May 7: History for Hard Times

History for Hard Times

How does public history survive recession? Why should we care if it doesn't? As Wall Street's recovery fails to materialize on Main Street in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, the institutions which serve public history – museums, historical societies, academic departments and publicly-appointed historians themselves – struggle in the face of widespread public retrenchment and the decline of private philanthropic giving. At our May 7th meeting, we will hold a workshop on the pragmatic, philosophical and political implications of public history, with a special focus on the history of public history in New York State. Our President, Eliza Jane Darling, will present a report from the recent annual meeting of the Association of Public Historians of New York State, where hard times for history provoked conversations about the histories we produce for hard times.

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