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What is Public History?

I have been receiving a lot of questions of late when I tell people I have a master’s in public history.  According to the National Council on Public History: “Public historians come in all shapes and sizes. They call themselves historical consultants, museum professionals, government historians, archivists, oral historians, cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, historical interpreters, historic preservationists, policy advisers, local historians, and community activists, among many many other job descriptions.  All share an interest and commitment to making history relevant and useful in the public sphere.” I really like this definition because public historians are trained in historic research practices and then apply it to the public in some shape or form. Everyone in my degree program had a different interest and reason for being there. The only thing we all have in  common is a love for...
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Public Education and the Farnsley Cemetery

The Farnsley Cemetery case study exemplifies how a small domestic cemetery can illuminate a history of a community. Little research on the communities in southwest Jefferson County or on the extremely fragile domestic cemeteries exists. By examining David Farnsley’s family farm, one can understand the agricultural history of the area. A historian can also compare his farm to the broader state or regional agricultural history. However, that is only one topic that can be explored using the cemetery as a primary source. A historian could also address a series of topics on the nineteenth century: women, family life, doctors, slavery, migration, and many others. This cemetery is ideal for educators to use in their classes. There are distinct family groups for small groups to focus on and combine with their classmates to understand all of David Farnsley’s family. Even though the entire family is not buried in the cemetery, those who are absent lend themselves to good research questions. Moreover, the Farnsley Cemetery is on the property of Farnsley Middle School, which means the field trip would be free. There would be no transportation costs or a need for substitute teachers to monitor those students who could not go on a typical field trip....
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Farnsley Cemetery-Henry Clay Lloyd

Dr. Henry Clay Lloyd, the son of John and Mary Lloyd and grandson of David Farnsley and Sarah Farnsley Williams, is listed on the Lloyd family obelisk and like his other family members has a headstone and footstone to denote his burial place.  However, Henry’s tablet stone is much larger than that of his siblings and is inscribed on the east side (Figure 11).  Henry died on June 15, 1883 at the age of 39.  His head stone reads “IN MEMORY OF MY BELOVED SON/DR. HENRY CLAY LLOYD./BORN/MARCH 26, 1844./DIED JUNE 15, 1883./Pool & Broeg” John S. Pool and John J. Broeg were marble dealers on Jefferson Street in Louisville in the 1880s.[1]  Henry Clay Lloyd married Isabella Thompson on September 8, 1870, and together they had two children: Jennie Belle in 1871, and Vivian Alfred in 1872.  Jennie Bell died when she was just a year old, and Vivian Albert lived to be fifty years old with a wife and two kids.  Lloyd and Thompson divorced before 1880 as they are listed as such on separate census documents.  Thompson and her children are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.[2] Check back on  Monday for information on how the Farnsley Cemetery is an educational tool!...
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Farnsley Cemetery-William Farnsley

William J. Farnsley, the son of David Farnsley and Sarah Farnsley Williams, died on December 3, 1847, at the age of 20.  He was unmarried, so in his will he bequeathed all of his property to his brothers and sisters.  His possessions included a slave girl, pistols, and a watch.[1]  His tablet style headstone contains a laurel wreath with berries at the top and reads “SACRED/ to the memory of/WILLIAM J. FARNSLEY/who died Dec. 3, 1847/Age 20 years 2 months/& 9 days/So teach us to number our days/that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom./Psalm 90 verse 12.”  William’s headstone is laid flat on the ground with a modern border around it.  It is likely that the base of his stone could not be repaired or was missing (Figure 1). Laurel is a flower that is found on headstones.  Usually in wreath form, laurel represents immortality, chastity, and eternity.  As its leaves never wilt or fade, the Laurel is eternal.  The flower was also consecrated to the Vestal Virgins, thus its relationship with chastity.[2]  The family inscribed Psalm 90, verse 12 on William Farnsley’s headstone.  Psalms are “a collection of sacred poems forming a book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture.”[3]  The inclusion of...
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Farnsley Cemetery-Sarah and Ebenezer Suit

