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Category: Public humanities

Learners choose learning outcomes

Learners choose learning outcomes

Last year, I asked students in my Introduction to Public Humanities course to write the syllabus. I wrote about this here: you won’t believe what happened next! I didn’t repeat that project this year. In part, that’s because of different circumstances: teaching the fall, not the spring, means that students are new to the program, and the field. It doesn’t seem fair to ask them to design the whole course. And while the end result last year was fine, a…

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Leave the Durham memorial on the ground

Leave the Durham memorial on the ground

[originally published on Medium]  Aug 15, 2017 Leave the Durham memorial on the ground I’ve been teaching about memorials for over a decade. My goal has always been to help students understand the historical nuance of memorials: what they meant when they were constructed, the political processes that shaped them, the ways that their meanings changed over time. But I must admit: the video of the Durham confederate memorial being toppled gave me a visceral thrill. The confident way Takiyah Thompson climbed…

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Museums are places to forget

Museums are places to forget

Museums are places to forget. An essay, illustrated with poems and images, on the ways that museums are used to forget things that society would prefer not to remember, and the ways in which museum forget things they should remember. On Medium.  https://medium.com/@lubar/museums-are-places-to-forget-ba76a92c5701

I asked students to write the syllabus. You won’t believe what happened next.

I asked students to write the syllabus. You won’t believe what happened next.

Yesterday was the first day of the new semester, and the first day of “Introduction to Public Humanities.” I’ve taught this course most years since I established the public humanities program twelve years ago. It’s the theory half of the introductory courses, paired with “Methods in Public Humanities.” It’s usually taught in the fall. But I was on leave, and so this year the public humanities students got methods first, and then theory. It’s an interesting philosophical question: which comes first, the method…

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What might historic preservation learn from museums?

What might historic preservation learn from museums?

Every year, the Providence Preservation Society sponsors a symposium on key issues in historic preservation. This year’s symposium, on the fiftieth anniversary of the 1966 historic preservation act, asked:  Why Preserve?  From the introduction: The 2016 Providence Symposium, Why Preserve?, will bring together experts from across the nation as well as local stakeholders to examine why historic preservation matters to Providence and all communities. To be held at the iconic but threatened Industrial Trust Building, the Symposium will launch a…

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“Collecting and Collections” course & stamp exhibit

“Collecting and Collections” course & stamp exhibit

Head over to the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities blog for a post Sarah Dylla and I wrote about our course last semester, AMST1510, Museum Collecting and Collections. And head over to the John Hay Library where you can see the course exhibition, Thousands of Little Colored Windows: Brown University’s Stamp Collections. A few pictures of the exhibit…  

Connecting with The Wright Brothers

Connecting with The Wright Brothers

I was honored to give a brief talk as part of the kickoff for Reading Across Rhode Island’s everyone-should-read-it book, David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers. Here are the notes from my talk. [scribd id=297243770 key=key-7Ge7mnqjKazSUHOaQOVf mode=scroll]  

Considering the 9/11 Memorial Museum: One visit, three ways

Considering the 9/11 Memorial Museum: One visit, three ways

(some advice I gave my students before our visit last week, updated after the visit) When you visit the museum—when you visit any museum—try to examine it in three different ways, to look at it through three different lenses. First, consider it as a member of the general public. Next, look at it with a critical eye, trained by your reading, museum experience, and theoretical concerns. And finally, think about it as an employee of the institution might: what works,…

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The dark ride (on search)

The dark ride (on search)

  For a search engine to work well, it needs to know where to look. The streetlight effect offers a common metaphor. The drunk man searches under the streetlight because that’s where it’s easiest to find things. In a search of a museum collection database, we can search most easily, or only, in the categories that are well described, that we have good vocabulary for, that curators care about. I’d like to suggest another metaphor: the amusement park dark ride….

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