I’m sure, dear readers, that you are familiar with our only public history professional organization, the National Council on Public History.

You may also be familiar with NCPH’s blog on unexpected exhibit practice, Off the Wall, for which I wrote a few posts about history on the internet.

Now NCPH has upped the ante with the new blog, History@Work, located appropriately at Edited by the indefatigable Cathy Stanton as well as a host of section editors, the new blog describes itself as follows:

History@Work is a multi-authored, multi-interest blog sponsored by the National Council on Public History as a digital meeting place–a commons–for all those with an interest in the practice and study of history in public.

There is already a ton of great material up there–about the work of consultants and new professionals, exhibit and project spotlights, newsy posts about current issues in history practice, and Off the Wall-type posts on the wider universe of public history. Please visit this great new resource.


A few blog- and Suzanne-related notes:

  • This spring you’ll see me in Milwaukee at the NCPH/OAH conference (for which a hashtag has not yet been determined).  Our panel “Museums and Makers:  Intersections of Public History from Steam Trains to Steampunk” will be Thursday, April 19 at 10:30. Be there.  The conference program is online now.
  • Prompted by Mark Tebeau‘s discussion of museum blogs the other day on twitter, I have revised my blogroll for the first time in years: an updated mix of museum, public history, and history of science/technology/medicine blogs.  Though I personally blog only sporadically these days, my colleagues are doing some excellent thinking and writing.

Congrats to this year’s Cliopatria Award winners, recognizing the best in history blogging.  Lots of great stuff to add to the ol’ feed reader.  No explicitly public history-themed blogs made the cut this year, but a history of science blog did win best individual blog, so at least one of my teams was represented. Visit Cliopatria for the judges’ remarks on the blogs.

Best Group Blog: US Intellectual History

Best Individual Blog: Renaissance Mathematicus

Best New Blog: PhD Octopus

Best Post: Mike Dash, “The Emperor’s Electric Chair,” A Blast from the Past, 9 September.

Best Series of Posts: David Blight, William Freehling, Adam Goodheart, Jamie Malanowski, and others, “DisunionNYT‘s Opinionator, 30 October- .

Best Writer: Lapata@Chapati Mystery

Some history of medicine related links today:

The wonderful Holly Tucker has a new blog, Scientia Curiosa

A blog from the Medical Heritage Library, “a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries.”  Digitized materials are available at the Internet Archive.

The National Museum of Health and Medicine is a great medical history organization that’s been assiduously doing DIY digitization and putting materials up at the Internet Archive, Flickr and their blog.  They post a letter from their collections every day, and recently had an interesting exchange trying to puzzle out a patient ‘s sudden muscular atrophy and “prevention of marriage” (that’s 4 links in that sentence).  Historical diagnosis is tough–thanks for doing your work in public.

In other news:

Cliopatria award nominations are open!  Nominate your favorite history blogs.

Here’s the news from the history blogosphere!

Bill Turkel has stopped writing Digital History Hacks, a terrific blog which ran for 3 excellent years.  Its ending gives me an opportunity to catch up on actually doing some of the projects he blogged about.  I’m sure he will keep populating the public history blogosphere with his students, and I look forward to his next projects!

There will be a blogging session at OAH this year in Seattle,* featuring some of your favorite history bloggers, including Bill, Larry, and J.L. Bell, who not only writes Boston 1775, but also has a great kidlit blog.

Speaking of New England history bloggers, Caitlyn’s Vast Public Indifference has all the gravestones, census records, and ways to say “died” you’ll ever need.

How good is the National Trust’s blog, Preservation Nation, that I always talk about here?  It’s so good that I joined the National Trust.

Everybody’s happy ** about Obama reversing Bush’s EO 13233; this makes presidential records more accessible to the public.

Susan posted a zillion essays about “What’s American about the history of science in America?”

I wrote the Pic of the Month at work about an awesome telephone now on exhibit.

Have you added your ideas about the future of public history to Forward Capture?

Also, I am working on a post about self-consciousness at “being a part of history” in re: the inauguration.  Clio will make an appearance.


*I won’t be there.  I never make it to OAH.

