Going in two directions at once

Item Type



I see public history heading simultaneously in two (perhaps contradictory, perhaps complementary) directions in the next few decades. As funding becomes ever more precarious and as we all grapple with economic, environmental, and other challenges and crises, I can envision historical knowledge becoming more deeply rooted in small-scale, local networks, partly out of necessity and partly because this is likely to be a time when more and more people begin to recognize the value of types of knowledge and social formations that were previously seen as obsolete and "past." I think those "past" knowledges may well gain new currency as we work to reconfigure many things about our societies. I imagine us all going "forward to the past," rediscovering the utility of things that had been set aside and moved into the realm of preservation. Un-preserving the past?

At the same time, I can see many kinds of new technology being woven into these efforts - digital communication and archiving, new ways of capturing and using energy, different ways of sharing information, constructing knowledge, and building community. I see history as one piece of more kinds of enterprises, making public history a more diffused and widespread kind of practice.

Original Format


Cathy Stanton


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Cathy Stanton

Date Added



Cathy Stanton, "Going in two directions at once." Forward Capture: Imagine the Future of Public History, Item #9 (accessed January 29 2022, 2:51 am)