (UMass Amherst AfroAm ), UMass Department of History, and the College of Humanities & Fine Arts at UMass Amherst

WE'RE LIVE!

Join us for the 2021 Baldwin Lecture with Vanessa Nakate and Varshini Prakash ’15, moderated by Toussaint Losier

Young people have transformed the climate and environmental movement. Youth of color and youth from the Global South have been especially central in this process. Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and executive director of the Sunrise Movement Varshini Prakash ‘15 reflect on their personal experiences in the movement and share their organizing strategy, insights, and visions for the world they’re fighting to win.

A powerful collection of "relevant, revelatory, and revolutionary" speeches and sermons by Dr. King to explore on this #...
01/18/2021

A powerful collection of "relevant, revelatory, and revolutionary" speeches and sermons by Dr. King to explore on this #MLKDay :

A #list of #MLK #speeches and #sermons in which he speaks truth to power, shares about his philosophy of nonviolence and expounds on issues of injustice and what our righteous, rigorous response should be. Relevant. Revelatory. Revolutionary. #MLKDay #BelovedCommunity

“It's more difficult today because we are struggling now for genuine equality. And it's much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee a livable income and a good solid job.” From ‘The Other America.’ https://youtu.be/dOWDtDUKz-U

“This problem of spiritual and moral lag, which constitutes modern man's chief dilemma, expresses itself in three larger problems which grow out of man's ethical infantilism.” From #MLK’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, ‘The Quest for Peace and Justice’
https://youtu.be/CzMFOljSYIk

From ‘Paul’s Letter to American Christians’: “Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.”
https://youtu.be/7p5iOhXumaQ

Not a speech or a sermon, but an interview in which Dr. King shares powerfully and brilliantly.
https://youtu.be/D7Y8Q9nSK5A

“I never intend to adjust myself to racial segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to religious bigotry...” Brief, but still #MLK. Are you maladjusted and proud?
https://youtu.be/hhCtkfImxuE

#MLK in 1967, sounding like he’s talking in 2021: “And so the collision course is set. The people cry for freedom and the congress attempts to legislate repression.” From ‘The Three Evils of Society.’
https://youtu.be/6sT9Hjh0cHM

‘Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.’ Please spend some time with it. “If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over.”
https://youtu.be/AJhgXKGldUk

And now, ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’ A masterpiece. “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.”
https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

UMass Department of History
01/15/2021
UMass Department of History

UMass Department of History

A recent article in the Berkshire Eagle discusses yesterday’s panel of History Department, UMass Journalism Department, and UMass Amherst Department of Political Science faculty who provided reflection and analysis on the events in Washington D.C. on January 6th.

“Collective violence reflects deep and complex causes, such as its perpetrators’ assessments of their status in relation to others, said John Higginson, a professor emeritus of history.”

To read more about what the panelists - including Prof. Chris Appy, and Professor Emeritus John Higginson - discussed as well as insights provided by our colleague Prof. Asheesh Siddique, follow the link below:

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/historical-forces-at-play-in-capitol-siege-western-mass-scholars-say/article_f9606412-56c3-11eb-a80d-97d9b31b7598.html

Thank you to the College of Humanities & Fine Arts at UMass Amherst the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences UMass Amherst, and UMass Amherst for sponsoring this important event.

“At this dark junction in our nation’s history, museums must lean into their missions and step up to the challenge ahead...
01/14/2021
American Alliance of Museums

“At this dark junction in our nation’s history, museums must lean into their missions and step up to the challenge ahead of us by fighting against white supremacy through educating our communities, building empathy, combating disinformation, and uplifting the stories and voices that have endured in the margins.

As interpreters and educators of history and culture, museums and museum professionals have the power to uphold democracy and democratic norms, call out bigotry and hate, and fight for racial justice.”

Read the American Alliance of Museums full statement on last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol below ⬇️

The violence and chaos in our nation’s capital on January 6 was horrifying and reprehensible, and a clear attack on our democracy and society. At this dark junction in our history, museums must step up to the challenge ahead of us.

