From the Annual Meeting 2006 column of the October 2005 Perspectives
Experimental Session at the 120th Annual Meeting
AHA Staff, October 2005
Exchange of Views: Doing American History at Historic Sites
Chairs: Linda Shopes, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Barbara Silberman, Heritage Philadelphia
At this experimental session (Session 23), the executive directors and staff of Philadelphia-area museums and historic sites will host a conversation about the challenges of public history with ten scholars specializing in a field of interest to each site. After an orientation during this morning session, scholars and site staff will conduct site visits in the afternoon. Scholars will submit written comments to the sites by February 15, 2006, and will receive a $250 honorarium upon receipt of these comments. Participating sites and areas of interest are listed below. Sites are subject to change; contact the AHA for a final list. AHA members interested in participating in this session must submit a letter of interest and short (two-page) c.v. by November 21, 2005. The letter should identify the site the member would like to visit, note the member’s research interests and public history interest and experience, and state briefly why the member would like to participate in the program. Letters of interest and any questions should be addressed to Debbie Ann Doyle at the American Historical Association. Those selected to participate in the program will be notified in early December.
Funding for this session is provided by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and by the Heritage Philadelphia program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by the Independence Visitor Center.
Home of James Logan, William Penn's secretary. Located in Germantown.
Home to nine generations of one Quaker family, located in Germantown.
Site: The Mill at Anselma
Remarkably intact 18th-century flour mill interpreting industrial history with three centuries of milling machinery, equipment, and outbuildings.
Site: Awbury Arboretum
Urban park in Germantown surrounded by National Register Quaker neighborhood. Extensive landscape training program for recovering substance abusers.
Site: Betsy Ross House
Restored row house (not actually Betsy's).
Site: Elfreth’s Alley
Oldest residential street in America, preserving workers’ homes of the 18th century.
Site: Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia
Interprets the city's history through the artifact collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and a collection on 19th-century industrial Philadelphia.
Site: Rosenbach Museum and Library
Collection acquired by two brothers who became rare book dealers. Outstanding exhibits and programs that incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach.
Site: St. Joseph's Church
One of first Catholic churches in the city, developed many other significant city institutions.
Site: Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia
Collection of both Union and Confederate materials currently undergoing inventory and reinterpretation.
Site: Mother Bethel AME Church
First African American congregation in the colonies, founded by Richard Allen, who was active in saving yellow fever victims. The mother church of the AME church.
Site: Christ Church Preservation Trust
Extremely significant church and burial ground. Excellent leadership with intense interest in developing a new history exhibit.