History for many is just
events that happen in the past, but for many it is an occupation that requires
studying for decades. Many people consider history as a connection to famous historical
settings. Some popular examples of public history settings are the Sternberg Museum, the historic home of the Unsinkable
Molly Brown, the battle site of Little Big Horn, the VatiMS1 can’s archives, Yellowstone
national park, and all
levels of government. These are all well-known historic settings,
however not all historic settings are famous. Historic settings can be
found in almost every town if looked for. For example, MS2 Hang Man’s Bridge in Hays,
Kansas is historical but only half of the population know of its existence. Public
and academic history has had a long-standing relationship with the
public since the late 1970s.MS3 This essay will discuss the
history behind public history and its meaning, differentiate the elements
between public history and academic history, and the relationship MS4 history has with the public.
Public history is a
broad range of activities untaken by historians in the subject of
historyMS5 . These historians work on historicMS6 al preservation, archival science, oral and
written history, and museum curating. The public
history field has become increasingly professionalized in Northern America
since the 1970s. Furthermore, it MS7 is a specialty field,
profession, and a course of study which has gained recognition over the years.
history and academic history share similar research methods and interpretive
standards. However, there are three essential elements that help distinguish public
history from academic history. These elements are audience, collaboration, and
reflective practice. The idea of public audience was introduced in the
mid-1990s when a group of historians conducted extensive phone interviews with
over a thousand Americans. These phone interviews were an attempt to explore
how Americans understood their pasts and interacted with public history. One of
the interviews goals was to have the interviewed people express their MS8 personal preferences for how historical informationMS9 was passed to share with them. Historians
discovered that the people they interviewed trusted museums the most for its historical
accuracy and information. People trust the history they learn in museums because
the information was presented, designed, and collected by professionals. Second,
museum exhibits allow patrons of the public to interact directly with the real
objects of history. For example, holding and touching objects in the
Exploration Room of the museum helps its patrons to understand and grasp the
historic value. When asked what they do not trust for historical information, movies
and television programs were labeled as untrustworthy by almost every person
interviewed. An example of an untrustworthy historical movie is Mel Gibson’s
Apocalypto, in which it shows the decline of a Mayan Kingdom with little to no
The public can decide
what and how they choose to learn and relate to history and the past. “Respecting
the public’s ownership over their own history demands the recognition of
practice of shared authority.” (…….) a term historian Michael Frisch developed during
his work. Shared historical authority is a trend in
museums and historical institutions in which they aim to open the
interpretation of history to the public audience. They describe shared authority
as a collaboration between historians and the public because neither are the
sole interpreters of history.
Public historians have been collaborating with non-historians
across the world, while academic research gives preference to textual sources.
For example, legal documents, maps, and letters. Academic historians are also
known to work alone, where as public historians work with a wide range of
working individuals, such as archaeologists, architects, art historians, and curators.
The collaborative job a public historian adapts
to shows that the person must function as a professional of their study and
understand the jobs expectations. These historians must be trained and ready to
explain their works, finding, and standards to the public. Collaboration with
the public and people who do not study history can make it difficult to agree
on ideas and maintain focus on goals. Historians must engage in reflective practice,
discussing what worked and what did not work from experiences and testing from
pervious situations to successful approach new projects. Therefore, public
historians must become Master of Study and interpretation of their professional
standards and of history itself.
Reflective practice is a way of studying your own experiences to improve
the way you work. The act of reflection is a great way to increase confidence
and become a more proactive and qualified professional.
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the public people?
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