AHA Public History Coordinator Debbie Ann Doyle is reporting from the National Council on Public History annual meeting in Pensacola this April 6 – 9, 2011. See her previous post, which detailed a plenary session on the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
Several Friday sessions drew attention to public history practice outside the United States. The day began with the inaugural meeting of the International Federation for Public History, which was established in August, 2010 as an Internal Commission by the General Assembly of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (known by its French acronym, CISH).
At our recent annual meeting the AHA chose a focus on “the public work of historians” for our plenary session (watch the video of the session). The January issue of Perspectives on History seems to have stimulated the kind of conversation that we as historians need to participate in, and we encourage our members to take a look at a column in Commentary that engages our own commentaries. It’s a sharp piece, which engages with the two of us only to disagree.
“Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Academic Historian,” a report offering best practices for evaluating public history scholarship in history departments, was adopted by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Executive Board on April 8, the National Council on Public History (NCPH) Board of Directors on June 3, and the American Historical Association (AHA) Council on June 5.
The report argues that public history work is generally overlooked in a “tenure process that emphasizes single-authored monographs and articles at the expense of other types of scholarly productions.” Despite increasing interest in public history, public scholarship, and other forms of civic engagement in colleges and universities, current standards for evaluating historical scholarship “do not reflect the great variety of historical practice undertaken by faculty members.” Even departments that hire faculty specifically to teach public history often neglect to reward those historians for carrying out the range of public history activities required in their jobs.
We start off this week with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2010 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. Then, hear about the Spring 2010 Roy Rosenzweig Forum, check out an upcoming New-York Historical Society seminar, take a look at the Washington Post’s photographic collection of oil spills through history, and peruse some of the Smithsonian’s more unique holdings. We also note two articles, one from The Chronicle and the other from Inside Higher Ed, on pursuing non-academic jobs.
After protest, investigation, and a report, the State Department’s Office of the Historian has a new chief. See a collection of articles on the current situation and how it all began. Then, read about the NHPRC recommending $5.9 million in grants for documentary editing and archives, the dismissal of the case against Zotero, the death of Ernest May, and the history of crayon packaging.
Thanks to the support and interest of almost 4,000 members of the profession, our survey of public history professionals was a terrific success. In the end, we received 3,888 responses—almost one-third more than the last survey, conducted in 1980. The surveys were sent out to public history members of ten associations (the NCPH, AHA, the American Association for State and Local History, American Association of Museums, Association of Personal Historians, Australian Historical Association, Canadian Historical Association, Oral History Association, Organization of American Historians, and Society for History in the Federal Government).
The AHA is currently participating in a Survey of Public History Professionals (SPHP), with seven other historical organizations (American Association for State and Local History, American Association of Museums, Canadian Historical Association, National Council on Public History, Oral History Association, Organization of American Historians, and Society for History in the Federal Government). The survey (which was prepared by staff at the National Council on Public History and the AHA) seeks to learn a bit more about the demographics, training, employment conditions, and expectations of public history practitioners.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has posted reports on the impact of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav on historic buildings in the affected areas, including several National Trust properties. On September 17, representatives of the Galveston Historical Foundation received permission from authorities to visit Galveston Island to assess the damage. They report that the Strand National Historic Landmark District and East End residential district sustained serious flood damage. The Trust is seeking volunteer structural engineers and architects to work with the Galveston Historical Foundation, Preservation Texas, and preservation groups to assess affected properties and work to save as many as possible.