What We’re Reading: May 6, 2010 Edition
In the news this week, Virginia prepares for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, historian Mary Beth Norton becomes a member of the American Philosophical Society, NPR remembers the Kent State shootings, and Richard Overy takes a look at academic history in Britain. Next, we feature three links on web sites: web site creation as a class project, Chinese public health posters on the NLM site, and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s well designed collections display. We also look to Twitter, with an article on the ramifications of saving the Twitter archives and another on how a Calculus II class is resurrecting Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz in 140 character bursts. Finally, we conclude with some fun: selling homes by telling their history, baking a 1919 cake, and taking a look back at the World’s Fair.
- Va. seeks balance in marking Civil War’s 150th anniversary
In preparing for next year’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission seeks to present a more well-rounded program to the public, avoiding any favoritism. With the help of James I. Robertson Jr., a notable Civil War historian and history professor at Virginia Tech, the commission “to plan the state’s sesquicentennial events has spent four years trying to avoid the impression that they will amount to a celebration of the Confederacy.”
- Historian Mary Beth Norton elected to American Philosophical Society
Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Professor of American History and former AHA Council member and vice president for research division, has been elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.
- Shots Still Reverberate For Survivors Of Kent State
This past Tuesday marked 40 years since the shootings at Kent State. NPR takes a look.
- The historical present
Richard Overy (Univ. of Exeter) offers a pessimistic assessment of the state of academic history in Britain, which he describes as squeezed between the heritage industry and political pressures to make history "socially useful." He warns that "Historians have to accept collectively that the pressure of public fashion and political utility may well undermine the foundation of the discipline unless they are willing to stand up and defend the nature of what they do."
- Throwing Caution to the Wind: The Surprising Results of a History Class Project
Randall Stephens (Eastern Nazarene College) talks about a stimulating class project–creating a resource web site for the nearby Josiah Quincy house–that helped his students hone their research skills and develop a better sense of the way history serves a public function.
- National Library of Medicine Online Exhibition of Chinese Public Health Posters
The National Library of Medicine has announced a new web exhibit, "Health for the People," that displays Chinese public health posters and other paper ephemera.
- The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art has launched a new web site that brilliantly displays their collections.
- When History Is Compiled 140 Characters at a Time
In this New York Times article, Dan Cohen, Amy Taylor, Will Thomas, and others comment on the ramifications of having billions of tweets available in the archives.
- Newton and Leibniz Duke It Out on Twitter
Despite both having passed away a couple hundred years ago, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz are on Twitter, thanks to students in a Calculus II class in Michigan.
- What the Walls Would Say
Realtors have begun telling a home’s history to spark buyer interest. Antoinette Martin explains, “With the market for large older homes still slow and frail, a number of sellers are taking a more ‘personal’ approach — marketing a house’s history right along with its physical attributes.”
- HistoryDish Mondays: A Cake Bakes in Queens
The Four Pounds Flour blog bakes a cake based on a recipe in a 1919 cookbook and links to another site, A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn, which also explores recipes from the past.
- History of the World’s Fair
Flip through a photo gallery to “look at previous international expos in New York, Seattle, Montreal, Knoxville, New Orleans and South Korea.”
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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