It’s mid-June and the spring 2013 issue of History News just arrived. If you’re wondering why it’s late, it’s my fault.
Katherine Kane and Bob Beatty invited me to write an article that would highlight this year’s annual meeting theme: “Turning Points: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Change.” I was honored—and challenged. Heroic stories of ordinary Americans changing history would be inspirational but too easy. So I focused on us —the ordinary people who work in history organizations—to explore how we can provoke extraordinary change in our communities and audiences. Nice idea, but it went through a dozen revisions that trampled deadlines in the process. I hope it’s worth the wait. I’ll be posting excerpts from it along with the entire article starting next week (have to give the AASLH members first opportunity!).
But if you don’t find my article satisfying, there are plenty of alternatives in this issue:
- We’re all looking for good board members, but why should they join? In her “On Doing Local History” column, Carol Kammen discusses the board recruitment process looking from the outside in.
- David Schaller of Eduweb explores the opportunities for augmented reality (supplementing the experience of real places with images and audio) as the guest columnist for “History Bytes.”
- An excerpt from historian Joseph Amato’s essay on the importance of local places and the need to fight against the national and global forces that threaten to dilute them.
- Leslie Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, describes their recent efforts to make Monticello sustainable and engaging.
- Kathleen Barker recounts the efforts at the Massachusetts Historical Society to interpret 200 years of Boston’s history through music.
- Jay Vogt highlights an award-winning exhibit on a USO canteen in South Dakota, including a recipe for the pheasant sandwiches served there in the 1940s.
- The issue closes with Laura Roberts’ book review of Reinventing the Museum: the Evolving Conversation on the Paradigm Shift by Gail Anderson. She gives it a thumbs up: “some of the most significant and illuminating essays from the last decade”.
- A bonus! Tucked inside is a technical leaflet on interpretive planning by Stephen Hague, which is based on the excellent interpretive plan for Stenton.
History News is one of the best benefits of AASLH membership and ideal for staff, volunteers, and board members who work at history museums or historic sites. If you haven’t already joined, you’re overlooking an excellent resource (I’ve been a member for more than 35 years!).