Unconference schedule at Bmore Historic!

Morning 1

  • France Hall: Making the Small Museum Relevant to the 21st Century
  • Merrick: How to Craft a Holistic, Informed Communications Strategy
  • Counting room: Engaging People & Communities
  • 3rd floor classroom: Maryland’s Modern Architecture
  • MHC: Museums in Collaboration with Universities

Morning 2

  • France Hall: Digital Storytelling for Small Museums
  • Merrick: American Memory & Public History
  • Counting room: #PreserveMD: Social Media & Maryland’s Preservation Community
  • 3rd floor classroom: Sharing is Hard! Local History, Teamwork & Open Culture + Geeking Out
  • MHC: Deindustrialization and Its Effects on History & Preservation
  • Symington Library: The National Historic Preservation Act Turns 50

Afternoon Session

  • France: WHO is Telling Your Story?
  • Merrick: Public Perception of Historic Preservation
  • Counting: Old Goucher
  • 3rd floor classroom: All History Ain’t in Books (sequel)
  • Library: Challenges in Collection Management
  • MHC: History + Humanities = Life Skills for Kids
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Deindustrialization and Its Effects on History and Preservation

Baltimore was the sixth largest city in the U.S. and an industrial and manufacturing powerhouse in the 1950s. However, deindustrialization has had negative effects on the built environment and culture of the city. This session will be a general discussion on deindustrialization and its effects on history and preservation in Baltimore.

The decline, dismantling, and disappearance of the many industries across the U.S. deeply affects the towns, cities, and regions in which they were situated and the local communities with which they were intimately related. Understanding the relationships between place and post-industrialization in both historical and contemporary contexts is key to ensuring economically, environmentally, and culturally sustainable futures for American cities.

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 5.33.34 PMThe Post-Industrial Places project at UMBC focuses on two historically interrelated and, yet, geographically separate areas: Baybrook—a group of six diverse industrial neighborhoods in the southern part of Baltimore City—and the Sparrows Point Steel Mill communities—including Dundalk and the historically African-American neighborhood of Turner Station situated just across the southwestern city border in Baltimore County. The project seeks to show the human side and personal stories of industrial development and decline.

For more info see:

“Mill Stories” http://millstories.umbc.edu/

“Mapping Baybrook” http://mappingbaybrook.org/.

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WHO is Telling Your Story?

As the world has shifted to a one that champions user-generated content, museums have reacted to new visitor expectations in a number of ways.  Recent exhibitions, programming, and media offerings reflect new methodologies incorporating communities. This general discussion will focus on how cultural institutions are using community members and other outside interpreters to engage visitors and present a variety of perspectives.  As staff is tied down by administrative responsibilities and volunteer numbers decline, some historic sites have turned to community interpreters for pragmatic as well as more philosophical reasons: including different voices, community outreach, attracting new audiences, engaging the public in content development or simply ensuring that tours are covered – there are diverse reasons to adopt this strategy.  Who are the interpreters at your site?  Do you utilize community members as interpreters already; if so in what ways?  Are you interested in pursuing this opportunity in the future?  Join us as we discuss how and why this may assist history organizations in Maryland.

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Session Proposal: Making the Small Museum relevant to 21st century audiences

Small local history museums, like the Sandy Spring Museum, which have remained stagnant and unchanging for the past 15 years have a new challenge – how do we make ourselves relevant to our 21st-century audiences?

Small museums can offer programs, outreach and exhibits – but has this worked for others?  How can we get communities more involved and make our mission more relevant for those who have typically never set foot through our doors?

Should we become more like community museums or remain static history museum communities?

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Session Proposal: American Memory & Public History

History is all about dealing with memory – whether that memory is imagined or factual is one of the biggest problems we face as historians, especially as public historians, who convey to the public the importance of the past and confront how contested the past really is.

I propose then that in this session we discuss how public historians confront memory and history, we have to define what these terms mean of course, and then we need to look at instances of contested history that have been the source of much heartache already to historians, things like yes slavery! And the American Civil War and the Enola Gay.  They do not have to be American history (but that’s what I’m most familiar with.)  But I think it is important we try to dissect why we view our past the way we do, what shaped our national memory?  What is national memory?  Who “controls” national memory?  How do we confront a memory that is historically inaccurate?

I am drawing heavily on the following three works for this discussion: David Blight, Race and Reunion; David Blight, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War; History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past, ed. Edward Linenthal and Tom Englehardt, and (for any fellow furloughed park service folks) Interpreting Our Heritage by Freedman Tilden.  I think we’ll all have fun and that everyone will have a lot to contribute even if they are new to the public history field!

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All History Ain’t in Books–the Sequel

While much of “history” is focused on books, there is an enormous amount of popular history in the Baltimore area. Come to this workshop and share your experiences with public history, oral history, videos and other diverse presentations. We had a great time last year as participants described both gathering and distributing their history projects.

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Session Proposal: At the intersection of genealogy and public history

At the intersection of genealogy and public history:  Using ancestry.com and other family history websites to inform our work as public historians.

  • Have you tried to stimulate community interest in your public history work by connecting to descendants of early residents in the community?
  • Have you found an interesting or non-typical application for ancestry.com’s resources?
  • Would you be interested in sharing your experience or learning more about ways to use genealogy resources in engaging your community?

Please let me know of your interest in joining this proposed session.

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How to Craft a Holistic, Informed Commmunications Strategy

We’re trying to reach everybody.

We have 37 core messages.

Hell, let’s just send another email.

If you’ve ever heard these phrases come up in meetings — or uttered them yourself — then it’s time to talk about defining your audience and finding the right ways to reach them.

I’d like to suggest a session on how you can develop a comprehensive communications strategy for your organization, no matter its mission, size, or budget. In it, we could cover how to:

  • refine and select your top message(s);
  • identify the specific audience(s) that will help you achieve your good work;
  • determine the best channels for reaching said audience(s);
  • develop your content based on research rather than the old “throw spaghetti at the wall” approach;
  • get the key content developers in your organization talking and working together;
  • and stay sane while doing it.

I’m happy to share insights from my day job as the associate director for digital content at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We’ve been turning our ship, so to speak, for the last couple of years and redeveloping our content to support our cause marketing goals. We are also working with much more specific marketing personas, which you can read about in the Field Guide to Local Preservationists. So I can share some of what we’ve learned, but I’d also love to hear from the wider group about what’s working for you (or not).

What say you all? What other discussion points would help you with your current responsibilites, or help guide your organization toward clearer audience outreach and communication?

P.S. I’ll be doing a short workshop session in the afternoon on how to share content info both within and out of your organization, create useful editorial calendars, and systematize content production to help you get more done, faster. So if you’re interested in that, a session on holistic communications could be a great tee-up!

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Digital Storytelling for Small Museums

I would like to propose a session to discuss digital storytelling as an interpretive tool at local historic sites. I am personally involved with a budding digital project at a local site and am particularly interested in covering issues such as implementing digital media with limited resources, project sustainability, institutional support, digital media as tool of public engagement, dealing with visitor techno-phobia, and unexpected outcomes.

I am currently working with the curator at the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) in St. Leonard MD, to expand the farming narrative. We are researching the possibility of installing a video booth at the Farm Exhibit, using the Story Booth at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of MD as a model, so that we can collect stories from local residents on their personal recollections and experiences involving the agricultural heritage of Calvert County. Our hope is to make this booth available to visitors for spontaneous use, with an eye towards collecting more extensive oral histories from generations of farmers in the area.

I am reaching out to those of you with experience in the world of digital history, and I would love to address questions I have not asked in this proposal as well. Sub-themes for future sessions could include “Beyond Facebook: Using Digital Media for Public Outreach”, “Engaging Underserved Audiences at State and Local Historic Sites”, “Smart Phone Tours 101″, etc.

Please feel free to provide feedback. I would love to hear your thoughts on whether or not this sounds like a subject worthy of a session discussion.

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Story Booth “Extraordinary Minds. Extraordinary Stories.”  http://claricesmithctr.videobooth.tv

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How do I propose a session at Bmore Historic?

Everyone who participates in Bmore Historic is encouraged to propose a session, either before the conference with a short blog post or even on the same day as we assemble the schedule. Never used WordPress before? Check out this short video on how to write and publish a post.

What kind of session can I propose?

Think creatively about how you can learn from one another and have some fun at the same time. Don’t plan to read a paper or just show your old PowerPoint! You can organize a:

  • General discussion — Sometimes people just want to get together and talk informally, with no set agenda, about something they’re all interested in.
  • Writing session — Organize a group of people to start writing something — a book, a manifesto, a blog post– together as a group or in parallel.
  • Working session — You’re working on something and you think we might be able to help you with it while learning something ourselves. You describe problems you want solved and questions you want answered, and strangers magically show up to hear about what you’re doing and to give you their perspective and advice.

From archivists and librarians to park advocates and organizers, you can expect a diverse group in every session. Everyone has an opportunity to participate in determining the schedule so session proposals that engage more enthusiastic participants are more likely to be selected. Continue reading

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