Ebenezer and Sarah Williams’ daughter Sarah Ebenezer married Samuel Taylor Suit, a distiller, and bore one child, Ebenezer Williams Weller.  He died on November 26, 1857, when he was only five days old.  According to family lore, Sarah and Samuel were only married a few months when she died on November 23, 1857, one day before her son.[1]  Sarah and her son Ebenezer share a tablet headstone and possibly a grave in the cemetery (Figure 1).  Their headstone depicts a flying angel holding a child and flowers line the rounded top.  An angel flying can symbolize rebirth, but an angel flying with a child likely represents a guardian angel. The front of the headstone reads “SALLIE E./&/E.W.W./WIFE AND ONLY CHILD/OF/S.T.SUIT/I HAVE LOVED THEM ON EARTH/I WILL MEET THEM IN HEAVEN.”  The back of the stone reads “SALLIE E./WIFE OF/S.T. SUIT/AND DAUGHTER OF/E. & S. WILLIAMS./BORN NOV. 17, 1837/ DIED NOV. 25, 1857./ALSO/E.W.W. SUIT/ INFANT SON OF/AND ONLY CHILD OF/S.T. & S.E. SUIT./BORN NOV. 21, 1857/DIED NOV. 26, 1857” (Figure 2). Check back on  Monday for the next installment of the Farnsley Cemetery history!                         [1] Jack Sullivan, “The Life and Loves of S.T....
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Farnsley Cemetery-Mary Farnsley Lloyd

David Farnsley and Sarah Farnsley Williams’ daughter Mary Rebecca married Dr. John Lloyd, a Virginian physician, on October 11, 1836.  They lived across Cane Run Road from the Farnsley-Kaufman house. [1]  Together they had six children, of which at least three, and possibly four, are buried in the Farnsley Cemetery.  Mary and John are both also buried in the cemetery.  The obelisk style headstone is actually a family stone that demarks the Lloyd family members buried in the cemetery (Figure 1).  Each of the members has their own simple tablet headstone and footstone marking their actual burial locations except Dr. Henry Clay Lloyd, who will be discussed later.  The headstones all have the person’s first name inscribed on the top and the footstones have their initials (Figure 2 and Figure 3).  The east side of the obelisk lists John and Mary.  Their son Henry is the only name listed on the west side, and the south side lists three of their children: Laura Eugenia Farnsley Rogers, Martha Elizabeth Lloyd, and George Nelson Lloyd.  However, Martha does not have a headstone and footstone marking her burial.  There is space near her siblings for her grave, so it is possible that it is unmarked.  Schenian and...
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James Matthis and Eastern Cemetery

I was recently walking around the beautiful Eastern Cemetery in Louisville, which is finally being cleaned up and cared for by the new Friends of the Eastern Cemetery. I found the headstone of James F. Matthis and Emma D. Matthis (check out the pic below) and was immediately intrigued as the stone had an inscription of a train and read “HE DIED THAT OTHERS MIGHT LIVE.” Naturally, I had to figure out how he had died and what that had to do with a train. His memorial was incredibly vague yet somehow detailed. Typically, my search for a person’s story is much more difficult and includes time spent researching on Ancestry, but someone else had the same interest I had. Gaye Hill who created the memorial on findagrave.com had included a transcription of a Courier-Journal article on Matthis’s death. As a member of the Louisville Free Public Library, I logged in to their website to access the Courier-Journal historic database and found two articles on his death. I also used records on Ancestry to create a fuller picture of Matthis. James Frederick Matthis was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky on December 17, 1852 to David and Elizabeth (Smith) Matthis. He married Lucy in 1872 and...
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Farnsley Cemetery-Martha Farnsley Williams

