Local History Project

What is Public History?:

"Public history is the practice of conveying history to an audience that is not specialized in the field of history being presented"

The National Council of Public History defines Public History as:

“a movement, methodology, and approach that promotes the collaborative study and practice of history; its practitioners embrace a
mission to make their special insights accessible and useful to the public.”

"Public history is where historians and their various public collaborate in trying to make the past useful to the public.' That is, public
history is the conceptualization and practice of historical activities with one’s public audience foremost in mind. It generally takes place
in settings beyond the traditional classroom. Its practitioners often see themselves as mediators on the one hand between the academic
practice of history and non-academics and on the other between the various interests in society that seek to create historical understanding.
Public history practitioners include museum professionals, government and business historians, historical consultants, archivists, teachers,
cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, policy advisors, oral historians, professors and students with public
history interests, and many others."

Your Mission:

As a Public Historian, your goal is to educate the public regarding your landmark.

You will foster interest in your landmark in order to promote increased attendance,

fund-raising and preservation from the general public.

Essential Questions:

*Why should historical landmarks be preserved?

*What role do historical landmarks play in American Culture?

-In a time when historical landmarks are facing financial problems and possible closure,

it is important to cultivate an appreciation for the your assigned landmark.

Historical Background Component

-What is the historical significance of your landmark (who, what, where, when and why)?
-How was your landmark "saved" for posterity? Which institutions, organizations or individuals sought to preserve the

Public History Component

-Who owns/operates your landmark?
-What is the overall mission of this institution?
-How does the landmark go about educating the public (tours/exhibits/websites/publications)?
-How has your landmark become revitalized in recent times (revitalization: bringing again into activity and
-Discuss different activities/programs scheduled throughout the year to draw in visitors.

-How many people currently visit your landmark? Is visitation up or down?
-What challenges does your landmark currently face?

-Why should this landmark be preserved for future generations (a critical component)?

Problem-solving Component

-How would you foster interest in your landmark and attract new visitors?
-Create a plan or design a new program that will educate and foster an appreciation of your historical site.

Collaboration Component

-You will be working with your group members by utilizing the Discussion Tab to create this Wiki (I will be able to
see who made contributions to the Wiki; therefore, everyone will be held equally accountable for the final product).


Recommendations for your Wiki: Utilize proper writing conventions within your Wiki (mechanics/sentence structure).

While educating the general public, be sure to "sell your site" and "get the word out" to foster attendance.

If possible, visit the landmark and take copyright-free photos of yourself at the site (consider going with your partners).
Check the landmark's website and see if there are any upcoming events. If possible, take a tour of the site and
pay particular attention to the exhibits. Incorporate the tour within your Wiki.

You must include at least FIVE historical images and FIVE present-day photos.

Always cite sources/media utilized!

Incorporate "Bells and Whistles" -See "Bells and Whistles" page for suggestions.

Utilize the Library Databases for your research.

No not rely solely upon the landmark's websites and Library Databases. Consider conducting interviews with the very people
who work in the field of public history: the administrators, paid staff and volunteers. This can be done via email, phone and
face-to-face interviews. Before you post a quote, name or photo of the interviewee, be certain to obtain permission to do so.
Always send them a note afterwards, thanking them for their time and insights.

You can create a mini-profile section in your Wiki reflecting a person who works in the field of Public History or embed a
video of the interview.

Possible Questions for the Interview Component:

-Describe your position here at. What is your title? What are your responsibilities?
-What is your educational/career background?
-What bought you to this particular landmark?
-Is this a volunteer or paid position?
-What do you enjoy most about your job here at?

-Who administers this landmark? Where does it get its funding?
-What are the goals of?
-What are the numbers of yearly visitors? Are numbers up or down?
-Describe programs/exhibits
_currently designed to attract visitors or to revitalize your landmark?
-What are some of the yearly events held at_
-Which is your favorite? Why?
-How involved were you in creating or executing this program/exhibit?
-Discuss the process of creating a new program/exhibit.
-Are you working on any grants, new programs or exhibits?
-How do you acquire new artifacts? Is there money allocated for the purchase of additional artifacts?
-How do you "get the word out" or advertise about your landmark?
-What role does interpretation play here at
-Are the majority of the employees paid or voluntary?
-How do you attract new volunteers?
-Describe any internships available through_
-How can internships help young people with their future career endeavors?
-Are you currently working with any school or district?
-Describe how technology is currently being utilized by
-Do you have a website? What is it used for?
-Do you partner with any other landmarks/foundations?
Which ones? Why?
-What role do you think public history plays in American Culture?
-Why should
be preserved for future generations?
-Why do you think public history/preservation should be better funded and emphasized in our society?

Summarize your findings in the form of an article entitled, " Meet
_(their name)___"