• The Slater Mill (yellow) and Wilkinson Mill (stone), along the Blacktone River in Pawtucket RI

    Blackstone River Valley

    National Heritage Corridor MA,RI

NCPH Working Group 3

Branch River passing Slatersville Mill

View of the Branch River flowing past the Slatersville Mill

National Council of Public History Annual Meeting
“Public Histories of Union and Disunion”
April 10-13, 2008
The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

Case Studies from the Working Group:
Finding Common Ground between Interpreters and Historians Saturday,
April 12, 8:30 AM – 10:15 AM

Finding Common Ground between Interpreters and Historians

Are there ideas, methods, and experiences that National Park Service interpreters and policymakers, on one hand, and public historians, on the other can exchange that would mutually enhance the work of each? Can Interpreters who are regularly in immediate contact with people in public offer concepts or approaches that will help public historians to bridge what David Glassberg calls "the enormous distance that exists between historians and the public"? How might public historians assist interpreters in contextualizing and analyzing historical information? This working group will address these issues of contrasting but complementary professional attributes in the two groups and begin to map out ways of facilitating future exchanges, such as seminars, training courses, publications, workshops, and other possible activities.

Participants have developed the following case studies to focus the conversation.


Please click link for PDF of case study

Working Group Agenda

Case 1: “Finding Common Ground Between Interpreters and Historians
Jill Ogline – CV Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Washington,

Case 2: “We Found the Common Ground: Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Johanna Miller Lewis, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Laura A. Miller, Chief of Interpretation & Cultural Resources, Little Rock Central HS NHS

Case 3: “Social History, Rebel Soldiers and Slavery: Interpretation / Scholarship at National Military Parks
Daryl Black, Curator, Chattanooga History Center

Case 4: “Observations of an Independent Historian of National Park Interpretation”
Joan M. Zenzen

Case 5: "Why is There So Little History of the Parks in the Parks"
Anne Mitchell Whisnant

Case 6: "Stepping Back From Education"
Bruce Craig, University of Prince Edward Island

Case 7: "Resolving 'Interpretive Conflict' between the Geological and Human Time Scales at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument"
Stephen Mark, Historian Crater Lake National Park

Case 8: "Park Rangers: Challenges to Working The Historians' Ground"
Carol Kelly, National Park Service Volunteer, National Mall, Washington, DC

Case 9: "Roads for the Modern Tourist"
Mark Anderson, Reference Librarian, James A. Michener Library, University of Northern Colorado

Case 10: "Interpreting the History of the Homestead Act from Multiple Perspectives"
Todd Arrington, Historian, Homestead National Monument of America (NPS)
Tom Richter, Chief of Interpretation and Education, Midwest Region (NPS)

Did You Know?