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What I Do: Historians Talk about Their Work

Editorial Staff, January 2014

What I Do: Historians Talk about Their Work, with Stephen AronStephen Aron talks to What I Do about his role as chair of the Institute for the Study of the American West, specifically how his work bridges the gap between research at universities and museums.

“When we created the Institute for Study of the American West at the Autry, part of what we were aspiring to do was to breakdown [the] divide between academic history and public history. I hope [...] that all historians in some ways will learn to be more public in what they do and how they do it; appreciating the audience that we reach and the necessity of learning to communicate with the broader public.”

Some of Aron’s responsibilities as chair include working with library staff and researchers to develop strategies for access to collections, with curators in developing exhibitions and overseeing their intellectual content, and with the education department in training docents. He also works with the program department on cultivating ways to make scholarship accessible and engaging to a broader public. “I want history to matter more; in the sense that [history should have] a deeper impact on the ways in which people think and engage the world. But I [also] want history to matter to more people and I think we have to look to ways to make that happen.”

For more from Stephen Aron, visit the What I Do video series.