12/6 Definition of Public History

I believe that it is hard to give a definition of public history because each person can view it in a different manner. Public History to one scholar may be different from another scholar and then the definition of public history to someone who does not study history will be completely different from the scholar’s definition. The definition of public history to your everyday person may not even exist because they may not even know or understand what public history is. So in that manner it is difficult to label what public history is.

As for my personal understanding of public history, I believe that public history is the way that history is presented to the American public and the manners in which our nation’s history is conveyed to the everyday person. Whether it is through memorials, museums, archives, or films, they all give a different learning experience and interpretation to someone who may not quite understand the past. It is very important to understand the past because without the past, the United States’ would not be the country that it is today. I believe that public history is also about the different manners in which we can understand our history, whether it is hands-on history, visual, audio, and re-enactments. Each of those method stimulate our senses and allow for a better interpretation of the history. It is important to create the public history in a manner in which it is interesting to the audience.

Since August, my view on public history has evolved from just thinking that museums were the only form of public history. I never knew that so many public history sites surrounded us in our everyday life. There is so much that goes into this field and through the projects that we have done in class, my vision of public history has evolved in such a way that I can see what the big idea of what public history projects are trying to get the American public to understand.

The definition of public history is still evolving and it will be hard to give a direct definition on what exactly public history is. My personal definition will continue to evolve as I study history and visit different sites that are considered public history.

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