After serving on a panel about digital history curricula and "tools" for public historians with 4 great folks (Jeremy Boggs and Tom Scheinfeldt from the Center for History and New Media, Leah Surstedt from American University/National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lauren Gutterman from NYU/OutHistory.org) I looked forward to turning my attention to another strong interest of mine-- historical thinking and teaching with primary sources.
I was thrilled by how many people signed up for the dine-around I organized on the topic. There were archivists, digital librarians, museum curators, museum educators, and university professors in charge of teaching undergraduates environmental history and teaching pre-service high-school level social studies teachers. Despite a bit of an adventure in search of the restaurant, I think that the evening was well-received. Conversation seemed lively around the table and from what I overheard and absorbed, touched on the intersections between these different related fields and our mutual commitments to helping the public learn how to think critically about the past. I also appreciate some helpful advice for me to bring back to my institution, the National September 11 Memorial Museum on how to use the process of parsing available sourcematerial on 9/11 to introduce students to thinking critically about sources and the construction of historical narratives. Ironically, perhaps, this advice came from a professor who teaches teachers in Texas, the state that just adopted rather horrifying new content standards.
I think the dine-arounds are a great addition to the conference experience!
Also had a great time on the city parks tour today, but that will have to be another post!