In late November we launched a campaign to raise awareness of historic sites and events and the organizations that make them possible. We called it "Make this holiday historic!" and invited organizations to add their events to The History List. We also did our own research to identify and add events.
Participating in the campaign
When organizations entered their events, they appeared on The History List, and those events with a holiday connection included a red holiday icon. Organizations could also add their choice of nine badges to their own sites, blogs, and newsletters.
We've been adding events all month and just finished selecting the final ones that take us through January 1, 2013 and finish this year's interactive calendar. (All events, regardless of whether or not they were featured, appear on The History List.) And we've been Tweeting out daily selections, posting to our Facebook page, and even created a special Facebook app.
We've had great interest and participation, and Engaging Places, a blog focused on the management of historic sites from Max van Balgooy, included a nice post that described the campaign and the way in which historic sites could take advantage of it.
How the selections were made
Because the goal was to raise awareness broadly, we chose a wide variety of events, all with a tie to history, including historic sites, museums, and organizations:
- From Maine to California
- Organizations ranging in age from 20 years old to 200+ years old
- Private and public, from small, local organizations to statewide or spanning several states
- From expensive to free to pay-what-you-can
- For kids and families, or just adults
- From the momentous and world-changing to the delightful and trivial
- Including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War
- Loud and boisterous to quiet and contemplative
- Outdoors and indoors, from walks to lectures to concerts to celebrations
- Castles and forts, ranches, houses, and mansions
- Well-known and centuries old, to just a few years old and just getting established
- One-time-only to every day of the month
The goal wasn't necessarily to pick the "best of" a particular type of event or the best event in the country taking place that day, but to highlight a wide variety in order to raise awareness of the many great historic sites, museums, and organizations across the country and draw new attendees, fans, volunteers, members, and donors.
And while every event had a clear tie to history, some, notably the Boston Tea Party and Washington's Crossing reenactments, didn't have a holiday theme per se, but took place during December.
The list for 2012
Note: To view the details on any of these, go to that date on the calendar and click on the Details link in that square.
December 1: Indiana Author Fair (Indianapolis)
December 2: “Reporting the Revolutionary War” author lecture (Boston)
December 3: Hayes Train Special Display (Fremont, OH)
December 4: Fantasyland with Santa (Roanoke, WV)
December 5: A Victorian Christmas (St. Paul)
December 6: Historic Libations annual party (San Francisco)
December 7: Holiday Whiskey Tasting (York, ME)
December 8: A Civil War Christmas (Frankfort, KY)
December 9: Russian Holiday Dinner (Eagle, WI)
December 10: Christmas Eve at the Byers-Evans House (Denver)
December 11: Brucemore Holiday Mansion Tours (Cedar Rapids, IA)
December 12: Holiday Decorations at the Pawnee Bill Ranch (Pawnee, OK)
December 13: Wisconsin Historical Museum Society Annual Sale (Madison)
December 14: Christmas by Candlelight (Sturbridge, MA)
December 15: Christmas Candlelight Grand Masquerade (New Bern, NC)
December 16: Boston Tea Party reenactment (Boston) - 77 photos
December 17: Guided Holiday House Tours (Portsmouth, NH)
December 18: The Sound of Christmas concert (San Antonio)
December 19: Riverfront Holiday House (Fort Myers)
December 20: Christmas by Candlelight (Old Salem, NC)
December 21: “At Christmas be mery” (Historic Jamestowne, VA)
December 22: The Castle by Candlelight (Youngstown, NY)
December 23: Christmas at the Newport Mansions (Newport, RI)
December 24: Holiday Lights at Clifton Mill (Clifton, OH)
December 25: Washington’s Christmas Crossing reenactment (Washington Crossing, PA)
December 26: “A Toy Shop Window” (Freeport, NJ)
December 27: Holiday Lantern Tour Newport (Newport, RI)
December 28: “It’s a Wonderful Life” screening with an introduction (New York)
December 29: Commemoration of USS Constitution vs. HMS Java (Boston)
December 30: Holidays at the Heard (Phoenix)
December 31: First Night at Otis House (Boston)
December 31 / January 1: Freedom’s Eve (Washington)
January 1: 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (Boston)
The year ahead
The History List, which launched in early 2012, is a national platform connecting history-related organizations and events across the country with individuals and families looking for something interesting to do or who are planning trips to another region or across the country.
There's no cost to list, it's copy-and-paste simple, and anyone--staff, interns, volunteers, and fans--can enter or edit. Getting started is easy.
The History List has grown to become a complete calendar system for history organizations. Find out how other history organizations use all the features of The History List to manage their event calendar on their own site, promote their events nationally, and make automatically-updated calendars available to partner sites and blogs: The History List Calendar System for History Organizations.
Thanks to all of the organizations who participate in creating this resource for all of us to use. If you have questions or suggestions, or if you'd like help getting started, let us know.