David Farnsley and Sarah Farnsley Williams’ daughter Martha Elizabeth married her stepbrother George C. Williams, son of Ebenezer, on March 31, 1845.[1]  Together they had six children, three of which are buried in the Farnsley Cemetery.  Their son Albert Merritt died on January 6, 1854 at the age of 4 (Figure 1).  His tablet style headstone contains roses at the top and reads ALBERT MERRITT/SON OF/GEO.  C. & MARTHA E. WILLIAMS/DIED JAN.  6, 1884/ AGED 4 YRS. & 20 DYS./BENEATH THIS STONE IN SWEET REPOSE,/IS LAID A MOTHER’S FIRST-BORN PRIDE;/A FLOWER THAT SCARCE HAD WAKED TO LIFE;/AND LIGHT AND BEAUTY, ERE IT DIED;/GOD IN HIS WISDOM HAD RECALLED/THE PRECIOUS BOON HIS LOVE HAD GIVEN,/AND THOUGH THE CASKEY MOULDER’S HERE,/THE GEM IS SPARKLING NOW IN HEAVEN./E. NEEDHAM  Figure 1. Albert’s headstone.  The “E. NEEDHAM” at the end of the inscription is a maker’s mark for the headstone.  Edgar Needham was a marble dealer on Jefferson Street in Louisville in the 1850s and 1860s.[2]  The rose, for example, became a Christian symbol for martyrdom and purity.  A rose facing downward or hanging from a broken stem symbolizes an innocent life ending too soon.[3]  The Virgin Mary is frequently seen with roses for this reason. George and...
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Farnsley Cemetery-Sarah Meriwether Farnsley Williams

David Farnsley’s widow Sarah married Ebenezer Williams, the carpenter, in 1837.  Together, they had two daughters: Sarah Ebenezer, and Leah Anne.[1]According to family lore, the second interment in the Farnsley Cemetery was Sarah Lewis Meriwether Farnsley Williams who died in 1851.[2]  No headstone or footstone for Sarah exists, but space is available in the cemetery for unmarked graves along the western edge.  No record of Sarah’s death or any other burial information was found.  It is possible that she was buried there since she continued to be associated with the farm until circa 1850.  In 1850,  the federal census listed her and Ebenezer as living in Louisville on the north side of Broadway between Sixth and Seventh streets.[3]  Furthermore, her first husband, children, and grandchildren were buried in the cemetery.  The family tree below illustrates Sarah and Ebenezer’s children together (Figure 1). Sarah Farnsley Williams’ husband Ebenezer died on November 2, 1857 of fever, days before his daughter and grandson.  According to family lore, he is also buried in the Farnsley Cemetery.[4]  No headstone or footstone for Ebenezer exists, but space is available in the cemetery for unmarked graves along the western edge.  A record of his death was found, but no other burial...
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Farnsley Cemetery-David Farnsley

The Farnsley Cemetery is associated with the Farnsley-Kaufman House, 4816 Cane Run Road, which sits on the school’s property.  David Farnsley built the two-story  house circa 1812 as a single-pen log house.[1]  Farnsley was the son of James J. Farnsley, a Revolutionary War veteran, who migrated to Louisville from Pittsburgh in the spring of 1786.  He brought with him his wife and two children, Rebekah and David.  The family lived in Fort Nelson in Louisville on present day Main Street between Sixth and Eighth Streets.  Following the end of several attacks by Native Americans, the family settled in Shively in the 1790s.  Between 1784 and 1802 James Farnsley and his wife, whose name is lost to history, had six children.[2] David Farnsley was most likely born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on November 24, 1785, just before his family moved to Louisville.  He bought and sold several properties in Indiana with his brother Joshua before purchasing the property on which the Farnsley-Kaufman House and cemetery sit on July 27, 1812.[3]  David married Sarah “Sally” Lewis Meriwether on January 2, 1814.[4]  According to the 1820 Census, Farnsley and his wife had three children, two males, and one female, all under the age of ten.  They also...
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Farnsley Cemetery Map

The plot of land is square and consists of four rows of burials that are mix of adults and children.  The rows run north to south with the graves facing east, following Christian tradition.  According to the Association for Gravestone Studies, “The earliest settlers had their feet pointing toward the east and the head of the coffin toward the west, ready to rise up and face the ‘new day’ (the sun) when ‘the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised’ or when Christ would appear and they would be reborn.”[1]  The practice of this tradition in the Farnsley Cemetery is evidence of the Farnsley family’s religion and possibly their belief in tradition.  The family planted a cedar tree in the center of the cemetery possibly as a memorial or as part of the original plan of the burying ground.  A cedar is a traditional cemetery plant along with pines, hollies, spruce, crape myrtles, oaks, and maples.  Perennial flowers, such as irises, lilies, and peonies, are also common.[2] However, none were observed at the Farnsley Cemetery. The image below is a map of the Farnsley Cemetery. Each headstone is labeled with a number and the footstones are labeled with a “F.” The corresponding table...
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The Farnsley Cemetery

