January 10, 2013

Call for entries: The History List Guide to Summer Camps and Programs at Historic Sites and Institutions

Following on the heels of the holiday campaign to raise awareness of holiday events and programs at historic sites and institutions, we are going to compile . . .The History List Guide to Summer Camps at Historic Sites and Institutions

The History List Guide to Summer Camps and Programs at Historic Sites and Institutions

An estimated eight million kids attend a summer camp.  With so many great summer programs for kids at historic sites and institutions, we want to raise awareness so their parents can select a program that will . . .

"Make it a summer they'll never forget!"

To participate, simply add your event using the "Add events" link above and check the "Kids camp" box near the bottom of the form, as shown in this screenshot. 

You'll need to be signed in first.Entering your organization's summer camp on The History List  For immediate access, sign in with Facebook, or you can request a free account on The History List.

Once signed in, you have essentially unlimited space for text, pictures, and video.

It's copy-and-paste simple, and anyone—staff, interns, or volunteers—can enter or edit.  This means that one person can enter information and later another person can update the listing without having to get the account information for the person who originally made the entry.  (See several examples of organization and event entries.)

In the coming days you'll see a green appear next to your listing.  We'll also add links that make it easy for anyone to see a list of the summer programs and sort them by distance to travel and by date.


  • What is the definition of "summer camp or program?"  Any multi-day program for kids.  It doesn't have to involve tents or The icon for entries on The History List that are summer campsinclude sleeping overnight.  Yes, the icon shows a tent, but it's not meant to be literal.  (If you can come up with an icon we use instead of this one, we'll sing your praises and send you a t-shirt.  We tried dozens before settling on this one.  The icon has to be easily recognizable and telegraphic at the very small size we use, and consistent with the design of the site.  If you have one that meets those criteria, send it in.)
  • What about the "at historic sites and institutions" part? Similar to our criteria for The History List as a whole, if someone would be puzzled as to why your organization and "camp" are listed here, even after reading the description, then it probably doesn't belong.
    • We have a traditional sleep-away summer camp in the mountains that's been in operation in the same place every summer since 1912.  Unless the site is historic in some way or something involving history is a significant part of the summer program, it's probably not a fit.
    • We have a week-long summer arts program in our National Register-listed property.  Being in that setting one would think that the attendees would gain an appreciation for the historic structure and perhaps the history behind it even if the  program itself doesn't have anything to do with history.  Many historic properties use special events and programs to generate the revenue necessary to remain viable.  Increasing awareness of those is one of the main goals of The History List, so please add your organization and summer camp.
    • We have a one-day program for kids at our history museum every Friday during the summer.  While that surely must be fun for the children who participate, it's definitely different than what one expects from a list of camps, which would be programs that are typically four to seven days long.  So list your event, just don't check the "Camp" box.
  • How do I make my program stand out?  Create a complete, detailed listing for your organization and your summer camp, including text, pictures, and even video.  You have essentially unlimited space to add as much as you wish.  Explain your program and answer the key questions parents and kids might have.  There will be a place to include a link to your site for more information.
  • How do I report a listing that shouldn't be included?  Send us a message or click on the "Flag" link at the bottom of the listing.
  • I had a great experience at the camp I attended and want to let others know about the program.  Outstanding.  Add your comment in the "Comments" area at the near the bottom of the listing.  Go into detail.  Others who are considering this program will be glad you did.

If you have questions or suggestions at any point, please let us know.  Finally, if you're involved with these types of programs, you'll enjoy these bumper stickers we wished we saw.

The entire list of summer camps and programs is at www.TheHistoryList.com/camps.

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January 8, 2013

Recap of the 2012 "Make this holiday historic!" campaign

We ended our first year with "Make this holiday historic!," a campaign to raise awareness of the many wonderful historic sites, museums, and organizations across the country.  The goal, ultimately, is to draw new attendees, fans, volunteers, members, and donors.

