Yesterday I got up early and drove to the American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania where I gave the keynote address for the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Museum Association. The title of my lecture was “Public History for a Democracy.” Here is how I began:
If you haven’t already figured this out, I am not a museum professional. I have long defined myself as a “public historian,” but not in the traditional way that the academy defines public historian. I do not work in a museum or historical society. I teach American history to undergraduates. But having said that, I have worked hard at trying to bring history to bear on public life—to bridge the gap between academic history and public history and to introduce historical interpretation to the public in a way that is accessible and easy to digest. I have tried to do this through my books, my daily blog, my podcast, and, of course, in the classroom. This is my so-called platform. It is a platform slightly different than the spatial platforms that you occupy, but I think it is fair to say that we are all on the same team.
As I flipped through the radio during my drive, it seemed like all of the public stations were in the midst of Spring fund-raising drives.
We have never asked for money here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home blog (although we have asked you to consider supporting our work at the podcast ), so rather than thinking about fundraising, I focused on the words of the on-air talent as they enticed potential donors with all the good programming planned for the upcoming year.
It made me think. What do we have coming-up here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home? What is on the agenda? The honest answer: I am not sure. This blog turns ten-years old in June 2018. Most blogs don’t last that long. Ten years is a good time to reflect and take stock. Here are some of the questions I am asking:
- Do we keep going? We have built a great audience here, but all good things must come to end. Ten years is as good a time as any to stop. I still enjoy blogging, but perhaps I need to start redirecting my energies toward others things.
- Or maybe we should keep going, but slow down a bit. Perhaps we should only post once a day or once a week or simply whenever I have something original to say.
- If we do decide to go on, what changes should we make? Do we need a new look? Do we need to add more features beyond the Author’s Corner, Sunday Night Odds and Ends, or “So What Can You Do With a History Major?” What are the regular features of the blog that need to stay? Which one’s need to go?
- Should The Way of Improvement Leads Home be more than just a solo operation? Would the blog lose something if we added a roster of regular bloggers? Would the blog be better with such a roster?
I will not make any move until the public relations work for Believe Me has died down, but all of these options are on the table right now as we approach our tenth anniversary on June 24, 2018.
What do you think?