The end of the road…

Ahhh sad to say, but true. The adventure I so foolishly sent myself on is over. I must say, however, I have probably made worse decisions in my life than doing the group project alone….maybe…

As I spoke about during the presentation, the hardest thing for me to get done was the permissions for the photos I most wanted to use. That, and wrapping my head around the fact that I needed to match up to all you grad students; now that class is over I can admit that! Being able to attack the project in a way that I really felt excited about was a great benefit, however, and I wouldn’t trade that for all the hair I may have lost throughout the process.
Building the site through google definitely made it easier on me, as well as the awesome support that I had. I got to use skills from my internship, as well as last semester’s undergrad public history class and really prove that I had actually learned something and my parents’ money wasn’t wasted. They were pretty excited.
I chose what I did, as I said before, because of Arthur Hart and Todd Shallat. I fell in love with history because I liked finding out all the things that no one else knew or really showed an interest in until someone else brought it up. I enjoy telling what I know and what I love, so that was my approach to the project; I hope everyone enjoyed it.
You all did amazing projects—obviously. I was honored to have been in a class with you all.

Don’t walk away mad…

First of all, I must agree with the frustrations at the amount of acryonyms in the writing. By the time I saw them again, I forgot what they meant. That I may be able to attribute to my early college education, however. I was also thrown off by attempting to remember legal references and section 106 and blah….I was going to go to law school once, but no more.

I am, as of yet, unsure if my feelings about this reading stem from the actual book, or stress and the need for a good massage and pedicure, but I found myself not only angered, but confused, surprised, and even disgruntled at times (to quote my neighbor). Most of the unpleasant emotions were brought up during the discussion of the BLM’s method of contact and land research, as well as pretty much all of chapter seven and its guidebook to dodging anything. Not that the author supports it, but that wow I didn’t even consider half of these things had been going on, especially environmental issues and toxic waste concerns. I suppose I just have too much faith in mankind.

I was not completely disappointed; I appreciated the surprisingly light-hearted approach to the majority of the issues. I also very much appreciate the end chapter on “What to do about it.” This would especially include “Never *&%$#@ Assume!” It left me with a glimmer of hope, and it always makes me smile when someone references profanity.

OOhhhh, boy. Where do I begin?

Here we go with another one of Kate’s semi-facetious, sometimes-off-topic-but-always-makes-her-way-back-around post! Hazzah!
With an opener like that, I must first comment on the phrase that was crossed out in the Respectable Negroes blog (can I say that?). “willfully ill-informed Right-wing neo-secessionist nostalgia mongers”; I must admit, I get quite the kick out of that. I would also like to comment on their mention of white-washing history. So apparent when it gets called out, but when you are learning things in school, you trust your teachers and what the educate you on–uh oh! All of a sudden you have a completely biased view of history! Whoopsie daisy!
A good example of an event such as this is the Virginia text book. The fact that the book went through so many people to be approved, then the same people disagree is frustrating; not to mention that the author had 14 more books in schools! The author of “Yikes! History’s Grossest Moments”; who said herself that she was “a fairly repected writer.” Hmmmm
And finally, the letters between the professor and the museum curator, which I have just adored since last semester. The references the curator makes to the african american students and learning about “their own kind” is just fascinating! Oh, and I absolutely loved how education in the North was higher as apposed (yes, with and ‘a’) to the South. I could have asked for nothing better!
That is my rant. I am allowing myself to say these things because I was once a victim of bad history. I’d rather not talk about it……


History and Hoaxes

Ok…The Last America Pirate was awesome; the idea behind the course was spectacular, and I am not at all surprised at the amount of work her class put into the project. When something catches your attention like that, it is hard not to be excited about adding a bit of tom-foolery to history!
This got me thinking about my History and Conspiracy Theories class with Dr. Walker last summer. We studied some of the most fascinating “research” I think I’ve ever seen! So, for this blog, I have chosen to share with you a few of my favorite hoaxes in the spirit of Trick-or-History. Some will make you smile, others cry, others make you wonder who in the world spent all their time compiling so much, ummm, data? to prove their point, and others will just make you LOL. Yes, LOL. Who knows, you may even change your mind about some of these events…
Stanley Kubrick’s Moon Landing as seen through The Shining

This site is full of fun historic facts

After reading about Edward Owens and the class project, I couln’t possibly share anything else today! Alas, perhaps a more intellectual pursuit further along in the week. But for now, just enjoy the hoax!