In a country in which more than $450 billion is spent at retail during the holidays and more than 30 million people attend the movies, shouldn't we make more people aware of the great events--and shopping--available at the tens of thousands of historic sites and history-related organizations across the country?

Open to any history-related organization or historic site, the "Make this holiday historic!" campaign consisted of . . .

  • An icon next to every holiday event listed on The History List
  • An interactive calendar (archived here) that featured 33 events during the month of December (through January 1)
  • Web and newsletter badges for all of the organizations that participated
  • An app on Facebook
  • Daily posts to Facebook and Twitter

We announced the list of featured events in late December.  Thanks to the organizations that participated and the individuals who supported and shared information about the campaign through their blog and Facebook posts, shares, and "Likes," and their Tweets.

As noted in the recap below, we plan to do a campaign in 2013 and have made it eve easier for organizations.  In fact, they can enter their December 2013 holiday events now and tag them for inclusion in the 2013 campaign. 

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January 7, 2013

Meeting with organizations in Iowa about The History List

Over the holidays, I had an opportunity to meet with executives at two of Iowa's historic gems, Salisbury House (top) and Living History Farms (below), to discuss participating on The History List and get feedback on what we have planned for 2013.Salisbury House in Des Moines, Iowa

Earlier in the month, Tara Richards, Marketing and Program Director at Brucemore, an historic home in Cedar Rapids that is Iowa's only National Trust Historic Site, added her organization and events to The History List and became the first Iowa institution to participate.  (Brucemore's holiday event was also featured as part of our "Make this holiday historic! campaign.  Check out December 11.)  

With my trip to Des Moines over the holidays, I wanted to build a critical mass of Iowa institutions.  

During my meetings, these institutions came up:

  • The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque
  • The Grout Museum District in Waterloo, including the Grout Museum of History and Science, The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, and the Rensselaer Russell House Museum
  • The Sioux City Museum and Historical Association
  • The State Historical Museum in Des Moines and the State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Terrace Hill in Des Moines

Who else should be on that list?Living History Farms near Des Moines, Iowa

Let us know and we'll reach out to them, as we do everyone who is recommended to us.  (Of course, anyone can list their organization and events now.  No invitation needed.)

Thanks to Leo Landis, the education director and curator at Salisbury House and Katie Wengert, director of marketing and community relations, and to Ruth Haus, president of Living History Farms, for the interest and good suggestions.

We ended 2012, our first year, with 244 organizations listed and are looking forward to continuing to grow and expand in 2013.

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December 26, 2012

Pictures from the 239th Anniversary Boston Tea Party Annual Reenactment

The reenactment took place on December 16, 2012 and started at Old South Meeting House and proceeded to the dock to watch the Boston Tea Party on a replica of the Beaver, one of the three tea ships.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

In December we launched "Make this holiday historic!" in order to raise awareness of the hundreds and hundreds of historic sites, museums, and organizations across the country and draw new attendees, fans, volunteers, members, and donors.  Many of the events featured on the interactive calendar had a holiday theme, while others, most notably the Boston Tea Party and Washington's Crossing reenactments, were featured because they were important turning points in our nation's history.  (Here's the complete list of the 33 featured events.)

In addition to well-known sites and events, and events from organizations near you, you can learn about historic events that are less well-known, such as the Charleston Tea Party in 1774.

Adding your events and exhibits, well-known and less-so, is easy and can be done by anyone who is signed in, including staff, interns, and volunteers.  There is no fee to list.  Here's how to get started.

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December 24, 2012

The complete "Make this holiday historic!” list of featured sites and events

"Make this holiday historic!" completed calendarIn 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 appearedBadges for organizations promoting their history-related holiday events 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, Engaging Places blog post: "An Interactive Holiday Calendar for Historic Sites"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)

A listing from The History List with the holiday icon





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.

There are many new features and programs in the works.  Subscribe to our newsletter for updates and follow us on Twitter.

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.

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