The PH Magazine Rack

Posted on January 8, 2008 under history of science, magazine rack, public history

Are you a member of more history organizations than you can keep track of? Do they all send you newsletters, so many that you can’t find a clear space on the floor? Or would you like to read these publications, but can’t find them on the web? The PH Magazine Rack* will solve all your problems by giving you a guided tour through various recent hardcopy publications. Suggestions for publications are always accepted!

NCPH Public History News 28(1), December 2007

This issue has a number of articles about the spring meeting in Louisville (registration is open now!) and a piece by Ben Filene, formerly of the MHS, about a public history project he did with his students at UNC Greensboro. In collaboration with a small museum interpreting the history of an African-American Seventh-Day Adventist school in High Point, students used a 1963 photo of 46 black students at the school and tracked down as many of the former students as possible for a community-curated exhibit on local history. Good stuff, especially if you’re interested in pedagogy. Other news of note is that 2008 is the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, and the National New Deal Preservation Association is sponsoring a number of events. The NCPH is also inaugurating a number of awards: for consultants, for emerging professionals, and for outstanding public history projects: the deadline is January 11, so look sharp.

Newsletter of the History of Science Society 37(1) January 2008

The HSS Newsletter continues to become more and more interesting and readable. This edition includes two first person columns on alternative careers for historians of science; or, as columnist David Attis writes, “what academics refer to as ‘alternative careers’ and everyone else just refers to as ‘careers.'” Attis went into consulting and seems to have had an interesting and varied career so far. The other article is from Pamela Long, writing fascinatingly about the precarious business of making a living as an independent scholar. Amazingly, she has never adjuncted. There’s a piece on the work of my brilliant colleague Hyung Wook Park on the history of the science of aging (he won the Reingold Prize this year). Taner Edis contributes a great article about Islamic creationism. There are also program profiles of the University of Athens and UCSB (where historians of science apparently surf together) and an article about Wikipedia by Sage Ross.

AASLH Dispatch January 2008

This Dispatch is mostly announcements about AASLH programs (which are great, but you can find them on the website). There’s an interesting article about a survey of museum-going habits of families with children done by Reach Advisors (who have a great audience research blog). History museums are at the bottom of other kinds of museums in terms of visitation by families with young children, but their ranking rises as children reach a certain age. History museum going is correlated with education, but such that people with only some college are the most likely to take their kids to museums: “It was a pleasant surprise that history-based museums have lower perceived barriers of entry for those with less education and income.”

Terry Davis’ article on the front page is about the Federal Formula Grant Initiative, an effort to get museums funded in the same way libraries are. AASLH is on the front lines of lobbying to get this program passed–basically it would mean more money for IMLS, which would be passed directly to the states to give to museums. I am not sure what I think about this project at all. “We need you to pull together as a community that works as a team to improve the state of your field. Libraries did, and through the efforts of the ALA and many years of work, today libraries are among the most technologically sophisticated and nationally linked cultural organizations in the country. and museums can be too!” I’m skeptical. (Most) libraries are certainly more technologically sophisticated than (most) museums at the moment, but there’s definitely a crisis in library funding happening all over the country. Note those libraries in Minneapolis closed all of 2007 that I discussed yesterday. Or the possible plan to consolidate most libraries in Indiana. I definitely need to read more about this project, but I’d love to hear feedback from folks who know more about federal formula grants, how they’ve worked for libraries, and how they might work for museums.

*”Newsletter rack” doesn’t have much of a ring to it.