April 21, 2018

2018 National Council on Public History (NCPH) Award Winners, with links to projects and publications

2018 National Council on Public History (NCPH) Award Winners, from their announcement, with links to projects and publications

NCPH Founders Award
The NCPH Council of Past Presidents developed this award in 2015 to recognize those individuals who were present at the creation of NCPH and who played critical roles in the organization’s success.

Suellen M. Hoy
Joel A. Tarr, Carnegie Mellon University

Board of Directors Award for Extraordinary Service
Awarded for the first time this year, this award is given when the NCPH Board seeks to recognize publicly an individual who has, through long-term and substantive effort, made transformational contributions to the work of NCPH.

Cathy Stanton, Tufts University

Outstanding Public History Project Award
This award is presented for work completed within the previous two calendar years that contributes to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past or that serves as a model of professional public history practice. NCPH acknowledges the generous support of Stevie and Ted Wolf that makes this award possible.

Award Winner: The Mere Distinction of Colour, Elizabeth Chew and Christian J. Cotz, James Madison's Montpelier; Chris Danemayer, Proun Design LLC; and Molly O'Brien, Northern Light Productions

Honorable Mention: Confinement in the Land of Enchantment: Japanese Americans in New Mexico during World War II, Sarah R. Payne, Colorado State University Public Lands History Center; Andrew Russell, Central New Mexico Community College; and Victor Yamada, New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League

NCPH Book Award
For the best new book about or growing out of public history theory, study, or practice.

Award Winner: Andrew G. Kirk, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing, A Graphic History (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Honorable Mention: Ronald Rudin, Concordia University, Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park (University of Toronto Press, 2016)

Excellent in Consulting Award
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of public history through consulting or contract work.

Individual Award: Delia Hagen, Hagen Historical Consulting, African-American Heritage Resources in Helena, Montana

Honorable Mention: Ryan Shackleton, Know History, Métis Nation of Ontario

G. Wesley Johnson Award
Named in honor of the founding editor of The Public Historian, this award recognizes the most outstanding article appearing in the NCPH journal during the previous volume year.

Award Winner: Natasha Erlank, University of Johannesburg, for "From Main Reef to Albertina Sisulu Road: The Signposted Heroine and the Politics of Memory," The Public Historian Vol 39, No 2

Honorable Mention: Gregory Rosenthal, Roanoke College, for "Make Roanoke Queer Again: Community History and Urban Change in a Southern City,The Public Historian Vol 39, No 1

Student Project Award
This award recognizes the contributions of student work to the field of public history and provides assistance for conference travel costs.

Award Winner: Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights, Taylor C. Bye, Kathryn B. Carpenter, Samantha Hollingsworth, Leah Palmer, Kevin Ploth, and Jennifer Tufts, University of Missouri-Kansas City

For more information, see the Awards page on the NCPH website


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November 28, 2017

2017 Gift List for History Lovers

Our 2017 Gift List for History Lovers 


For the person with a lifelong love of history and for whom "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of history" might be their own credo, our "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" letterpress print in a handmade frame with conservation mounting.  The print is no longer available by itself.  However, we have two framed prints available we completed in anticipation of Christmas that are available to ship immediately.  One is in a wider profile (shown here), and the other in a narrower simpler frame.

"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of History" letterpress print in a wide, handmade frame

Pair it with the "Declaration of Independence" print which are available in two versions: from the "Decaration of Independence" from the printing Office of Edes & Gill in Boston and the "Declaration of Independence" from John Dunlap. Both are printed by hand on a historic press. A framed "Declaration of Independence" print is also available. Made by hand upon request.

Declaration of Independence Boston edition Declaration of Independence Philadelphia edition Framed Declaration of Independence print


For the women history geeks in your life, the wire-wrapped Stamp Act Bracelet and the "Seal of  Newport Rhoade Island Covnsel" necklace with a large, oval wax seal featuring a sheep with the words, "Seal of  Newport Rhoade Island Covnsel" from the Newport Historical Society. Both bracelets and necklaces come in bronze and sterling silver.