Are we a Preservation Nation?

This topic makes it hard to pick a side, at the moment. After reading the chapters in the book (and skimming a bit), I can understand the arguments of he majority of the people mentioned, contradictory though they may be. In the very beginning of the book, when Clem Labine is quoted as writing “Preservationists are Un-American,” ummm… He explains he reasoning well in his argument, however the whole thing seemed just a tad dramatized; perhaps it’s just the terminlology used, such as “preservationist oppose the conventional American idea of consuming ever more….we are the the wave of pioneers.” It felt a little like a Western. Or one of those movies where you leave feeling like you can conquer the world.
I very much enjoyed the Shakespearean ideals of “The past is prologue,” and breaking apart the word ~preserve~ in order to evalute its ‘deeper meaning.’ The idea of seeing buildings as verbs provided a really great visual; I started picturing buildings that were known for something when it was built, though it may be used for something else now; example: Turnerverein Building.
The argument between Eugene Emmanuel Voillet-le-Duc and Paul Leon is what really got me thinking. Voilett-le-Duc was interested not only in preserving the buildings that told stories of the past, but perhaps building them as the were meant to be. Leon saw preservation as more of an insult to the architects of the past, and the signatures the generations that came before left on a place. Ruskin felt the same, yet seemingly a bit more angered by the thought of preservation. While I agree that a building’s “glory is in its age,” comparing preservation to botox it an odd argument to make.
Admittedly, I have never been able to identify a building’s architectural style by the design of the columns or the font used at the entrance. If I looked at it and concentrated, it would probably come to me, but I wouldn’t be the first person to ask the style of something. The bad part about not being able to identify a building’s style is that it hinders my ability to evaluate when it was built–separate from its surroundings. If compared to other sites that have known information, etc., I would be able to do so; but alas, architectural dating on the spot is not my forte. This means it takes me longer (unless the date is on the building) than some others to place it in the needed historical context to evaluate its importance and usability then and now, much like the Timberline kids did with the BAP. There were some things I would have liked to see, but there is always another year, and they followed the criteria quite well!
For someone who skims I tend to write a lot.
The end.

Oh, Museum Politics…

I suppose starting with the obvious first-chapter- Holocaust-issue would be, well, obvoious. However…this was a topic in last semester’s public history undergrad course and it still amazes me; this will never be an issue that is able to be settled. There will always and forever be a “this is the truth and it should be shown side,” and a “why the %$#& are you making this entertaining” side? I, for one, am on the side of truth, and sometimes it just so happens that getting certain audiences to understand it takes certain measures, whether they are playing the role of a victim on a card the are given, or are approached by the image of thousands of shoes in a pile representing the dead. Sometimes the extremist experience is the one that effects people more and teaches them the most.
I only have one brief question about chapter 6 and the American Museum of Natural History. Granted, it was skimmed, however, the idea that the museum is an “essentially uncontested site” (p.101), seems to be founded in the statements following, that it focuses on assuring the patrons of the museum that their “life is as it should be,” “the American way of life.” This being the overarching theme of the museum, the attention gets taken away from the fact that half of the artifacts aren’t even from America, or came from before it was America. So does the name of a museum have an effect on the interpretation? It seems to me that it does.
**It is at this point the girl in the ‘quiet study room’ almost got a lesson in what that actually means, and I attempted to stray away from (accidental) manslaughter. Her teeth hurt…how is that relevant to her study group?**
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a great compliation of different aspects that bring in all different kinds of crowds. Not only their exhibits, but the different kinds of tours they offer are largely attractive qualities of what would initially seem a not-so-exciting scenario.
As a person who tends to lean more toward the side of a more humanitarian museum, as opposed to the nature preservation, I must admit that I was impressed with Luke’s descriptions and the way he analyzed the nature reserves, as it were. However, it seemed at times that he had an aversion to anything human-related, though it is most likely a dislike of the liberal displays of genocide and the the like. He does have a good opinion for all of it, however, and he does know what he is talking about!

