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The Public History Reader

2012 April 19



The Public History Reader (Routledge) edited with Paul Martin is now published.

The Public History Reader provides both a comprehensive introduction to public history by facilitating understanding through contextualising debates and controversies and also by raising questions and suggesting possible responses. Part I looks at who makes history, focusing on the ways in which the past has taken on a heightened popular sense of importance in the present and the ways in which it is used. Accordingly, history, far from being ‘fixed’ in time, is fluid and is re-made to serve contemporary agendas or needs in the present. Part II address the question of materials and approaches to making history. By using material more commonly within the domain of art historians or geographers and archaeologists, public historians have opened up understandings of the past. Part III looks at the way presentations of the past change over time and have been changed providing a context for the different forms of presentation of the past. It concludes by thinking about the challenges for public historians today.

The cover image of posing in Clerkenwell is by the fascinating photographer of London Colin O’Brien

2 Responses Post a comment
  1. Denise Pakeman permalink
    May 22, 2012

    Hilda, I LOVE what you have done with your website – so creative. I dropped in whilst having a coffee break and stayed for an hour: it really pulled me in! The images are very interesting,some were old friends and others gave me something new to think about, as did your links. Many thanks for sending me your website link and I look forward to future developments.
    Best wishes

    • Hilda Kean permalink
      May 22, 2012

      Thanks Denise. Glad you liked it. I am intending to do updates on my work in progress including the Public History Reader. You can look forward to reading on the website in due course something on rats in a museum in a former barracks in Sydney …


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