The Farnsley Cemetery is situated on the property of Farnsley Middle School, southeast of the main school building (Figure 1).  All of the interments are connected to the David Farnsley family, who built the Farnsley-Kaufman House, which sits to the south of the cemetery on the same property.  The Farnsley family is also associated with the historic house museum, Riverside, The Farnsley-Moreman Landing, which sits approximately seven miles to the south on the Ohio River.  The main dwelling at Riverside and was constructed by Gabriel Farnsley, brother of David Farnsley.  The cemetery is a domestic or homestead graveyard and contains thirteen interments and three possibly undocumented ones.  Five children and eight adults comprise the documented internments.  The undocumented interments are believed to be two adults and one child. In 2007, the Friends of Farnsley-Kaufman, a non-profit organization, hired Mike Riegert, a monument conservator, to restore the Farnsley cemetery.  Riegert cleared the overgrown cemetery, and, after thorough research, repaired and realigned the broken headstones and footstones.[1]  It is important to note that not all cemetery preservation efforts are beneficial or even correct.  The following information on the cemetery and its graves is based on the current condition of the cemetery after preservation efforts.  This information...
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Thesis and Graduation

I have finished my thesis, “Discovering Domestic Cemeteries: History, Preservation, and Education,” and graduated with a MA in public history. It all seems so anticlimactic. I worked so hard for many months to write my thesis. I ate, breathed, and lived cemeteries. Now I have this great degree and awesome thesis but I still want to do more. I want to make an impact in cemetery preservation and education. As long as I can remember I have loved cemeteries. When I was a kid my grandmother would take me to the family cemetery every Memorial Day to meet up with her sisters to clean up the graves and replace the flowers. They would share stories about those who were buried there giving me a strong connection to that place. I guess that’s why I have always been fascinated by the people and the history within a cemetery. I don’t have to be related to anyone there in order to feel some sort of connection. Historic cemeteries and graveyards hold the history of the people and community in which they were built. The inscriptions, iconography, and epitaphs on gravemarkers provide insight into the family, religion, social status, and culture of those interred within a specific...
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Omeka Exhibit Page

As I have mentioned in a previous post, my project partner Cy Hudson and I created a podcast using the Main Street Association Oral History Collection. We chose the stories of Arthur Lerman and Martha Vories and Rose Ann Stacy to depict immigration in Louisville and small business ownership. Now we have been slated with the task of creating an Omeka exhibit page as an expansion of our topic. In a previous course I had used a free version of Omeka to create an entire exhibit as a final project. Our class will be using the paid version as the UofL library has access to server space. Our class visited the Photographic Archives at UofL to understand how to conduct research there and find images for our exhibit pages. Unfortunately, Cy and I soon realized that the archives only possessed one picture that was relevant to our topic. As I mentioned, we are focusing on two stories. Lerman was the third generation owner of the Lerman Bros. Department Stores that his grandfather and great uncle started in 1926. These stores were located all over Kentucky with a warehouse in downtown Louisville. The entire family moved to the US from Ukraine, but they each came...
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National Preservation Conference

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Preservation Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana thanks to a scholarship from Indiana Landmarks, the statewide preservation organization. Websites, programs, flyers, signs, and many other information sources for the conference were plastered with a push for social media use during the conference. The hashtag for the conference (#PresConf) was announced continuously to encourage attendees to tweet, Instagram, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. In fact, the conference’s website had and still has a running feed for people to engage, and there were large projection screens placed throughout the conference center with running social media feeds about the conference. I live tweeted and instagramed from the conference and have been amazed with the number of people and organizations that then engaged with me on those outlets. I enjoyed this added engagement with the conference topics and attendees, but after four days of it, I had to take a social media vacation. Following the feeds became a little addictive. My favorite session was entitled “All In: Crowdsourced Mapping of Heritage Assets.” Organizers of three different crowdsourcing projects across the US gave introductions of their projects and then became part of a moderated panel for Q&A....
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Podcasts and Adobe Premier

