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The Role of Museums & Public History in Understanding the Past

Public History Examples - Articles about Museums

Take a journey through public history & explore the role of museums in explaining our shared past. These articles help make sense of it all!

Public history and museum management can provide a wealth of information to help curators, historians, and researchers shed light on the past. From articles in magazines and newspapers to examples of public history initiatives, there is much to discover about museums and their role in preserving the heritage of communities around the world.

20 of the world’s creepiest museums

Some of our worst fears are explored at these bizarre museums. They’ll give you the creeps for Halloween … or any other time of year

Antonia Wilson, The Guardian 2018

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

India’s new museums are more about memories than objects

Amulya Gopalakrishnan, The Times of India 2017

A Few Simple Tips for Public Historians Working with Confrontational Visitors

Public historians who work in interpretation and education often find themselves in a uniquely different setting from that of a classroom history teacher. In public history you must quickly learn how to work in small time spaces, and you never know who will walk through that door to visit your site.

Nick Sacco, AASLH Broadside 2016

A New Museum in Sweden Is All About Failure

The museum’s curios highlight different kinds of failure. There are many examples of products that were short-sighted, short-lived or just silly.

Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian.com 2017

Museums, the New Social Media Darlings

Kerry Hammon, The NY Times 2016

An Underwater Museum in Egypt Could Bring Thousands of Sunken Relics Into View

A new museum proposed for Egypt’s City of Alexandria aims to bring visitors to sunken treasures not seen by the public in over 1,400 years.

Michelle Z. Donahue, Smithsonian.com 2015

Ask a Consulting Historian: Patrick Cox

The National Council for Public History interviews Patrick Cox, Ph.D., an award-winning historian, author, and conservationist. His consultant firm specializes in historical research and projects for individuals, corporations, legal firms, and nonprofit organizations.

Patrick Cox, History at Work 2017

Two Museum Directors Say It’s Time to Tell the Unvarnished History of the U.S.

History isn’t pretty and sometimes it is vastly different than what we’ve been taught, say Lonnie Bunch and Kevin Gover.

Allison Keyes, Smithsonian 2018

Using Open-Source Software to Protect English Heritage

Two heritage managers explain why a partnership with the Getty to implement the open-source Arches platform will make it easier to protect buildings and sites in London and Lincoln.

Alexandria Sivak, The Iris 2017

The First Public Historian

The idea of public history, in which academics seek to address a wider audience, is considered to be a modern one, but, discovers Eleanor Parker, a form of it was practiced during the Middle Ages.

Eleanor Parker, History Today 2016

‘Give Africa its art back’, Macron’s report recommends

A new report on the status of African artefacts held in various French museums will recommend the president to return the pieces which were stolen or taken “without consent” during the colonial period.

This is Africa 2018

What do the best museum websites all do?

We analysed 24 museum websites to distill the three groups of questions you need to answer for your visitors.

Pat Hadley, Cogapp 2017

Here’s How Much Money Museum Employees Really Make

It’s the first time the Association of Art Museum Directors has made their research public.

Julia Halperin, ArtNet.com 2017

How the Rich Are Hurting the Museums They Fund

For every $8 visitors spend at museums in North America, museums spend $55. Rich donors want their money to go to construction, not operations, so museums have difficulty maintaining and staffing their new buildings.

Ben Davis, NY Times 2016

Museums and Heritage in the Digital Age – Video Lecture

Diane Lees (Director-General of the Imperial War Museum Group) discusses some of the Imperial War Museum’s major digital projects and share lessons learnt.

Diane Lees, Univ of Oxford, 2016

On academic ambivalence towards public history

Catherine Fletcher Blog, 2016

Please Turn On Your Phone in the Museum

Cultural institutions learn to love selfies, tailor-made apps, and social media.

Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic 2016

Sidedoor: A Podcast from the Smithsonian

Where the public view of Smithsonian museums ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists, host Tony Cohn sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories. 34 episodes in 1st two seasons.

Smithsonian Museum

Up Close and Personal with Phyllis Diller’s Gag File

A tour of comedian Phyllis Diller’s library card cabinet of jokes, which she donated to the Smithsonian.

Hanna BredenbeckCorp, National Museum of American History blog 2017

Who’s Afraid of Being a Generalist? On Being a Historian outside the Academy

The author describes her personal story of pursuing a career in museums rather than academia, where she was originally headed.

Rachel Feinmark, Perspectives on History 2016

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