Is That a Podcast in Your Pocket?

This post is 1. a long time coming, 2. was inspired by Annie Cullen’s Public History Mix Tape and 3. was secondarily inspired by my own desire to create the “Public History Graduate Student’s Collection of Books on Tape”. Podcasts have become one the most utilized tools for conveying information, their topics are countless and availability, for most, is open. And in our society of continual multitasking (driving and listening to music are multitasking) podcasts are a powerful tool in reaching the public’s ear. They can be used by professionals to engage the public, and in return podcasts are a forum the public can use to debate interpretations by leaving comments or creating their own.

As an avid multitasker, these are a few of my personal favorite History Podcasts.

1. Stuff You Missed in History Class: As the first podcast I ever listened to, this one holds a special place in my heart, also it is done so well. Dialogues are more interesting to listen to then monologues and this podcast always has two hosts. The topics are wide ranging and, most importantly, the hosts share the sources of their interpretation.

2. Memory Palace: This podcast is focused on social and cultural history, taking short historical episodes and highlighting their emotional impact. It will occasionally pull at your heart strings. If you are not a fan of StoryCorps, you probably won’t appreciate this one as well.

3. Backstory: As other podcasts do, the hosts of Backstory take current events or topics and trace their developments. However, having three historians, as their tagline says “18th century guy, 19th century guy and 20th century guy”, adds depth and perspective that many other podcast do not.

4. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: As the title states, this is “Hardcore History”. Although Carlin can be over dramatic and less analytical then others, he provides an interests interpretation that engages the listener and, hopefully, provokes them to think a little more about historical events.

There are many, many more, so please share your favorites and opinions on these.

Navigating the Past from our Pockets : Instagram and Public History

Anyone that knows me personally knows I’m quite the nerdy hobby photographer. Just read my archives on this blog to find out for yourself. So, when I caved and finally purchased my first smart phone last December, I immediately uploaded Instagram and started snapping away. For those of you scratching your heads and asking, “Insta-what?”, Instagram is a smart phone app (now also available on iPads) that functions like Twitter for the aspiring photographers of the world. You snap photos, add filters, and can share your photos with other Instagrammers who “follow” your feed. In turn, you can follow others, too.

With Web 2.0 now all the rage, a variety of history-related apps are available for our smart technologies. From the Library of Congress Virtual Tour to Historypin to Oregon Trail, history is literally right inside our pockets and purses. Smart phone technology has in many ways democratized access to history and history-related resources like never before. Which leads me back to Instragram. As a public historian, over-eager photog and smart phone user, I find these three worlds colliding on my iPhone 5 all the time.  In their photo-sharing ways, Instagram users are also sharing, shaping and navigating the past. So, how do we explore history with Instragram? How do I?

Below are just some of the ways. I’ve included my original captions with the images. To follow my Instagram happenings, you can follow my account annie_cullen on your smart technology or take a peek at my online profile here. Disclaimer: yes, I take too many pictures of my cats.

Instagramming History
Dream bathroom. #cuneomansion #oldshit #latergram #publichistory @zhenshchina

Instagramming History
Last set of books for the last semester of graduate school.

Continue reading “Navigating the Past from our Pockets : Instagram and Public History”

Digital Exhibit: The Civil War and Chicago

The countdown to the new semester has begun and with it the frantic attempts to get ahead before falling perpetually behind.  As you try desperately to check things off your growing to do list, remember this may be your last week to take some time to relax and rejuvenate before four months of caffeine induced reading and writing.  Although I heartily support getting out of your cramped apartment and getting some fresh air, I understand if the temperatures that are currently hovering around freezing keep you huddled inside.  How about we compromise?  You can stay in, sip your cocoa, pet your dog/cat, and still explore one of the largest green spaces in Chicago.  I’ll even throw in some history to ease your already nagging conscience.

Take a break from your break and check out The Civil War and Chicago: Memorialization, Commemoration, and Remembrance at Rosehill Cemetery!

Civil War Section of Rosehill Cemetery

A digital exhibit created as the capstone for Dr. Elizabeth Fraterrigo’s Material Culture course, The Civil War and Chicago utilizes the Omeka platform to explore how veterans, families of deceased soldiers, and the country as a whole, memorialized, commemorated, and remembered the sacrifices of the over half million soldiers who perished between 1861 and 1865.

