As my title suggests I’m super happy that people I don’t know are interested enough to have a chat with me. My last post discussed my thoughts on the realm of public history and my own attitudes towards the general practice. But alas, I have forgotten something, or rather, I failed to give public history credit where it is due!
A chum of mine from school said something today that made me really think about the nature of public history and engaging the average person with history. How could I have overlooked this: discussion. She noted that museums and other public spaces (which I have, admittedly been quick to dismiss) are becoming more and more places where the public can engage in a dialogue about history. Why did this not occur to me? Perhaps I suffer from a draconian outlook on things. Either way this idea really struck a chord with me. Some museums offer the public a place to discuss their own thoughts and experiences with historians, and as my friend noted, they allow people to ask questions freely and without too heavy an influence. Spectacular! I am all for this. I still stand by my personal approach to history, but I’ve got to admit when I’ve been hasty. I may have just been swayed by public history a bit.
You may not have convinced me to abandon traditional history yet, but heck if you haven’t given me something to think about!