Public History > Museums

Liberty’s Legacies: Philadelphia’s New Museum of the American Revolution

By Anna Leigh Todd

In 1818, John Adams reflected on the founding of the nation, asking, “But what do We mean by the American Revolution? Do We mean the American War?” His response signaled otherwise: “The Revolution was in the Minds and Hearts of the People.” According to Adams, the people put aside their natural allegiance to Britain once it was clear that their liberties were under attack. “This radical Change in the Principles, Opinions Sentiments and Affection of the People,” affirmed Adams, “was the real American Revolution.” 

A Flag, a Dinner Bell, and a Hand-Dug Well: Using Artifacts to Make Meaningful Connections to the Past

By Michelle M. Martin

When I began my directorship of the Little House on the Prairie Museum south of Independence, Kansas, the promise and challenges the museum faced swirled in my mind. For any small historic house museum, problems tend to outweigh the possibilities. Founded in 1977, the Little House on the Prairie Museum preserves the Kansas homesite where Charles Ingalls and his family lived from 1869–71. The museum features a replica of the one-room cabin the family lived in while in Kansas along with a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse and post office moved to the site to ensure their preservation.

African American History: Of Dreams and Struggles

By Adam Green 

“Do everything!” That was the exhortation from Nell Painter that closed the Future of the African American Past conference, jointly sponsored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the American Historical Association, with support from HISTORYTM and the National Endowment for the Humanities. And, if the breadth and the depth of the preceding conversation was any indication, the current generation of scholars and curators seem up to Painter’s challenge.

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

By Rachel Feinmark

After two years of endless academic job applications, Skype interviews, and harrowing job talks, I was exhausted from reinventing myself on a daily basis. For all the effort, I was starting to suspect that I might not even want any of the jobs I was working so hard to get. When I finally gave myself permission to apply for the public history positions I’d secretly been coveting, I felt a sense of relief. But as I revised my teaching statement for a museum studies role, I came to realize that I was less interested in refining my class on the history of display than I was in creating the display myself.

AHA Sends Letter of Concern Regarding Poland’s Museum of the Second World War

The AHA has sent a letter to Poland’s Minister of Culture expressing concern about the proposal to disrupt the planned Museum of the Second World War and to merge it with a new museum focusing on Poland’s military struggle in 1939. The Museum of the Second World War, if built as planned, will be the only major museum to showcase the history of the war through an international lens. The letter praises Poland’s critical approach in coming to terms with its difficult past, and urges the country to continue its leadership by moving forward with the Museum of the Second World War as planned.