Check out the site here and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

A Time to Remember

It is Christmas time again, and the Magi along Sheridan Road slowly make their way to the manger outside the Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. This nativity scene is seen by, or at least passed by, hundreds of commuters to and from Chicago every day. I would like to draw your attention away from Chicago, and even the Land of Lincoln, to another popular, though perhaps more out-of-the-way, nativity scene.

Scene

Algona, Iowa, about 50 miles west of Mason City, is home to a unique nativity scene whose origins are sad, but enlightening. I first heard about the Algona Nativity Scene when I worked at the Camp Algona POW Museum over the summer of 2011. Camp Algona was one of some 500 base and branch camps that housed approximately 400,000 Prisoners of War in the US between 1942 and 1946. Unlike most World War II POW camps, Camp Algona is not forgotten, despite having no physical structures remaining. The memory of the prisoners and the camp is carried on by the museum, but those memories were maintained long before the museum opened its doors in 2004. The men held captive just outside town are remembered because of a gift left to Algona in 1946 by six POWs.

Continue reading “A Time to Remember”

Public History Students featured on NCPH Blog

Two Lakefront Historian contributors and public history students at Loyola University Chicago are featured this week on History@Work, the blog from the National Council on Public History (NCPH).  Annie Cullen and Rachel Boyle discuss how the overwhelming success of Public History Ryan Gosling reveals the strengths and weaknesses of popular culture as a tool for public historians.  The post will give you a preview of the panel presentation Cullen and Boyle will be giving at the annual NCPH conference this April in Ottawa, Canada.  Hope to see you there!

Lunch at the Archives- More Jokes Than You Can Make a Sandwich With

A few months ago, I found some left over sandwiches in the break room at work. As I was eating one, I thought of a hilarious tweet idea:

Just “gained access” to some leftover “materials” related to bacon, lettuce, and tomato. “Accessioned” them into my stomach. #LunchAtTheArchives

In the subsequent weeks, I thought of several more jokes that were food and archives related. I realized it was time to start another comedy blog. Appropriating my oh-so-clever hashtag from the original tweet, I created Lunch At The Archives, a tumblr site dedicated to jokes at the intersection of “food and the profession,” [of archives].

I think it is important for every profession to have a humorous totem they can cling to [see Public History Ryan Gosling]…and I just really like cracking jokes that appropriate professional jargon and concepts.

The blog serves several functions. First, to share jokes that reflect the common quirks of the job:

Lunch at the Archives
Lunch at the ArchivesLunch at the ArchivesLunch at the Archives

Once, I also created a full Dublin Core Entry for a sandwich I ate.

Sometimes, though, I use the blog to address more serious professional issues:

Lunch at the ArchivesLunch at the Archives

Although the blog is young, I invite you to visit. I’m sure there will be some incredible material for your consumption.

(cringe)

“I Don’t Know What I Stand For Anymore”: Fun., Postmodern Angst, and Civil War Memory

The casual radio listener cannot avoid the chart topping hit “Some Nights” by the band Fun.  As with their other recent hit, “We Are Young,” Fun. produces upbeat tempos and soaring harmonies that belie darker lyrics about the emptiness and purposelessness of life.  By applying the postmodern undertones of “Some Nights” to a music video dominated by Civil War imagery, Fun. meaningfully reflects and contributes to popular memory of the Civil War.

Continue reading ““I Don’t Know What I Stand For Anymore”: Fun., Postmodern Angst, and Civil War Memory”

Review of the Asian Civilizations Museum’s Online Exhibitions

While studying abroad as an undergraduate in 2007, I had the pleasure of visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore. The rich interpretation and impressive collections on display (not to mention the air conditioning) kept this newcomer to Southeast Asia in the building for the greater part of a day and left me well-primed well for the months to follow in Malaysia. After years of training and working in public history, museums, and other allied fields as a graduate student, I have been longing to return to that institution with the new perspectives engendered by those experiences. I would need to fly over 9,300 miles to visit the permanent gallery, but several of the museum’s past special exhibitions are available online. Visitors can currently explore the following on virtual 3D tours augmented with artifact images label text: “Land of the Morning: The Philippines and its People,” “Treasury of the World: Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals,” and “Congo River: Arts of Central Africa.” The link to a fourth exhibition, titled “Terracotta Warriors” is currently broken. These exhibitions provide a rich, albeit imperfect sampling of the world class museum’s offerings. Continue reading “Review of the Asian Civilizations Museum’s Online Exhibitions”