Publication Date

May 26, 2015

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities


Public History

Summer is a great time to be a historian. Some of us work on the academic calendar, so summer signals a stark change of pace. We are taking a break from classes to prepare for the next semester by developing new courses, advancing writing projects, or taking research trips. Others of us continue our regular work schedule, but with new tasks for the warmer months. Libraries and museums may be getting ready for an influx of visitors and planning seasonal events, while historians working in nonprofits or businesses encounter once more the process of budget planning.

Whatever new challenges the summer brings, you’ll soon be looking to take a break from work—be it revising a lesson plan, researching a chapter, or planning an event. Or maybe you’ve rolled into a new town to visit an archive and you’re looking for something to do on Saturday afternoon. Whatever your situation, summer is a great time to explore local history. Local museums, historic sites, and historical societies offer the untold stories that animate our historical narratives. A visit helps you get to know the community and offers a new perspective on the broad histories typically focused on in school.

To help you on your quest for local history, the AHA has joined Time Travelers, a reciprocal membership network for historical museums and societies through the United States. As an AHA member, you’ll be able to take advantage of special discounts when visiting historic sites, from free or discounted admission to gift shop reductions. Time Travelers comprises museums and historic sites in nearly every state in the union.

Check out the participating institutions and their benefits, and consider working one or two into your travel plans. To use this benefit, log into your MY AHA account and print the member card on the bottom right. You can also call up the member card on your mobile phone and show it to the museum staff.

Whatever your summer plans, the AHA is excited to help with all your historic endeavors. If you’re planning a course, we have online resources to help you bring digital history into the classroom as well as new Tuning Resources containing sample rubrics and other useful teaching materials. Our Archives Wiki can assist you when planning a summer research trip. And we have career guides for students at any level who have graduated and are using the summer to plan their next career move. Stay tuned over the next few months to get an inside look at all that historians are doing during the summer.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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