**By which I mean that all the archivists were twittering about it this morning.

Many congratulations to our colleague Larry Cebula at Northwest History, who has received the Cliopatria award for Best Individual Blog this year.  Public historians should be proud of his excellent work.*  Good choice, Cliopatricians!

Here are the rest of the winners:

Best Group BlogThe Edge of the American West

Witty and insightful, the Edge of the American West puts the group in group blog, with frequent contributions from an irreverent band that includes several historians, a grad student in philosophy, a grad student in literature, and a software developer. Always entertaining, often enlightening, the blog features snazzy visuals—graphs, photos, videos—and zippy writing on everything from meditations on Obama, to a reflection on the 1967 Detroit riots, to tips for preparing for an academic job interview.

Ari Kelman and Eric Rauchway of the history department at UC, Davis, founded The Edge and are now joined in it by others.

Best Individual BlogNorthwest History

In addition to a strong focus on the historical materials and historiography of the American Northwest, Prof. Cebula introduces and explains digital resources and techniques with great range and depth. The writing is engaging and incisive and the result both entertaining and very useful.

Larry Cebula is a Public Historian at Eastern Washington University and Assistant Digital Archivist at the Washington State Digital Archives.

Best New BlogWynken de Worde

Wynken de Worde is a blog about books: not only their history, but also their cultural significance and myriad uses. It’s richly illustrated and always immensely thoughtful. Though the focus is on Renaissance and Elizabethan materials, Sarah Werner brings the history to life, and also addresses the present state of books, reading and intellectual property as well.

Dr. Sarah Werner is Director of the Undergraduate Program at the Folger Shakespeare Library and a scholar of Shakesperean and Renaissance drama.

Best Post: Claire Potter, Tenured Radical, “What Would Natalie Zemon Davis Do?” 19 June 2008.

In this eloquent, well-argued response to the blogger Rusticus’ attack on women’s history and women historians, Potter uses a 1988 exchange between Natalie Zemon Davis and Robert Finlay to illustrate how women’s history can “illuminate what it meant to be human” while showing “how to argue in a civilized way.” She argues that historians succeed because they persuade their colleagues, male and female; this blog post is a good example of one such success.

Claire Potter is a professor of History and American Studies at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University.

Best Series of Posts: Tim Abbott on Trumbull’s The Death of General MontgomeryJan. 12Jan. 13Jan. 14Jan. 17Jan. 18.

The examination of Jonathan Trumbull’s famous painting The Death of General Montgomery in Attack on Quebec, December 31 1775 over five posts at Tim Abbott’s Walking the Berkshires is good scholarly writing and engaging analysis. Abbott raises intriguing questions about historical memory, as he guides his readers through the examination of historical records.

Tim Abbott is a conservation professional.

Best WriterZunguzungu

Whether in his examination of Henry Morton Stanley’s encounter with Dr. Livingstone, or tracing the African imaginary in Charlton Heston’s Naked Jungle or his expositions of John Ford’s American West, Zunguzungu is always thought- provoking and illuminating. His writing consistently demonstrates a gift of narrative and the willingness to eschew easy questions. He draws heavily on visuals to augment his readings, but never at the expense of readability. 

Zunguzungu is a graduate student in English. His project is broadly concerned with tracking the extent to which “America’s Africa” and “Africa’s America” have been mutually constitutive — even, occasionally, dialogic — narratives of identity.


*I am particularly proud since I nominated Northwest History for the award.

Congratulations to public history blogger Larry Cebula on his new job in Washington State!  His excellent blog, Northwest History, is a great resource for research on the Pacific Northwest and all things digital-historical.  Check it out and tell him I sent you!

John Lynch from Arizona State has been developing a nice list of history of science blogs/blogs written by historians of science, which is very exciting because it’s a great resource and also because I’ve been meaning to do such a thing for ages and now I don’t have to.  The list is shortish, but there really aren’t that many specifically history of science blogs (and PH is obviously a public history blog first and foremost).   So go check out his list and propose other blogs in the comments.

How nice to see, upon my return from Detroit, that PH has been noted as one of 80 blogs central to history blogging by Cliopatrician Ralph Luker.  Thanks, Ralph!

It’s a great list, full of blogs I admire and blogs I’ve never read, and I look forward to exploring it more.  I’m happy to have helped to make a place for public history in the mainstream of the history blogosphere.

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