Spatial history and neat-o graphics

The spatial history site at was really interesting. The railroad project seemed like a huge undertaking when I first looked at the site, but then looking at other projects, it did not seem so daunting. The programs to look at the demography of a city, like they are working on with students in Sao Paulo, or the visual of prostitution arrests in Philadelphia during a specific time period, is not only beneficial to research, but is also pretty wicked awesome. The Washington Post site with the digital imaging and over-lays of past and present Washington, D.C. was incredible. I can’t even imagine the amount of work that went in to that project. I believe it is the same project we watched last semester, but for some reason it has more meaning this time. Perhaps it’s because I have a new found appreciation for the historically accurate AND tech savvy.
The mobile for museums site I remember seeing before as well, and is more useful for research than it may seem. The the mobile for museums project itself, of course, but the tools available on the homepage of the CHNM website.
Now I feel like whatever application I am involved in developing will obviosly pale in comparison to these projects, but they do give me a huge burst of inspiration, which is always nice when you’re pretty sure you forgot everything you knew how to do.

Public History Careers–how to do what you want.

Now a liaison for the United States with Croatia monitoring the maintenance of donated vehicles, Chris Borders started out with a History degree and a career in the National Guard. After graduating and guard duty, and miscellaneous jobs in the history field (mostly museums), Chris got a job at the Museum of Military History at Gowan Field.
Not everyone who gets a museum job gets as lucky as he did with his oral history assignment. He was to interview and catalog as much detail from as many members of the Guard that had seen combat, past and present. What he ended up creating was the largest collection of oral histories of the National Guard in the States, and received recognition from the Department of Defense for the work he had done on the project. Though the project had been assigned to him, it was not seen as work to him half the time. He got to meet the most interesting people and hear war stories that were probably only told to wives or grandchildren, or not even spoken of at all. That is one of the best parts of oral history, it’s like hearing a story from the greatest story-teller in the world; it has a time travel effect on the listener when the teller has been there and remembered so much.
Working in the history field and getting moved around to different history related jobs in Boise due to budget issues (go figure in the history department), it became clear that the position he had at the museum was not going to last forever, which is a current issue as well. The funding for museums jobs comes from the government, having a huge impact of the amount of people who can work at a museum, directly affecting the quality of the historians they employ. Typically, museum employees need a Bachelors Degree in the field, unless of course it’s a gift shop or admissions gig. To get a job at a specialized museum you not only need a degree but a great deal of experience in the field. Chris’ work with the National Guard definitely gave him the edge in getting the job that he did at the Museum of Military History. In order to be a curator of a museum, the position is most always held by a person with a PhD and a lot of experience in the department of history. There are, however, always internships that can give you the opportunity to edge your way into a museum job as well, though since everyone in this class is getting their Masters (other than myself), I would say you have a good chance anyway.
As long as I have known Chris he has been an optimistic, happy person. Annoyingly joyous at times, though when I was 10 I didn’t much care. Once I got my act together and started taking school more seriously, I began talking to Chris about history and the job field. His optimism made the bad news that getting a job doing what you really want to do in your field is rare seem like it was ok; I see that he was right now, as, at least for myself, any job in the field would make me happy at this point. He always talked to me about history, and it helped encourage me to pursue it as a career to have someone to talk about history with when I was just annoying my family with fun facts. So, even if the jobs are scarce and the research low-paying, you still get to do what you love.
Chris is currently working in Croatia after traveling the United States for his current job, which he also loves. Military and history—how many people get to work in the two fields they love the most in their life? I know I’m jealous. I probably won’t join the Guard, but it does make me think about Graduate school even more; but don’t tell my mom she thinks I spent too much money on school already. The idea of getting student loans and being in debt is sometimes overpowered by a desire to do what I really want to do, though it may not happen even then. The best advice, I am told, is to do what you can with what people give you, and keep looking for what your want; all the experience is good for you.

Fabulous Public History via Augmented Reality

It is difficult to summarize a project that is used in so many different ways by different groups of people, and developed for different groups of people.  Augmented Reality is one of the most intriguing things about virtual-anything.  There is no limit to its uses, whether it be for a card company, i.e. Hallmark creating their e-card you have to hold up to a webcam to see the picture, the AR analyzer that allows you to analyze which size box you will need to ship your item with the Postal Service, or a car company using the technology to improve on, or innovate, a design; though my personal favorite is the Ray-Ban virtual mirror.

