Tag Archives: public history


What We’re Reading: October 24, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features reactions to the movie adaptation of 12 Years a Slave, the effort to build a national LGBT museum, one blogger’s quest to eliminate conference themes, incredibly creepy vintage Halloween costumes, and much more!

October 24, 2013

The Most-Visited Sites in the National Park System for 2012

The National Park Service released its annual numbers on the most-visited sites in the park system for 2012. For a breakdown of the most popular sites, see below. Special thanks to Park Advocate for the data.

Most Visited Places of the National Park System

  Park Site Number of Visitors
1. Blue Ridge Parkway 15,205,059
2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area 14,540,338
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 9,685,829
4. George Washington Memorial Parkway 7,425,577
5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area 6,285,439
Perspectives on History, January

Now Available from Perspectives Online: “History Harvests: What Happens When Students Collect and Digitize the People’s History?”

Responding to the high level of interest in the article on History Harvests in Perspectives on History, we are opening it to all readers ahead of schedule.

William G. Thomas, Patrick D. Jones (both of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln), and Andrew Witmer (James Madison University) describe the History Harvest as “exciting and rewarding work at the intersection of digital history and experiential learning.” History Harvests are “community events in which students scan or photograph items of historical interest, brought in by local institutions and residents, for online display.”

“Every family and community has a history,” the authors explain, “a connection to the larger story of the American experience, and in the History Harvest we explore those connections, talk about them, and document their meaning in partnership with the participants.

Historians and The Conspirator: Using Film to ask Big Questions

The ConspiratorIs it possible to produce a credible film about the Civil War without mentioning slavery?  I’ve now seen The Conspirator (opening this week across the country) twice, and I’m still not sure. This very question provides one of the many elements that make this film such a superb vehicle for teaching and for public conversation on the Civil War. And remember: for the next five years there will be a lot of public conversation about the Civil War.

The Conspirator focuses on the trial of Mary Surratt, a Washington boardinghouse keeper accused of participating in a conspiracy that successfully assassinated President Lincoln, produced an attack on Secretary of State Seward, and failed to implement a planned assassination of Vice President Johnson.

National Council on Public History Meeting: Public Plenary with Tony Horwitz

AHA Public History Coordinator Debbie Ann Doyle reported from the National Council on Public History annual meeting in Pensacola this past April 6–9, 2011. See her previous posts, which included details of plenary session on the Civil War Sesquicentennial and discussions on international public history.

The second public plenary at the NCPH conference, on Saturday, April 9, featured author Tony Horwitz reflecting on the relationship between academic and popular history. Horwitz, best known for Confederates in the Attic, recently completed a manuscript about John Brown, Midnight Rising, which is more grounded in archival research than his previous work.