Read our full statement: https://www.aam-us.org/2021/01/08/aam-statement-on-the-violence-at-the-us-capitol/

Association of Art Museum Directors
American Association for State and Local History
Association of Children's Museums
Association of Science and Technology Centers
CAJM: Council of American Jewish Museums

Students in Professor Marla Miller's spring seminar on the "Art and Craft of Biography" will be reading Honorée Fanonne ...
12/28/2020
Revolution 250 Podcast

Students in Professor Marla Miller's spring seminar on the "Art and Craft of Biography" will be reading Honorée Fanonne Jeffers' biography-in-verse "The Age of Phillis."

To learn more about Phillis Wheatley, the nation's first published African-American poet, check out this recent episode of the Revolution250 podcast to hear performer and public historian Valerie Foxx discuss her work bringing Wheatley to life for contemporary audiences: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1336051

Revolution 250 is a consortium of organizations in New England planning commemorations of the American Revolution's 250th anniversary. https://revolution250.org/Through this podcast you will meet many of the people involved in these commemoration...

#DismantlePreservation's “(un)Official 40 Under 40” list is full of impactful leaders in historic preservation, includin...
12/18/2020
Dismantle Preservation: (un)Official 40 under 40 — Sarah Marsom

#DismantlePreservation's “(un)Official 40 Under 40” list is full of impactful leaders in historic preservation, including Cheyney McKnight, a 2019 Charles K. Hyde Visiting Practitioner and founder of Not Your Momma's History, who spoke with UMass public history students last April.

Check out the list and be inspired by this generation of professionals who are pushing preservation in new directions: https://www.sarahmarsom.com/dismantle-preservation-40-under-40

“Adesbah Foguth is Diné, a member of the Navajo Nation, and of the Two Waters Flow Together Clan. Adesbah holds a BA in English & Philosophy and masters degree in Public Archaeology from the University of New Mexico. She has worked as a public school teacher on the Navajo Nation, as an archaeolog...

Join our neighbors at The Emily Dickinson Museum in celebrating the renowned Amherst poet's 190th birthday tomorrow 🎉The...
12/09/2020

Join our neighbors at The Emily Dickinson Museum in celebrating the renowned Amherst poet's 190th birthday tomorrow 🎉

The museum has a variety of virtual activities planned, including at-home craft demos, music, and the premier of videos from their “My Emily Dickinson” story collecting project. The free program begins tomorrow (12/10) at 12pm EST, register here: https://bit.ly/3qGP7Vp

And check out the Facebook event for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/668058863899267/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22search_results%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22search%22%7D]%7D

Emily's 190th birthday is tomorrow!! Almost 800 people from 34 countries have already registered to participate in the festivities so far! We're so excited to celebrate with all of you!

If you haven't registered yet, get on it! Check out the Emily Dickinson Birthday Celebration event page, or our website, here: https://bit.ly/3qGP7Vp

11/30/2020

Today at 4:30pm: Join UMass Public History alum and award-winning author Bethany Groff Dorau for a workshop exploring the genre of “micro-memoir.”

The micro-memoir, in the words of playwright Beth Ann Fennelly, combines “the extreme abbreviation of poetry, the narrative tension of fiction, and the truth-telling of creative nonfiction.” Dorau will discuss this genre and relate her historical scholarship and writing to her evolving work as a memoirist.

The workshop will take participants through micro-memoir structure and process and illustrate some effective strategies for exploring our stories and memories. Dorau will then provide participants with a prompt and invite them to explore the genre themselves.

This event is sponsored by the Salem State University History Department Public History Speaker Series.

Many thanks to our colleague Alice Nash for passing along word of Plimoth Patuxet's newest version of "You Are the Histo...
11/24/2020
Thanksgiving Interactive: You are the Historian | Plimoth Plantation

Many thanks to our colleague Alice Nash for passing along word of Plimoth Patuxet's newest version of "You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving," an interactive game that "directly responds to the increased demand for nuanced and fact-based history told from both an Indigenous and Colonial perspective." Check it out: it's created for youth audiences, but there's much to learn: you may discover that you don't know as much as you think you do about the histories explored here!
https://www.plimoth.org/learn/plimoth-online-historyhome/thanksgiving-interactive-you-are-historian

In order to ensure the safety of staff and guests, we've made modifications to our Museum experience in accordance with public guidance and health recommendations. Please be sure to review these protocols to prepare for your visit! 

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161 Presidents Drive, Herter Hall
Amherst, MA
01003

Telephone

(413) 545-1330

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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: