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.
The 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/.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.