This fall I’ll be teaching HIST 3296: Select Topics in Community-Based Public History at AlgomaU. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity and excited to be able to share my love of public history with students.
From the course calendar: The course will introduce students to the theory and practice of community-based public history, with reference to local and regional examples. Students will explore the history and relevance of community-based efforts to make the past visible and comprehensible to the public. The social functions of museums, libraries, archives, and monuments, as well as web-based sites of historical commemoration, will be critically assessed. Contrasts between history, heritage, social memory, and tools such as oral history will be examined.
I’m still working on the planning of the course but in the meantime I’m using this as a reason to enjoy some public history focused books that I have been on my to-read list for ages. So far my reading has looked at Parks Canada, commemoration in Canada, participatory heritage, museum writing, and exhibit design. If nothing else this reading has filled my head with a lot of great ideas and also reminded me about the diversity of public history. So much of my work is archives focused theses days. I do engage in a lot of educational programming, community outreach, and the occasional exhibit design – however it is all through an archival lens. It’s been nice to take a step back from that really focused form of public history and to look at broader social trends, work that is going on in my local community, and interesting projects occurring across Canada. Onwards!