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Writing about the past, thinking about the future: National Museum of American History

Writing about the past, thinking about the future: National Museum of American History

My article on the history and philosophy of collecting at the National Museum of American History has been published in the Federal History Journal. The issue is freely available, here, and my essay is here. It’s a good issue: I especially recommend the article by Margo Anderson, “Public Management of Big Data: Historical Lessons from the 1940s.” My essay was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the NMAH. I used to work there, and a former colleague asked me to write something. The director was…

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Seven Rules for Public Humanists

Seven Rules for Public Humanists

  If we want the humanities to be more than academic—if we want them to make a difference in the world—we need to change the way we work. We need to rethink some of the traditional assumptions of the humanities. I suggest here seven rules of thumb for doing public humanities. 1. It’s not about you Start not by looking at what you, your discipline, or the university needs and wants, but by what individuals and communities outside the university need…

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“Facing the Museum,” Completed!

“Facing the Museum,” Completed!

[slideshow] I’ve written about Faces – now called “Facing the Museum” several times on this blog. It started with the discover of several century-old “ethnographic busts” in the attic of the museum’s Collection Research Center, became more interesting as we teased out the stories of the busts, and then expanded into an overview of the history, challenges, and potentials of the anthropology museum. You can see the script of the show here. And here’s the blurb we’re using for PR:…

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