Keeping History Relevant

HRCLast month I announced that I have joined the steering committee of the History Relevance Campaign.  The public historians, history educators, and history museum professionals behind this movement are doing great work in promoting history as an essential feature of democratic life in the United States.

Several major institutions have endorsed this effort, including the American Association of State and Local History, the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians, the Civil War Trust, the George Mason University History Department, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the History Channel, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the National Council for History Education, the National Council on Public History, National History Day, the Oral History Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Alliance of Museums, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and many others. Click here for a complete list.

Over at the blog of the American Association of State and Local History, Eliza Newland of the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum has offered eight ways to “keep history relevant.” Her thoughts come from the History Relevance Campaign’s “Value of History Statement.”

Here is a taste:

8 Ways to Help Keep History Relevant:

  1. Read the Value of History statement and use it to inform your own understanding of history’s relevance.
  2. Take a leadership role and seek formal endorsement of the Value of History statement by your organization. If you are a student, talk to the chair of your department about the statement. If you are a young professional, an intern, or a volunteer, talk to your supervisor.
  3. Commit to incorporating the Values into your work. Talk about them when strategic planning for your organization. Include them in your teaching statement.
  4. Spread the word. Start conversations with friends, colleagues, neighbors, or fellow students about the value of history and share insight. Talk about the Values in a class that you’re teaching or in a graduate student meeting.
  5. Share your story. Talk about how you incorporating the Values into your work. Send out social media messages about the importance and relevance of history.
  6. Continue the conversation on LinkedIn by joining the HRC group.
  7. Really motivated by the thought of making history more relevant? Contribute your time and talents to an HRC task force. They are always looking for help and there are multiple task forces that you can join based on your interests: Marketing, K-20 Education, Impact Project, and more. Learn more about how you can get involved.  
  8. Follow the History Relevance Campaign (@historycampaign) on Twitter.