Stamp Act bracelet - silver  "Seal of Newport Rhoade Island Covnsel" Necklace

Top it off with the "Votes for Women" pennant pin, a modern replica in support of the women's suffrage from The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum.

Votes for Women pennant pin


For the proud history nerd scholar, flaunt your love for history with the "History Teacher" t-shirts and "History Major" shirt. Also available as stickers.

History Teacher  History Major t-shirt

For the fun-loving history nerd, our collection of "Revolutionary Superheroes" is a perfect choice. Featuring Abigail and John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton in a poster, sticker, magnet, bookmark and t-shirts in light blue heather, black and women's v-neck in black.

"Revolutionary Superheroes" Collection 

For the Revolutionary War military historian, "The West Point History of the American Revolution." Released this November by Simon & Schuster. With several maps, including this gatefold, timelines, diagrams, and more.

The West Point History of the American Revolution   The West Point History of the American Revolution

Other interesting books on Revolutionary War are "The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War " by J.L. Bell, "Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and Birth of American Liberty" by Sam Forman, and be sure to peruse the Journal of the American Revolution's  100 Best American revolution books of all time list.

The Road to Concord Dr. Joseph Warren 100 Best American Revolution books of all time


For hardcore history lovers, the "1773" Boston Tea Party t-shirt and the "Victory" t-shirt. These shirts are not only visually striking but the meaning behind the designs will surely be a conversation starter. Be a rebel and stump the average person! 

"1773" Boston Tea Party shirt  Victory t-shirt

When you don't know their size,  the Embroidered "History Nerd" with Ben Franklin cap comes in a variety of colors. Pair it with our new "Life, liberty and pursuit of history" scarf.
  History Nerd caps Life, liberty and pursuit of history scarf

For the Civil War buff, our original "History Nerd" t-shirt with a Civil War Soldier. It comes in two colors: charcoal grey and dark blue.

Civil War History Nerd shirt - blue  Civil War History Nerd t-shirt - charcoal grey

For the World War II aviation enthusiast, the illustrated and autographed books from the Eagles Over the Pacific series showcases some of the most dramatic combat photos ever taken during aerial warfare, maps of every mission flown and aircraft profiles. Signed books in the series include Warpath Across the Pacific, Revenge of the Red Raiders, Rampage of the Roarin' 20's and Ken's Men Against the Empire

Warpath Across the Pacific Revenge of the Red Raiders Rampage of the Roarin' 20's Ken's Men Against the Empire 


For the young adult history buffs, a signed copy of the book “Twenty-One Heroes“ by Sam Forman. Inspired by the 21 graves of soldiers who died at the Continental Army’s encampment along the Delaware River, author Sam A. Forman pays tribute to these anonymous young heroes by capturing the essence of their experiences during the Revolutionary War.

Twenty One Heroes  Twenty One Heroes


And for the kids, a signed copy of the American Revolutionary War Adventures series, "Patriots, Redcoats & Spies" and "Submarines, Secrets & A Daring Rescue" by Robert J. Skead and Robert A. Skead. The book chronicles the daring adventures of twin boys during the Revolutionary War.

Patriots, Redcoats and Spies Submarines, Secrets and a Daring Rescue Submarines, Secrets and a Daring Rescue


For the smallest history lovers (and his or her parents), onesies and t-shirts for toddlers from Wayside Inn, with the iconic little red school house and nursery rhyme some believe was first repeated there.

The Redstone Schoolhouse t-shirt and onesie


For the home, the Old North Church Lantern, a replica of the ones used to signal the riders on the night of April 18, 1775, "History Nerd"  with Ben Franklin Mug with 25 of his witty, inspirational quotes and "Flour sack" Tea towels with the iconic Wayside Inn grist mill and barn, sold as a pair.

