Monday, April 6, 2009

Final wrap-up on the NCPH conference blog - Monday, April 6

Or perhaps it’s not so final – others may feel inspired to add posts or comments even though the 2009 conference is now over. But this will be our final digest of what’s been posted on the blog. Sunday’s posts included reflections on:

  • how new professionals see the value of public history education
  • a screening of Katrina Brown’s film “Traces of the Trade,” in which a descendant of prominent Rhode Island slave-traders comes to grips with some family history
  • the Digital Projects Showcase, including links (courtesy of Suzanne Fischer!) to the various digital history projects that were on display
  • Kathleen Hulser’s encounters with “the landscape of human rights” through art and historical projects in Providence
  • the capstone plenary session, which raised questions about relationships, generations, and power—standard fare in discussions about public history, but perennially in need of reassessment as the field and the world continue to change

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday, April 4 update

We’re into the winding-down phase of what has been a very busy schedule in Providence. Here’s what participants have been saying today on the conference blog:

  • Janna Bennett is thinking about material culture and the power of objects.
  • Kathleen Hulser reports on discussions about what themes are likely to be central to public historical approaches to the Civil War sesquicentennial.
  • Denise Meringolo reflects on the public history educators’ breakfast, and issues raised there about the expansion of public history programs in a shrinking economy.
  • Mary Rizzo blogs about the “Public History as Work” working group session, and the many difficulties of defining this kind of labor.
  • And speaking of definitional difficulties, the “Whither the Field?” session tackled the long-standing and probably unanswerable question “what is public history and how do we explain it to people outside the field?”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday, April 3 Update

With the conference in full swing, here's some of what's happening at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence:

  • Keynote addresses by Jill Lepore of Harvard University and Jim Stewart of Macalester College (see here and here) both explored how the past and present can/should/do intersect in the world of public history.
  • As always, networking is a big part of the conference - even moreso than in previous years. Mary Rizzo reflects on the role of networking in her conference experience and Denise Meringolo blogs about the successful (and intensive!) "speed networking" session on Thursday.
  • Keying off a session on "Historical Truths and Reconciliation," Andrea Stewart extends keynote speaker Jim Stewart's discussion of how the "millenial generation" may extend activism and exploration of the historical wounds of the past, while Chuck Arning is also thinking about the millenials.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday, April 1 update

Here's what's happening on the NCPH conference blog on the eve of the conference:

  • Holger Hoock invites his colleagues from across the water to engage in some Anglo-American dialogue.
  • Two friendly natives (Leah Nahmias and Steve Lubar) give us some tips on Providence's night-life, the arts/culture scene, and (h'ray!) some good local bookstores.
  • Mary Rizzo, a first-time NCPH conference-goer last year who is back for more, reflects on last year's conference in Louisville.
  • And the current weather in Providence: a summery 72 degrees, with a light ocean breeze and clear skies. Sorry, that was a cruel April Fool's joke - this is New England in early April, which means that it's 40 degrees and drizzling. Some Californians at the conference have already been heard to express their displeasure. Inside the historic Biltmore Hotel, however, the conditions are quite pleasant.