My class mate Cy Hudson and I are working on a podcast using the oral histories conducted by the Main Street Association. We are specifically using two interviews: one with Arthur Lerman and the other with Martha Vories and Rose Ann Stacy. Both of these interviews share the story of immigrants who moved to Louisville and started businesses that were passed down in the family. Lerman was the third generation owner of the Lerman Bros. Department Stores that his grandfather and great uncle started in 1926. These stores were located all over Kentucky with a warehouse in downtown Louisville. The entire family moved to the US from Ukraine, but they each came one at a time. As the siblings saved money, they would send for another from Ukraine. Sisters Vories and Stacy are the great nieces of Isabel Stingel Muth, wife and business partner of Rudy Muth. Together they started Muth’s Candies in downtown Louisville in 1921. Isabel and Rudy were children of German immigrants who lived in the Germantown neighborhood in Louisville. They both worked in the Bradies and Gheens Company candy factory along with their siblings, which gave them the idea to start their own shop. Muth’s Candies is still operating in...
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My First Professional Presentation

I am proud to say that I survived my first professional presentation today! Preservation Kentucky, the statewide preservation non-profit organization, worked with Preservation Louisville, Neighborhood Planning and Preservation, and the Kentucky Heritage Council to host Preservation 101-Preserving Kentucky’s Historic Cemeteries, a symposium that covered a variety of topics revolving around cemeteries, including a roundtable discussion on the Kentucky cemetery laws. My presentation “Using Historic Cemeteries as Educational Tools and Heritage Tourism Attractions” was a summary of my master’s thesis, which discusses the preservation of historic cemeteries for their importance as research and educational tools, as well as their potential to attract heritage tourism. While cemeteries are used as educational tools for science, social studies, math, literature, and art courses, this presentation will emphasize the connection between the education potential of cemeteries with the argument for preservation. Additionally, we will cover the importance of small domestic graveyards, which are generally overlooked in favor of larger cemeteries with famous burials or specific ethnic groups. I am attending the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference next week in Indianapolis and am excited to hear real preservation professionals discuss their work. I hope to have future opportunities to give more professional presentations as I continue my...
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Today’s Obsession-Pastness

I have to say I love finding primary sources that reflect a specific value or ideal that seems ridiculous in today’s society. As Dr. Thomas Mackey would say they reflect the pastness of the past. A coworker sent me a document that was recently published in Savvy & Sage magazine. It was a 1943 informational piece on hiring female workers in the transportation industry. As many people know, there was a great influx of female workers during World War II since most men were drafted or enlisted for the war. It became the woman’s duty to leave home and take on male positions during wartime. The piece provided eleven tips for supervisors to get “more efficiency out of women employees.” Many of the tips are on health conditions, time management, communication, and breaks. However, there a few that highlight the attitude toward women at that time. For example, the document encourages employers to hire “husky women” because they “are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.” Employers are also encouraged to hire married women as they are more acquainted with responsibility “than their unmarried sisters, they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they...
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Open House: If These Walls Could Talk

Benjamin Filene’s chapter “Make Yourself at Home—Welcoming Voices In Open House: If These Walls Could Talk” from Letting Go? is a fascinating account of the exhibit, Open House: If These Walls Could Talk, created by the Minnesota History Center. Essentially the curators picked a historic house in St. Paul that had been home to a variety of people over time and recreated rooms of that house in the Center to represent the different occupations. The families were all researched in census records, city directories, vital records, etc., and oral histories were conducted. Copies of the primary sources found along with historic photographs are strategically placed around the rooms for discovery of who these ordinary people were. Oral histories play in the exhibit for the visitors as well. There are few text panels for the curators to set the scene and then the visitors are expected to do the rest. As a social historian, I love this idea and am now dying to go see this exhibit. The Center has a portion of the exhibit online to give visitors a taste of what they might see. Exhibit designer Brad Thiel, who worked on the exhibit, has a gallery of photographs on his website. The historic...
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Today’s Obsession-Mapping

