17 May 2010

Public History - By You and Your Ancestors

If you publish anything historical, even just in a little blog like this one, you may be a public historian, even if you do not yet know it.

I often see myself as a creative public historian.  My research methods might be a bit messy but I like to keep the administrative side of my work in a more immaculate condition. Perhaps the latter is because my early vocational training was as a private secretary.

I was a very good secretary, as all my media employers kept reminding me.  They especially did so when I wanted to advance my career into research and television documentary making.  They did not want to lose a good secretary.  I did not want to be bored.

That was why I left secretarial work whenever I had the money to travel.  I much preferred to explore the world in person than look at it on television or read about it in books.

Eventually, I went to university to gain qualifications in a broad range of social science subjects.  There are not many job opportunities for people who just study history and I would never have wanted to be a school teacher or university lecturer.

I wanted a creative career as a researcher and writer.

Well, today I have been reading the Wikipedia article about public history.

Here are some more links I have been discovering:

From being a very good secretary, I became a very good student of the social sciences.   My academic achievement even entitled me to become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

But will academic historians recognise me as a public historian? Possibly not.

Sharing evidence-based knowledge about the past, and assisting other people to gain a better understanding of the development of the world around them, are always valid forms of historical activity.  The facts of the past are always relevant, regardless of how that knowledge and understanding is acquired, presented, structured and acknowledged.

I hope this blog inspires your learning and enriches your awareness, even if you do not regard yourself (or me) as a public historian.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.