A Dozen Weeks In: Thoughts and Posts from the Steemians of 5151
What we’ve been reading, discussing & doing
Here are some summaries from the @Phillyhistory Feed our twelfth week of the semester.
In this thoughtful post, @johnesmithiii highlights from the reading Like, Link, Share “Digital innovation is sparking not only ‘cool new projects’ but also fundamental changes in the orientation of legacy institutions toward a more spirited public presence and a renewed sense of civic purpose.” This could “level the playing field and allow smaller institutions to reach broader audiences.” But what about shifting the conversation of digital strategy from individual institutions to the sector as a whole? “What if we witnessed cross-organizational collaboration more frequently?” he asks. “I think there is still greater potential for organizations to collaborate and build a stronger cultural ecosystem” leading “to stronger partnerships and a healthier interconnected system for research.”
From @gvgktang we get a Wakelet collection of PubComm 2018: A Recap full of good ideas and observations, about "Racism & Resistance" including “To understand freedom in America, you need to understand the trajectory of those who have been oppressed in American history. Those in power cannot define what freedom is,” (from @charliehersh) and “Public history is an opportunity to move beyond the ivory tower that pays my bills -@TukufuZuberi” (quoted by @tmaust).
From @dduquette we read about the “noble goal” of “greater inclusion in the historical record.” “Panelists argued that the fruits of this labor never return to the communities that we as public historians seek to better represent. This led to questions… “about how cultural institutions and public historians can give what we learn back to those communities so that it can benefit them. One way of doing this is by ceding authority,” but Public Historians have “fallen short.” The answer? To “actually engage with, listen to, and utilize the testimonies from communities they want to represent in historic registers to do so in a more responsible way.” More on this here.
And here @cheider talks about “the 21st-century Identity Crisis of Cultural Organizations. (A crisis whose time has finally come to roost on the surface?) pointing out the link between “Cultural Heritage and Community Service.” She sees settlement houses as powerful models for museums which claim they “want to be more community-driven.”
And for some Adventures in Ethics we turn to @tmaust who enlightens us with an interesting quote from Thomas Jefferson: “"When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." (Ethics and gendered language aside, Jefferson did know something about people as property.) And we read that for all the ethical guidance, there’s nothing in it that tells us “how to operate (and survive!) independent of a market economy.”
“Most of our lessons have been unsettling,” confides @jfeagan, who looks deeply at the job statistics in Philadelphia versus back home in St. Petersburg, Florida. The post concludes with a near-existential appeal: “Should I stay in the big city, or am I right to want to be a big fish in a smaller pond?” Nineteen hours in, there’s silence. What say you, Quakerdelphians? Here’s where to chime in.
And, finally (for now, anyway) @dduquette offers a somewhat heated response to the question What Do We Do If No One Applies For Our Funds?. Some good thinking proposing to build on current momentum and understanding of the city’s many LGBTQ+ historic sites.
Please share your your opinions and insights with us.
100% of the SBD rewards from this #explore1918 post will support the Philadelphia History Initiative @phillyhistory. This crypto-experiment conducted by graduate courses at Temple University's Center for Public History and MLA Program, is exploring history and empowering education. Click here to learn more.