National History Center 2006

The National History Center had an active year in 2006, and continued to bring historical perspectives to policymakers, to reach out to international scholars, and to examine history education policy. The center promoted its administrative officer, Miriam Hauss, to a full time position, and Wm. Roger Louis became its founding director. Its first independent audit showed that the center was financially solid. The center has raised more than $500,000 from individual donors and small foundations; it also received grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and David Rockefeller to support the preparation of an organizational plan for the Center’s next five years of activities.

The Congressional Briefings program hosted four briefings for Congressional members and their staff. The topics included: the history of the Social Security Administration with historians Edward Berkowitz (George Washington Univ.) and Alice Kessler-Harris (Columbia Univ.); a history of education reform polices with Maris Vinovskis (Univ. of Michigan); a discussion of race and reconstruction with Eric Foner (Columbia Univ.) and John Hope Franklin (Duke Univ.); and a brief history of U.S.–Korean relations with Christine Kim (Georgetown Univ.).

In July, the first Seminar on Decolonization brought together 15 scholars to Washington, D.C. The scholars, along with five seminar leaders, discussed the history of decolonization in the twentieth century, with particular focus on Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Participants used the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other area resources to explore a particular aspects of decolonization for their seminar papers. The seminar was generously funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will continue with a second seminar in July 2007.

The National History Center continued its examination of the current history education policy through a meeting and series of sessions at the 2007 AHA annual meeting. The project examines how students learn history; teacher certification, credentials, and professional development; assessment; and accreditation. The center seeks to insert historians’ voices back into the debate over a history education policy and the sessions at the annual meeting explored the relationship between the historian, the policy maker, and history education policy.

The Reinterpreting History monograph series with Oxford University Press continues with new volumes taking shape on the Muslim World with John Voll (Georgetown Univ.) and the reassessment of Latin American war of revolutions with John Coatsworth (Harvard Univ.). These topics join the others, which include a perspective on Vietnam, the evolution of human rights, and the Atlantic World. The first volume in the series is anticipated in 2008.

The National History Center also expanded its Board of Trustees with the appointment of eight new members.