Old North Church Lantern History Nerd Mug Flour Sack Tea Towel

For stocking stuffers, eight of our bestselling stickers in one pack.

Sticker pack  Sticker pack



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August 30, 2017

Engaging more people in your historic site or with your history organization

In response to a post on our Facebook page about declining attendance at historic sites and history museums, Ryan Schwartz, a Gallery Educator at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, provided a helpful list of examples.  His post follows.

I'd be very happy to offer up some examples that I have seen implemented at institutions that I have been a part of, as well as some programs that show true innovative thought I have seen implemented elsewhere.

Some examples from institutions I have worked:

  • Tavern Nights/Happy Hours/Pub Crawls that mix social lubrication with historical information and storytelling. Another version of this is Date Night for parents looking for a unique night out. 
  • Night at the Museum programs. I include in this margin a truly excellent Halloween program put on in a Midwestern living history site I once worked for that utilized its historic buildings and local talent to tell fright tales of old Europe and Africa and explore how they translated into the fabric of their new country. 
  • Partnering with local theatre organizations to develop short, strategically placed presentations that tie to museum's core mission. Having the flexibility to perform without the museum's walls also helps to project presence and draw in additional guests. Storytelling benches also fall under this category.
  • Developing online resources for teachers and homeschooling parents. Far from keeping schools away because the "information is online," we saw a marked uptick of attention from local teachers for field trips as well as garnering kind commentary from distance learners.
  • Taking advantage of historically-relevant popular culture, such as Hamilton and Turn, to generate programs and special talks.
  • Cultivating relationships with local gathering places and restaurants, which is especially useful in urban settings. Having popular restaurants promote an upcoming evening with a museum's content can help extend customer loyalty from one institution to another by association. 
  • Creating additional daily programming within "traditional museums" to keep content and guest experiences fresh. These can include daily talks on various subjects of interest, the insertion of costumed demonstrations and presentations, crafts, etc. 
  • Join with other local historic sites as a consortium to present joint programs and talks: we're never in competition with each-other, after all . . . just civics-based entities working towards the same cause.
  • Ensuring that your museum is marketed as being "family-friendly" while ensuring that the slogan is accurate in real-life. Creating hands-on learning spaces, offering Makers programs, including youth-friendly interactive elements as a part of or throughout museum galleries, etc. shows young parents that they can still indulge in a museum visit without the kids being an impediment. 
  • Dare to tackle current events and sensitive topics. We always worry about people being uninformed of issues relevant today, so we shouldn't be afraid to address those issues. We don't have to give them answers, but help them develop their own. Sensitive topics can also be an avenue when addressed sensitively: people are curious about them, if perhaps nervous about being the ones to broach the subject. So: let's talk about feminism, politics, LGBTQ, gender identity, and all these other taboos and how history can place these constructs into context. 
  • Be a community player. Our museums are almost inevitably part of a greater community and the movement towards creating stronger communities is ever-growing. Making sure that your institution is visible in supporting the community is exceptionally important-- craft fairs, farmers markets, community festivals, run/walks, these are all popular outreach possibilities which are incredibly viable for museums to interact with. 

The central theme of many of these is visibility: be seen as present and accessible. Get out beyond the walls and into the streets, be vibrant, be fun, be daring, be authentic. 