The Atlantic Cities published an article entitled, The Ages of 1 Million New York Buildings, Mapped in Explosive Color. Brandon Liu, a computer programmer in San Francisco created this incredible map that depicts the ages of over one million New York buildings. The full version is available here. According to the article, “Inspired by similar visualizations for Brooklyn and Portland, Liu took a bulging wad of newly accessible open data and used it to create an extremely detailed, color-coded cartography of 1,053,713 buildings. Mauve dates to the 1830s, medium blue the turn of the century, and yellow the mid-1990s. It’s zoomable, so you can ratchet down to specific neighborhoods to root out some real geezers hiding among all the fresh-faced facades.”   Please go to the article and view the pictures and read about the data. This story is digital history at its finest. It’s incredible what you can do with technology and GIS...
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Oral History

This week in my digital history course we read two pieces by Michael Frisch. The first was from his first book A Shared Authority and the second was from Letting Go? in which Frisch readdresses his first piece years later. I appreciate Frisch’s explanation of oral history, as it is a growing field that many do not seem to understand. I have had plenty of conversations with people who do not understand the complexities of the interviews and the idea of memory. Everyone will remember a historical event differently and their biases will be present in those memories. Furthermore, memory is a funny thing, which some people rewrite in their brains. As Frisch points out it is very important to use primary sources as well as oral histories in order to get a clear picture of past events. Using oral histories in historic research can add a human element to a narrative and give different perspectives, but as previously mentioned memory is inherently faulty. Frisch discusses the oral history project known as StoryCorps, which NPR airs a segment of every week. Frisch says that because of its popularity historians have been skeptic “about the value and meaning of the kind of interviews collected and...
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Omeka and Podcasts

My digital history course this semester is going to create a class exhibit based on oral histories of downtown Louisville from the Main Street Association. I love real world, out of the box activities that allow students to use websites such as Omeka, which we should know to be competitive on the job market. In my intro to public history course last year, I was lucky enough to have the option to write a term paper or create an Omeka exhibit. I chose the exhibit as I have written enough term papers to last me a lifetime. My exhibit focused on the Brennan House, a historic house museum and home of Preservation Louisville, as it is the last historic residence in downtown Louisville. I thought I would share my exhibit and those of my classmates, which were listed in a blog post by our professor. Our course is also going to create podcasts from those same oral histories. Tonight we listed to some really awesome examples (this one and this one) and had a brainstorming session. It was fun to hear everyone’s ideas and discover how the oral histories I listened to could fit into various topics and scenarios. Ideas on immigration, branding, camaraderie,...
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Professionalism in Curation

Some fields have begun to have an influx of amateurs who refer to themselves as historians or curators but do not have the professional qualifications. You don’t see amateur neurosurgeons so why are there so many amateur historians and curators. Daniel Blight, a professional writer and curator, addresses this issue in a Guardian blog post What happened to the expert curator? Gone are the days of the authoritative curator who conveys their views and beliefs to the audience. The museum field has progressed to include a wider audience and allow visitors to draw their own meaning and conclusions. However, it is still impossible for a curator to be unbiased in an exhibit but awareness of these biases can allow for a more open exhibit. Despite these changes to be more inclusive, some people still see museums and exhibits as places for a more affluent or educated audience not for the layperson. I think that amateur curators like amateur historians have something interesting and new to add to the professional conversation. However, there still needs to be a degree of professionalism. People who are not trained properly in their field can perpetuate misinformation and cause serious damage. Rosenzweig and Thelen in their book The Presence...
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“Public History Today”

This past Thursday I attended a public history forum at U of L entitled “Public History Today: Current Trends, Future Directions.” John Dichtl, the executive director of the National Council on Public History (NCPH), and Craig Friend, Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University, were the featured speakers. Daniel Vivian and Lara Kelland of our history department acted as moderators. Students were invited to attend as well as public history professionals in the region. Representatives from the Kentucky Historical Society, Louisville Slugger Museum, Filson Historical Society, U of L Archives, Anne Braden Institute, and Bernheim Forest were in the audience. Among the many topics discussed, the idea of there being too many public history programs churning out too many graduates was discussed at length (see this article about the topic by Robert Weyeneth, President of the National Council on Public History and director of the public history program at the University of South Carolina). Both Friend and Dichtl felt that this concern was not 100% accurate as the economy has more effect on the lack of jobs for public history graduates than the number of programs. However, the speakers did address what constitutes a good program and that included active community involvement....
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Today’s Obsession-Vault

