Not all historians publish their findings about history in books and articles. Some historians convey knowledge about history to the public in public spaces and in public ways.
We conclude the “Doing History: How Historians Work” series with a look at how historians do history for the public with guest historian Lonnie Bunch, the Founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.
This episode originally posted as a Bonus Episode in 2016.
About the Series
“Doing History” episodes will introduce you to historians who will tell you what they know about the past and reveal how they came to their knowledge.
Each episode will air on the last Tuesday of each month in 2016.
This series is part of a partnership between Ben Franklin’s World and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Lonnie Bunch, the Founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of how historians do history for the public.
During our exploration, Lonnie reveals why it’s important for historians to reach multiple audiences with their work and how museums allow them to reach those audiences; The importance of humanizing history; And, how history and the historian’s process helped Lonnie and his colleagues build the National Museum of African American History & Culture and interpret the history within it.
What You’ll Discover
- Why Lonnie seeks to reach multiple audiences with his historical scholarship
- How museums allow people to interact and engage with history
- Lonnie’s favorite part of doing history in museums
- Oral Histories and how historians can use them
- The importance of humanizing history
- Lessons learned from studying free black communities before the Civil War
- How history and historical research assisted Lonnie with creating the National Museum of African American History & Culture
- How Lonnie and his team at the NMAAHC found the right tension between what people wanted to see and what they needed to see in the museum
- How historians write history in museum exhibits using historical artifacts
- The process of creating a museum exhibit
- How the practice of history can be contentious
- What is history
- How museums can collect history now for future exhibits and interpretations
- The role of technology in museums
- How to visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture
- The power of museums to humanize history
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Lonnie Bunch
- National Museum of African American History & Culture
- National Museum of African American History & Culture on Twitter: @NMAAHC
- The Smithsonian
- Episode 137: Erica Dunbar, The Washingtons’ Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
- Episode 157: The Revolution’s African American Soldiers
- Episode 166: Freedom and the American Revolution
- Episode 176: Daina Ramey Berry, The Value of the Enslaved from Womb to Grave
- Episode 212: Researching Biography
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