March 22, 2012
We begin this week’s “What We’re Reading” with articles on the Eisenhower memorial’s controversial design, John McNeill’s push to save WWII stories, the 2012 ACLS Digital Innovation Fellows, and a renewed search for Amelia Earhart. Read on to learn about restoring a collection at Howard University, a study on the history and the National Park Service, teaching without textbooks, and more.
- It isn’t too late to get the Eisenhower memorial right
Richard H. Driehaus responds to controversy about the proposed President Dwight Eisenhower memorial, and explains how the design process for other memorials can be better run in the future. Earlier this week, following a hearing on Tuesday, architect Frank Gehry said he’s open to changes to the design.
- Save the war stories—before it’s too late
Each week, over 5,000 WWII veterans pass away. John R. McNeill, vice president of the AHA’s Research Division and professor of history at Georgetown University, argues to save these soldiers’ stories before it’s too late.
- ACLS Names 2012 Digital Innovation Fellows
The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has named nine Digital Innovation Fellows for 2012, including a history professor whose project will use statistical analysis on governance after the U.S. Constitution.
- Hillary Clinton signs onto latest search for Amelia Earhart
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supports efforts of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) to renew the search for Amelia Earhart, 75 years after her plane went down in the South Pacific.
- Restoring a Trove at Howard
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, one of the world’s largest collections devoted to the history and culture of people of African descent, has hired Howard Dodson, the recently retired chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, to revitalize the collection.
National Park Service
- Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service
The Organization of American Historians has published a study on “the practice and presentation of American history in the National Park Service and at its sites.” Download the complete PDF here.
- Off the Beaten Path: Ditching the Text to Get in Step with Students
Jonathan Rees explains how to he teaches with “interpretation and discussion” rather than with a textbook. Rees wrote an article on “Teaching History with YouTube” for the May 2008 issue of Perspectives on History, and a follow-up article, “Teaching History with YouTube Revisited,” in April 2011.
- “Gutenberg the Geek"
“To evaluate the future of the book it is necessary to understand its past,” states Joshua Kim as he reads through Jeff Jarvis’s new e-book on Johannes Gutenberg.
- 150th commemoration spotlights Museum of the Confederacy
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports on how the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is bringing in visitors to the Museum of the Confederacy, and the challenges and controversy surrounding its new Appomattox branch. Kevin Levin, who runs the Civil War Memory blog, contributes his thoughts on the decision to not display the Confederate flag outside of the new satellite museum.
- Ten Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction
Smithsonian magazine looks back at how science fiction led to real inventions. For example, Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, written in 1870, led to the first ocean submarine, the Argonaut, in 1898.
- The AP logo: A stamp of integrity since 1846
A video history of the Associated Press and its evolving logo.
- Mad Libs for Academics
Inside Higher Ed reports on the University of Chicago Writing Program’s academic sentence generator, sort of a “Mad Libs for academics.”
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, James Grossman, Vernon Horn, Matthew Keough, Allen Mikaelian, and Robert B. Townsend