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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Faculty 2

With the 2019 National Council on Public History Conference located just down the road from Amherst in Hartford, Connecticut, UMass Amherst public historians arrived in impressive numbers. Everywhere I looked at the Connecticut Convention Center, I saw fellow cohort members, faculty, and alumni milling about, presenting their work, attending workshops, exhibiting posters, and otherwise participating in this foremost gathering of U.S. public historians. I joined a panel of public historians, ranging from professors to archivists to students like myself, in developing The Inclusive Historian’s Handbook. This will be a forthcoming free digital booklet for museum professionals and public historians to encourage accessibility, inclusivity, and equity. The environment was supportive and inspiring, as I sat beside alumnus Austin Clark ’18MA and saw Marla Miller and many peers in the audience. Among the dozens of sessions I attended, I found the roundtables “S51: Black Public History from Post-Emancipation to Neo-Emancipation” and “S61: When All is Gone, Whose Story Remains? Protecting Coastal Heritage in a Changing Climate” most informative and thought-provoking. In S51, Hannah Scruggs of Montpelier shared how, as a black woman, working at a former plantation-now-museum feels like an act of spatial reclamation. In S61, Kate Cell of the Union of Concerned Scientists described the emotional and physical toll of losing cultural heritage to rising seas. These two presentations epitomized the reasons I gravitate to public history: how historically marginalized communities claim and make space, and how we can respond to the loss of beloved spaces as climate change continues to threaten their existence. I look forward to exploring these themes deeper in my public history career and as a new member of NCPH’s New Professional and Graduate Student Committee. Thank you to all UMass folks who organized the event, especially NCPH President Marla Miller and LJ Woolcock ’19MA for their superb organizational skills and caring.