To be honest, I had never really heard of Slate, an online daily news magazine that has been around since 1996. I typically get my news from NPR or the New York Times, but I would occasionally see a reference to one of the Slate blogs, which I have to say are great. Like this one called browbeat, that criticizes an Aetna ad for being grammatically baffling (Is This the Most Grammatically Baffling Ad Campaign Ever?). Most of their bloggers are witty and have something interesting to add to the conversation. I am ashamed to say that I just discovered YESTERDAY that they have a history blog called The Vault: Historical Treasures, Oddities, and Delights. Where have I been? This blog is amazing! The bloggers find one archival document or object of visual and historical interest and share and explain them on this blog. Most of the entries also get posted on facebook, twitter, and tumblr. For example, an entry from September 16 shows a chart/timeline of the entire Civil War from the Library of Congress’s website. This chart by the Comparative Synoptical Chart Co. in 1897 is visually appealing. The blogger does a fantastic job of explaining the benefits and weakness of such...
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West Main

I have been on numerous tours of downtown Louisville, and after writing papers on the preservation history of Louisville, interning at Metro Louisville with the planners and preservationists, and developing an exhibit on historic buildings in Louisville, I feel like I am very well-versed in the architectural history of Louisville. However, there is still so much more to learn. I found myself looking for new and different ideas in Susan Foley’s tour of West Main. As an employee of the Main Street Association (http://www.mainstreetassociation.com), Foley weaved history, tourism, and her oral history project into a very interesting tour. I tended to focus more on the tourism aspects of the tour because these ideas were unlike anything I had heard before. For example, when the sidewalks of West Main were redesigned, bricks were placed sideways in front of the columns of the cast iron facades to let visitors and residents know that this building was part of the largest iron façade collection after SoHo in New York. That very simple idea is a great way to draw attention to an interesting part of Louisville’s history. Another interesting tourism feature of West Main are the replica coal hole covers in front of specific buildings, which have...
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Does every historical endeavor need a website?

Wow, Cohen and Rosenzweig’s Chapter 2 was VERY technical. I felt like I was having a conversation with my IT teaching father. However, there is a wealth of great advice mixed in. For example, the authors explain that too many people worry and focus on the technology that needs to go into building a website. While that is important, you have to be able to see the forest for the trees. In other words, the big picture must always stay in view. I love this quote, “If you were thinking about building a house, how much time would you spend concentrating on the type of plumbing you would like to use or the amperage of the electrical service? How long would you spend thinking about the types of wrenches you would use to install the hot water heater?” (56). I also appreciate that the authors pose the question to the reader about whether or not they really need a website. Does every historical endeavor need a website? The answer to this question really depends on the historian’s intended audience. In this digital age, the general public want to see things on the internet. I know some people that only subscribe to online versions of...
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The “History Web”

As historians we are taught to include a section on historiography (an explanation of previous research) in every paper or project we create. Fittingly, Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig have done this in their first chapter of Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. However, rather than discussing previous academic publications on digital history, the authors discuss the historiography of what they call the “History Web” otherwise known as history related websites. Within this chapter, Cohen and Rosenzweig cover the earliest internet web browser, Mosaic, which debuted in 1993, and progress all the way to Google and the many archival, education, exhibit, blog, organizational, and discussion websites available today. Furthermore, the authors provide terrific examples of history websites, such as the Library of Congress’s American Memory and PBS’s American Experience, that shaped how historians and the general public interacted with history. However, this book, which was published in 2006, is showing its age. There have been many advances in the “History Web” that make this guide a little antiquated. For example, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, and Vine now dominate the internet and how many people spend their time. History organizations,...
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Intro

Hello! My name is Savannah and I am in my last semester of my master’s program at the University of Louisville. I am studying public history and this site will serve as a soundboard for my thoughts on articles and public history...
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