Off the Wall

In response to new technologies, visions, and markets, the lines among among education, design, collection, advertising, activism, memorialization, and art are increasingly blurred. This area of the blog will address those kinds of questions by continuing the work of “Off the Wall:  Critical Reviews of History Exhibit Practice in an Age of Ubiquitous Display,” launched by NCPH in 2010.  These reviews aim to expand (or perhaps to explode) our understanding of what constitutes a historical exhibit, and to work on developing a set of conventions for critically evaluating a wider range of history exhibit practice than is currently reviewed in our disciplinary and professional forums.

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“Them” in Atlanta: A gentrification photo album

In 2007 Atlanta journalist Nathan McCall’s novel Them was published. The book is a fictionalized account of a very real Atlanta neighborhood–the Old Fourth Ward–undergoing gentrification. The neighborhood is a place where civil rights historic landmarks jockey for attention and … Continue reading

Blacktop history: The case for preserving parking lots

In early 1950, developers opened a “park and shop” center in suburban Washington, DC. By 1950 “park and shop” was an established commercial property type, and the phrase was in common usage (by general public and developers). Media coverage of … Continue reading

Museum selfies: Participatory genius or sign of our self-centered times?

I learned about Museum Selfie Day on Facebook just a couple of days before the event. I made a mental note and visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History on January 22. The results were silly and less skillful than … Continue reading

@HistoryinPics brings history to the public. So what’s the problem? (Part 2)

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@HistoryinPics brings history to the public. So what’s the problem? (Part 1)

Suppose you’d never heard of @HistoryinPics, and I told you that a new social media account had grown to more than a million followers by featuring a different historical image in its feed every couple of hours. As a public … Continue reading

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