NC Historian on HB2

I would ordinarily just tweet a link to this Mountain Xpress article, but I think Milton Ready really hints at the historical, transformational, import of HB2, a bill “that was never about bathrooms or trans-anything”– Crafted by rural legislators like Phil Berger of Eden and Tim Moore of Kings Mountain, HB2 perfectly expresses a gerrymandered, … More NC Historian on HB2

Personal meaning through analytical frameworks

In “From Women’s History to Gender History,” Ashley Luskey and Robert Dunkerly detail their attempts to introduce gender into programming at Richmond National Battlefield Park. This doesn’t mean gender as a social category and layering in representations of women’s experiences, but gender as feminine and masculine “’ways of perceiving’ that have shaped the way individuals … More Personal meaning through analytical frameworks

Threshold fear

In the essay “Interpreting Race, Slavery, and United States Colored Troops at Civil War Battlefields,” Beth Parnicza (and co-authors) writes the following [and please excuse the extended quote]— “While ‘To Freedom’ was a large-scale program, most of the park’s efforts to discuss emancipation occur in a more intimate setting, often on walking tours in which … More Threshold fear

Evaluation, part 2

What do evaluations actually do? Well, anything, really. When I did evaluations at the state history museum, I developed simple instruments to test exhibit graphics on middle schoolers, get audience feedback on exhibit titles with attraction power, and to prove that additions to a recurring exhibit accomplished their goals. Evaluations can range from simple tests … More Evaluation, part 2

Evaluation, part 1

A routine part of most administrators’ jobs are data collection for reporting: funders and agencies have to know—via numbers—that their money is being effectively spent. Internally, museums find value in knowing whom they reach, and to what extent they achieve their outcome goals. Granting organizations and other funders increasingly require proof that learning has occurred. … More Evaluation, part 1

Contingencies and the reformer imagination

At the States of Incarceration exhibit launch we participated in a breakout group that considered ways that we can effect change in the mass criminalization/incarceration system. Activists tend to see change happen as a result of direct action. Obviously, it sometimes does in dramatic ways, but I think that most historical change can’t be understood … More Contingencies and the reformer imagination

Follow up: identities and behaviors of visitors to Civil War museums

The identity and behavior schemes that Falk, Pekarik, et. al., and literally dozens of others visitor studies professionals (e.g. Stephen Bitgood’s theories on attention and value, or Molly Hood’s thinking on why people don’t go to museums) are drawn from visitor studies across the museum discipline. So what we know about who goes to museum … More Follow up: identities and behaviors of visitors to Civil War museums


In my post the other day I worried about ways to reach and meet non-traditional audiences. The literature on contact zone theory is relevant there and is hotly debated. Literature on meeting and exceeding the needs of existing audiences through conventional exhibits, however, is deep, and is not usually drawn upon by the history museums … More IPOP