A recent report from Humanities Indicators, a project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, showed that less than a quarter of Americans aged 18 years or older visited a historical park or monument in 2012—a 13 percentage point drop from 1982. As a student from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, I traveled to Washington, DC, in January to intern with the American Historical Association for the spring semester. Having taken advantage of opportunities to explore the city’s many historic sites and museums, the report made me wonder about the nation’s declining interest in visiting historical sites.
In the October 2015 issue of Perspectives on History, I wrote on historically informed performance of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music. Musicians at the Folger and Newberry Consorts spoke to me about how history informed their music, and in turn how music could help transport listeners to a different time.
At the National Council on Public History annual meeting in Baltimore last month, I once again found myself at the intersection of music and history at a workshop called “Banjos in the Museum: Music as Public History.” Organized by the Stevenson University public history program, this workshop featured archivist and musicologist Greg Adams and instrumentalists Ken and Brad Kolodner.
AHA member David Trowbridge, associate professor of history at Marshall University, was recently awarded the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship. Granted by the Whiting Foundation, the fellowship funds a six-month leave for a recently tenured professor in the humanities to work on a “public-facing project.” Trowbridge plans to use the fellowship to work on Clio, a web and mobile app that identifies a user’s geolocation to deliver historical information about the surrounding area through text, images, and video. AHA Today caught up with Trowbridge recently and spoke to him about Clio and his future plans for the app.
By Naomi Lieberman
How can I get information about my father’s service in World War II? Where can I find records about my grandfather’s work for the Civilian Conservation Corps? Is there a list of official postmasters for local offices somewhere? These are all examples of questions recently asked and answered on the National Archives and Records Administration’s History Hub.
In February, Perspectives on History ran a story exploring the current boom in history podcasts, and found that podcasts allow historians to both disseminate their work to a wider audience and to develop professional connections with other academics. AHA Today recently spoke with Liz Covart, creator of Ben Franklin’s World, an interview-driven podcast focusing on current scholarship in early American history, about her experiences in the world of history podcasting.
By Marc Stein
As the US public waits to find out whom President Obama will nominate to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, it may be helpful to consider what we have learned and not learned in the last few weeks about the history and politics of presidential appointments.
By Ina Dixon
Established by the AHA in 2002, the National History Center brings historians into conversations with policymakers and other leaders to stress the importance of historical perspectives in public decision-making. Today’s author, Ina Dixon, spoke on an NHC panel at #AHA16 on “Defining Social Needs: A Conversation about Philanthropy Past and Present between Historians and Foundation Officials.”
The Vietnam War Memorial, the first national memorial to commemorate veterans, was dedicated on the National Mall in 1982.