Some institutions I have witnessed creating great programs in the last years:

  • Colonial Williamsburg's "Under the Redcoat." For a weekend, the site was occupied by British troops (reenactors) leading up to the American victory at Yorktown. Guests were encouraged to take part in the action, serving as citizens, spies, and soldiers for the occupying army and the Revolutionary underground. Its worth noting that Williamsburg's recent financial woes, by their own admission, greatly stem from their for-profit side, rather than their educational mission.
  • Conner Prairie's Underground Railroad experience "Follow the North Star." In this program, students and guests engage with the issue of slavery in an honest and personally impacting way. 
  • Gettysburg National Military Park: Not only does NPS continue their fine legacy of informing the public, they offer exceptional talks, tours, living history demonstrations and, recently, this park has become the proving ground for NPS's concept to reshape the terrain to give guests a more immersive look into what the battlefield would have resembled in 1863.
  • Minnesota Historical Society's History on Wheels Program, bringing history to the masses, especially students. Minnesota is a vast state and many of its citizens are far from population centers where traditional museums are located, so they branched out with a neat little program. 
  • Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg, VA, offers overnight and weekend-long experiences to immerse guests of all ages in the Civil War soldier's experience. 
  • Eastern State Penitentiary not only preserves the first major prison in America, but it offers incredible flexibility to exploring guests with audio tours as short as thirty minutes or as long several hours. Their recent exhibit, "Prisons Today" deals with remarkable clarity on current events issues of massed incarceration. They Halloween offering, "Terror Behind the Walls" is likewise apparently something to behold, though I've not attended myself. 
  • Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York recently re-invented their interpretation program, leveling up their authenticity and taking great pains to ensure that live crafts are being demonstrated on a daily basis. This may be the best living history program in the continental United States and its success has recently been answered with an outpouring of funds for another round of upgrades.
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was and is one of the most remarkable in the nation. It deals unflinchingly yet sensitively with one of the most difficult-to-teach subjects of all time. They also have a fascinating program where interested guests can follow the life of an individual throughout the museum, which is a sobering and heart-wrenching experience. It has been emulated many times, notably by the Titanic traveling exhibit. 
  • The Museum of Popular Culture (Seattle, WA) is an exceptional space, though decidedly non-traditional. It does excellent work in exploring current events and detailing how phenomena like Game of Thrones, cell phones, or Star Wars shape the world and the mindset of the people who live in it.

I do not mean to leave any out, but these are the ones that I have seen or that have been recommended to me by those I trust and know. 



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August 9, 2017

Our historic travel challenge to the birthplaces and homes of the signers of the Declaration of Independence

Be the first one to post a picture of yourself in your new 1776 Signers Road Trip t-shirt at one of the Birthplaces and Homes of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence featured in our Historic America Road Trip and we'll send you coupon good for $10 off anything in The History List Store. (One coupon code per person per historic site.)

map-signers-of the-declaration-of-independence

Just add your photo as a comment on our recent post announcing our Historic Travel Challenge, post your photo to our Facebook page, or send it to us and we'll confirm that you're the first at that site and send you your coupon code.

Betsy Elms Havens got this started with her great list featuring the Homes of America's Founding Fathers and Shauna McDonald Johnson's recent trip to Boston inspired this Challenge when she claimed four sites as a result of her single trip:

Pictured below, from left to right: The site where John Hancock's house once stood; John Quincy Adams's birthplace, not a Signer, though his home is just a stone's throw from his father's, who was a Signer; and, Peace Field, where they both lived.

You can get your own shirt "1776 Historic America Road Trip to the Birthplaces and Homes of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence" t-shirt here.


Shauna Johnson at the sites for the Hancock Manor and the birthplaces and homes of John Adams and John Quincy Adams


These birthplaces and homes of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

