Curriculum Continues to Evolve, Reflecting Trends in the Nation and in the Field of Public History
Each year the SHA curriculum changes a bit to reflect the ways in which the practice of public history is changing in the field. In recent years, as our nation has grappled with issues of race and racism, historic sites and other history organizations are showing increased readiness to tackle what some have called difficult history.
This is not a new topic for the seminar: Follow the North Star has been a staple for many years; David Young has presented for the past six years on working with the local community to interpret the history of race in the Germantown section of Philadelphia; two years ago, Sarah Pharaon joined the faculty to teach about the use of dialogue when engaging visitors in difficult topics; and last year Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko discussed leadership challenges in working with native communities in Maine.
This year the topic will receive increased attention. The keynote will be delivered by John Fleming, who was one of the pioneers in our field in bringing African American history to the fore. We are also revamping the visit to Conner Prairie, working with Norman Burns, the new director. We will spend an entire day there, the morning devoted to leadership challenges and practices, the afternoon to interpreting race and racism at historic sites. Richard Josey from the Minnesota Historical Society will join us to lead a discussion on recent developments regarding these topics. We’ll also spend time with the Conner Prairie staff talking about Follow the North Star and new initiatives they are undertaking to broaden the interpretation of the history of race in Indiana.
Other changes this year include Tim Grove on the History Relevance Campaign, Colleen Dilenschneider on engaging Millennials, Trevor Jones and Elee Wood on changes in the way we manage and use collections, and Katherine Malone-France and Tom Mayes on trends in historic preservation. Continuing from previous years are time with the leadership and staff of our hosts, the Indiana Historical Society, visits to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indiana Medical History Museum, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, and the Eiteljorg Museum; and sessions on organizational change, leadership, business models, financial management, fundraising, historical interpretation, exhibitions, evaluation, team building and leading from the middle.
Check out the full 2016 Developing History Leaders @SHA syllabus.
We are excited for this 56th iteration of SHA!