Postal Service AR

With so many companies using the augmented reality design, it is somewhat difficult to pinpoint the creator of the tool, though I would name Apple as the responsible party at this point.  There are several AR apps on virtually all smart phones, yet the first to have the historical significance was the iPhone.  Using this application can not only take you on a tour of historic places near where you are, or tell you where to go if you are vacationing somewhere, but can show you what was there one hundred years ago based on GPS technology.  The term “time-traveling tourism” is quite the proper term for this, in my opinion. The idea of time-travel is interesting to a large percentage of people around the world; it’s why Star Trek, Star Wars, and movies like Back to the Future are so popular.  Everyone wishes they could hop in the DeLorean and see what it was like back when.  Unfortunately, until Doc Brown reveals his secrets of creating a flux capacitor, we will have to rely on augmented reality and the years of history—photos, stories, and actors—that are used and involved in the process of making an application such as this.

The learning objectives of the application vary based on which company uses it, but for the most part, the smart phone applications use AR for historic purposes.  Or virtual soccer.  Though it seems awfully dangerous to stare at your feet and kick around.  Many of the articles that we were assigned to read involved AR, and they were for the purpose of educating visitors, or even local people, on the history of the place they were.  The learning objective is to make the program fun and interesting to more than one group of people, with options of either audio, visual, or both to cater to the learning preference of the viewer.  In places such as the Louvre, they have a tour of the museum that is on a screen that brings up a tiny virtual host at each exhibit.  In cities such as London and New York, taking a picture in an application using AR can overlay a photo, and even a story, of that exact location long ago (storyteller lingo).  It really IS like time travel!


Bringing this project to Boise would not, in my opinion, be a difficult feat.  Challenging? Yes.  Time consuming? Oh my!  Worth it?  Most definitely.  With so many things around Boise that basically only historians and history buffs know about, having something so interactive and able to cater to a specific learning preference would be greatly beneficial.

Attempting to pinpoint the development of the definition “culture” as it applies to landscape…

A few of these things I have read before, so I was prepared for what I was getting myself into; but a few things, admittedly, I was not prepared to get so frustrated over!
Naming J.B. Jackson as the ultimate in defining cultural landscape would be a correct statement, as long as we continue on from what he studied and not keep it as he left it, which is what I fear has happened in some cases.
I suppose things didn’t get too frustrating for me until chapter 12-“Normative Dimensions of Landscape” by Schein. From the beginning of the chapter the process of cultural identification via landscape becomes far too over-complicated and almost has more of a political feel to it than anything for me. Bringing the idea of economic and ecological history into defining a space, as well as admitting human activity plays a huge role, is completely agreeable. This all becomes too compicated, and continues to do so, when we are told that seeing landscapes through race, gender, or sexuality colored glasses is the true way to define a cultural landscape. (202)
The discussion of the red-lining in the 30s is a completely valid argument, as well as the African American population having to rely on self-governance and provide their own economic security within their community prior to the human rights movement. However, tying the idea of red-lining districts to the modern construction practices or new neighborhood areas is a stretch. Being angry about a bronze statue of a Confederate General in center sqare, or a part of the city keeping the name of “Cheapside” over the years, doesn’t necessarily mean Lexington is a city full of closet racists waiting for their chance to unleash it. These things all have historical significance. The final example from this chapter is the anger that seeps through the words when he writes about having no monument to ANY jockey in the park or former race track, I forget which (216). Either way, it states in the text there was no mention of any jockey, so why is the author only mad about the black guy not getting any recognition? Yes, Murphy does deserve a memorial. Why doesn’t anyone else?
That is my rant about that!
I fully agree with Jackson’s statement on page 86 about a landscape being an historical document; we will never be able to strictly define a cultural landscape because we will never be able to fully define a culture; everyone will see things differently.
The chapter on defining culture and landscape through streets and yards in L.A. forces you to do so of your own home, and I enjoyed reflecting on things I never thought about before landscape as a cultural aspect was brought to my attention. In all honesty, I wasn’t enthralled by Ecological Commons the first time, and it didn’t rattle my boots this time either. Medicine in the Mall felt like more of a lecture on preservation and development v. anti-development (much like Boise and its redevelopment issues, just sayin).
Soooo I guess that’s all I have to say!
Thanks for reading, fellow blog readers! Or just Leslie M-B, cause ya hafta. =)