  • John Hancock's House Site—Boston, Massachusetts - Shauna Johnson (8/6/17)
  • Thomas Stone National Historic Site—Port Tobacco, Maryland
  • Morrisania—Bronx, New York
  • Fragments of Franklin Court—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Edward Rutledge House—Charleston, South Carolina
  • Heyward-Washington House—Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charles Carroll House—Annapolis, Maryland
  • Governor Stephen Hopkins House—Providence, Rhode Island
  • The Common Man—Merrimack, New Hampshire
  • John Witherspoon House—Princeton, New Jersey
  • Middleton Place—Charleston, South Carolina
  • Summerseat—Morrisville, Pennsylvania
  • Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest—Forest, Virginia
  • Wythe House—Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Abraham Clark Memorial House—Roselle, New Jersey
  • Nash-Hooper House—Hillsborough, North Carolina
  • Morven Museum & Garden—Princeton, New Jersey
  • Meadow Garden—Augusta, Georgia - Betsy Elms Havens (11/6/2017)
  • William Williams House—Lebanon, Connecticut
  • Francis Hopkinson House—Bordentown, New Jersey
  • Oliver Wolcott Library—Litchfield, Connecticut
  • William Paca House & Garden—Annapolis, Maryland
  • Josiah Bartlett House—Kingston, New Hampshire
  • Samuel Huntington Birthplace—Scotland, Connecticut
  • William Floyd Estate—Mastic Beach, New York
  • Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site—Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Menokin—Warsaw, Virginia
  • George Read House—New Castle, Delaware
  • Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate—Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Shadwell—Shadwell, Virginia
  • Button Gwinnett House—St. Catherines Island, Georgia
  • George Taylor House—Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
  • Morton Homestead—Prospect Park, Pennsylvania
  • Hopsewee Plantation—Georgetown, South Carolina
  • Nelson House—Yorktown, Virginia
  • John Hart Homestead—Hopewell Borough, New Jersey
  • Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden—Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Stratford Hall, home of the Lees of Virginia—Stratford, Virginia
  • Elsing Green—Elsing Green, Virginia
  • Chase - Lloyd House—Annapolis, Maryland
  • Fort Wilson—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Byfield—Dover, Delaware
  • Benjamin Franklin Birthplace Site—Boston, Massachusetts - Shauna Johnson (8/6/17)
  • Samuel Adams House Site—Boston, Massachusetts
  • Matthew Thornton House—Derry, New Hampshire
  • Monticello—Charlottesville, Virginia
  • John Adams Birthplace - Adams National Historical Park—Quincy, Massachusetts - Shauna Johnson (8/3/17)
  • Joseph Hewes House—Edenton, North Carolina
  • Thomas McKean House Site—New London, Pennsylvania
  • John Penn's House—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Elbridge Gerry House—Marblehead, Massachusetts
  • Roger Sherman Town Hall—New Milford, Connecticut
  • Benjamin Rush House—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • “Hall's Knoll” Home of Dr. Lyman Hall—Midway, Georgia

Updated August 8, 2017


If you visited one of these that hasn't been claimed, post your photo to our Facebook page or send it to us, and if we have missed any birthplace or home, send us a note.  And if you'd like your own "1776 Historic America Road Trip" t-shirt, you'll find it here.


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July 22, 2017

Patriotic Carving by Alexander Swasey from the collection of the Newport Historical Society


This hand-carved patriotic wood carving featuring an American Eagle with a distinctive patriotic pattern is attributed to Alexander Swasey (1820 - 1860), a noted woodcarver and boat-builder of Newport.

Carved around 1840, the eagle stands about four feet high and has a wingspan of about five feet.




Painted in colors of red, white, blue and gold. The talons of the eagle grasp a small cannon. The carving also includes a shield, the seal of the United States, Lady Liberty holding a staff and cap, a cornucopia with tobacco leaves, and sheaves of grain.








Little is know about this remarkable patriotic carving. It may have originally been made for a political or social group in Newport. For many years, after it ended its working life, the carving adorned the entrance to Bateman and Gardner's Meat Market on 5 and 7 Pelham Street in Newport.

The carving is now in the collection of the Newport Historical Society in Newport, Rhode Island, where this carving is currently on display.

In partnership with the Newport Historical Society, we created a t-shirt, sticker, and magnet with our rallying cry, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of history," surrounding the patriotic wood carving. You may purchase them at The History List Store.


  "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" Collection

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of history" Collection

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of history" Sticker


If your organization has a distinctive historic item that you'd like us to consider for a future design and product, please send us a photo and note.








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