I just wanted to share this video. It depicts one of the Smithsonian’s museum programs they do. It’s a great piece of interpretation. It’s informative, engaging, and fun – best of all, it asks the visitor the question, “what would you have done if you were in this situation?”
My Senior Independent Study (I.S.) project – basically a year-long thesis that is required of every student who attends The College of Wooster, is finished. Instead of writing a traditional I.S. I went the more unconventional route and created a website detailing the interaction between architecture, curriculum, institutional priorities, and memory on the College of Wooster campus. You can check out the website by clicking here.
Last week, I had mentioned that I was honored to be part of a workshop of sorts on “Opportunities in Public History.” I spoke about all the exciting things I had done in the NPS and some advice I had for anyone who was trying to get in. However, the main thing I tired to focus on was collaboration and public involvement, for these are really the two main ideas that got me into public history. While those ideas may sound a little redundant, I see collaboration as more you and your peers, while public involvement is you and the public.
In my short experience in pubic history, I have found the amount of collaboration between peers at public history institutions to be very rewarding. It just seems like for me, collaboration, and the different types of collaboration, is what sets public history and academia apart. While most academics have many peers at an institution and within their departments, it seems as if there isn’t the same concentration of scholars and equality in settings as in a public history institution. However, if people are unwilling to collaborate, then well, it doesn’t always necessarily work out.
Public involvement to me means audience. I get to to talk to hundreds of people each week when I’m working out at the battlefield. Each one of them brings their own unique views, ideas, and assumptions to the park. My job is to speak with as many as possible and help them form connections and meanings with the battlefield. Academics might be lucky if 20 people read their article. Me on the other hand, if I’m successful in my quest, I see my hard work paying off right in front of me. Visitors find meaning, interact with the resource, and ultimately, help preserve the resource. I don’t know if that all really makes sense, but that’s a little bit of what I was trying to convey.
On to the week in review.
It was the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger Explosion, and there was quite a few news articles and blog posts about it. My favorites were http://goo.gl/ogCRb (a friend’s take) and http://goo.gl/G7g7r (NPR’s take).
Anyway this week is shaping to be pretty exciting, as my new blog is being launched on Tuesday. Although I said I was going to try and post every week here as well, it’s not going to be feasible. I’m going to focus my efforts on the new blog, and post here occasionally – whenever I feel like it. I think it will help separate my two blogs, while still keeping them both fun and interesting. I’ll post here on Tuesday with the official announcement and link for my new blog.
Last week was my first week back at school, and it wasn’t the greatest. On Monday, I was saddened to hear about the passing of Dave Larsen, interpreter extraordinaire and head of Mather Training Center with the NPS. Hearing of Dave’s death was like a punch in the gut. His book, Meaningful Interpretation sits next to Freeman Tilden’s Interpreting our Heritage as my two go to public history/historical interpretation bibles.
On Thursday, I gave a short presentation on some of my experiences in public history. I really don’t want to go into a bunch of detail about it right now, but hopefully sometime in the future, I’ll write a blog post up about my advice and some opportunities I routinely suggest to folks interested in public history.
It’s a short post this week, but I wanted to get at least something down. I’m still bummed about Dave’s death, and really don’t want to think about last week. I’d rather move on and continue working on enhancing my interpretation skills regarding the NPS to help remember his legacy.
I set this website up over my winter break, so I would have my own personal website that I could use as a splash page/CV for all of my digital projects, blog posts, and tweets. Now I am back at school and in the thick of things trying to finish my senior I.S. The blog associated with that project and another Civil War public history blog that I am starting with a friend will keep me pretty busy this semester. The past couple of days I have been trying to figure out what I am going to try and do with this space, and it finally hit me. I’m going to blog here only once a week, preferably on a Sunday or Monday and to just reflect and talk about the past week. I’ll cover what I was thinking about, what books I read, cool YouTube videos I saw, etc all is fair game. I imagine it’ll end up to beinh my own little version of the week in review.
The week of 1/10/11 to 1/16/11
This was my last week at home for Winter Break. I started getting into the mood of going back to work/school by reviewing what I had accomplished last semester on my Senior I.S. and what still needed to be done. The first week on campus is always hectic, and I’m slated to take part in a panel on “Opportunities in Public History” which the history department at Wooster is sponsoring for its students. I am supposed to talk about my experiences with the National Park Service and any advice I might be able to give. As a big proponent of the NPS and a dedicated seasonal employee, I’m super excited about this opportunity for me to share my passion about public history and the NPS with my fellow peers. Along those I lines, I also figured out where I’ll be working this summer – I’ll be back in the green and gray at Gettysburg National Military Park for my second summer season as a Interpretive Park Ranger.
I’ve always wanted to read Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, and when I heard of Major Winter’s passing this week, I picked up a copy at a local used book sale to read. Boy was I disappointed. The writing itself is nothing to be proud of, and all Major Winters really talks about was his unwavering sense of trust in himself and no one else in the entire Allied Armies outside of the paratroopers. The book paints a much different picture of Winters as compared to Band of Brothers (both the book and miniseries). It seemed Winters was could have used a much better ghost writer/co-author than the other military guy who wrote it with him. However, the book wasn’t a total loss – the last chapter about leadership was pretty interesting, and probably sums up the true Major Winters pretty well- a excellent and fearless leader in combat and business.
I really liked this unofficial NASA promotion as it captures exactly why I love NASA and space exploration – Why go the Moon? because we can. Because it’s the final frontier.
that about wraps it up for this week, seeing as its already now Tuesday before I got this post published. I’ll try and do better next week. I already have plenty to talk about after a wild Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Yep, I now have a website. It is just in the beginning stages now, but in the coming days, I plan to add a short Bio, CV, my research interests, and to blog occasionally. My blog post will be about things I am thinking about that don’t necessarily fit in with my other two blogs, one I am just starting, and my senior I.S. study blog, which you can find here – http://woohistoricpreservation.voices.wooster.edu/