The Winter 2013 issue of History News, the quarterly magazine of the American Association for State and Local History, just hit my desk and focuses on the annual meeting held last fall in Salt Lake City. Featured are the speeches of out-going president Stephen Elliott, award-winner Robert Archibald, and keynote speaker Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, which include such memorable quotes about history and museums, such as:
- Ulrich: “It is a truism that without sources there is no history, but we also need to understand those sources. Most people who had looked at Martha Ballard’s diary said it was filled with mundane detail of little interest, filled with trivia. The same has been said of Patty Sessions. What I want to emphasize is that there is, if not drama in these humdrum records, a powerful story. It is a history that pushes back against conventional sources.”
- Elliott: “To appreciate who others are and where they’re coming from, it’s important to listen to their stories. The stories of those who came before us can, like technologies, bring us closer. And we are the keepers and tellers of those stories.”
- Archibald: “History transports us from our own finite bubble of time and place and connects us once again with the infinity of choices made by ancestors that created our world. History reminds us that people of the future will live with the consequences of what we, the living do or fail to do. History gives us a three-hundred-and-sixty degree perspective, although as the Apostle Paul observed, we see as if ‘through a glass darkly.’ Yet is imperative that we keep looking.”
This issue goes beyond Salt Lake City by including:
- “Leadership in History” award winners (always a good place to find ideas) and a case study of an award-winning project exploring historic landscapes using GIS by the Bangor Museum and Bangor High School.
- Bill Tramposch’s advice to history leaders from his lecture at the Seminar of Historical Administration, starting with “be more than a museum or historical organization.”
- An unusual technical leaflet by William Bomar that will get much attention by students in graduate school: “Skills Most Valued for Entry-Level Professional Museum Position”
- The History Bytes column closes a conversation with Rose Sherman and Nik Honeysett on the value of a digital strategy (“Chasing technologies can be a fool’s errand. It’s more useful to anticipate trends than technologies.”)
- Reviews of Engaging Students with Archival and Digital Resources by Justine Cotton and David Sharron (“While the audience for this book is clearly librarians and archivists in the university setting, the information is transferable to other cultural heritage professionals.”) and Building Museums: A Handbook for Small and Midsize Organizations by Robert Herzkovitz, Timothy Glines, and David Grabitske (“A valuable handbook for anyone in the process of building a museum or thinking of building a museum.”
History News is one of the major benefits of membership in AASLH.