Interpreting Science at Museums and Historic Sites
Debra A. Reid, Karen-Beth G. Scholthof, and David D. Vail, editors
Paperback $55 Member Price $44
Ebook $52 Member Price $41.60
Ask not what science can do for you, but what public history can do for science! Interpreting Science in Museums and Historic Sites stresses the untapped potential of historical artifacts to inform our understanding of scientific topics. It argues that science gains ground when contextualized in museums and historic sites. Engaging audiences in conversations about hot topics such as health and medical sciences or climate change and responses to it, mediated by a history museum, can emphasize scientific rigor and the time lag between discovery and confirmation of societal benefit. Interpreting Science emphasizes the urgency of this work, provides a toolkit to start and sustain the work, shares case studies that model best practice, and resources useful to facilitate and sustain a science-infused public history.
Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders, Second Edition
David B. Allison, editor
Paperback $49 Member Price $39.20
Ebook $47 Member Price $37.60
The impetus for the first edition was violent actions: the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, which was touched off by discussions about removing a Confederate statue and resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. Since the publication of the first edition, both history and democracy are being threatened in ways that we were only seeing small glimpses of in 2018. Today, attempts to elevate new or more complex history has been met with vilification. Our responsibilities as historians, community leaders, museum professionals, and citizens is to redouble our efforts to share human stories in relatable ways. The revised edition tackles the great issues of our time against the backdrop of monument culture and historical truth.
Making History: Makerspaces for Museums and Historic Sites
Paperback $36, Member Price $28.80
Ebook $34, Member Price $27.20
While first person interpretation and historic crafts have long been part of the museum world, current movements in the maker movement in libraries and schools have occurred mostly outside of the museum world. Instead, Making History shows the importance of the Maker Movement for museums and historic sites, and presents a roadmap to building, planning, researching, and using a makerspace alongside more traditional museum programming. It calls for a revitalization of living history, which can be done through makerspaces and the maker movement.
The processes and methods explored in this book will help produce a sustainable makerspace that will help the museum or historic site that adopts it reach new audiences, creating growth and new stakeholders. Likewise, through calling for a recalibration of living history through the language of the makerspace, this project calls for new approaches to living history. Thus, it is a call for a disruption to the status quo and a push towards sustainable and meaningful living history.
Interpreting Sports at Museums and Historic Sites
Kathryn Leann Harris and Douglas Stark, editors
Paperback $40, Member Price $32
Ebook $38, Member Price $30.40
Interpreting Sports at Museums and Historic Sites encourages museums, historical sites, and cultural institutions to consider the history of sport as integral to American culture and society. This comprehensive study provides analytical direction and practical application for interpreting sports history at a variety of sites; guiding sports and non-sports museum professionals alike. A robust series of essays illuminate the innovative, forward thinking nature of sport exhibition and programming that is an active part of the American museum experience. Thirty-two national and international authors take an honest look at the ways sports impacts culture and culture impacts sports. Six thematic essays uncover the particularities of navigating the sports historical landscape alongside an actively engaged, present-day audience. Then, a wide selection of case studies explore successful and unsuccessful attempts at attracting the public and engaging in educational discussion around both uplifting and difficult sports topics.
Exploring the American Presidency through 50 Historic Treasures
Kimberly A. Kenney (2023)
Hardback $45 Member Price $36
Ebook $42.50 Member Price $34
No person in the world is more recognizable than an American president. These men are larger than life, and as the leader of the free world they have the opportunity to shape history in ways that most of us cannot imagine. Exploring the American Presidency through 50 Historic Treasures brings together significant artifacts from the lives of the men who have led our nation through times of great prosperity and terrible tragedy. When we look at our presidents through the lens of the material culture they left behind, it humanizes them and creates relevance to our own lives. This book features full-color images of 50 artifacts that were chosen by the very people who work at presidential sites and historical museums, stewarding the legacies of our presidents.
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News and Reviews
Kimberly Kenney’s Exploring the American Presidency through 50 Historic Treasures was reviewed in Booklist. “It’s easy to find books about the presidents. However, while biographies teach us about presidents, only artifacts ‘have a unique power to convey the immediacy of history.’ Only material culture, the examination of artifacts, conveys the raw, ‘uninterpreted story of our past.'” (February 2023)
Tegan Kehoe’s Exploring American Healthcare through 50 Historic Treasures was featured in the Boston Globe’s book section (January 2022) and received a “highly recommended” review in Choice, the Association of College and Research Libraries premier review journal for undergraduate libraries (September 2022): “The volume will be a great tool for students of public health history, presenting tangible evidence from the late 1700s to the present.”
Monument Culture: International Perspectives on the Future of Monuments in a Changing World edited by Laura A. Macaluso and Interpreting Religion at Museums and Historic Sites edited by Gretchen Buggeln and Barbara Franco were reviewed in NCPH’s The Public Historian (August 2021).
NCPH’s The Public Historian reviewed Doing Women’s History in Public: A Handbook for Interpretation at Museums and Historic Sites by Heather Huyck, Reimagining Historic House Museums: New Approaches and Proven Solutions edited by Kenneth C. Turino and Max A. van Balgooy, and Interpreting the Environment at Museums and Historic Sites by Debra A. Reid and David D. Vail (May 2021).
Susan Fletcher’s 2020 book Exploring the History of Childhood and Play through 50 Historic Treasures won first place in the Nonfiction-History, Science, and Research category in the 2021 Colorado Authors’ League Book Awards. This work was also selected by Booklist as one of the top ten sports books of the year (August 2020).
Commemoration: The American Association for State and Local History Guide, edited by Seth C. Bruggeman, was reviewed in NCPH’s The Public Historian (August 2020).
Exploring Women’s Suffrage through 50 Historic Treasures by Jessica Jenkins was reviewed in Booklist. “This unique, fascinating book carries the reader into the struggle surrounding the 19th Amendment, presenting fifty essays about objects related to the people and events that inched the suffragists closer to success” (March 2020).
Do you have a book idea?
“Somebody somewhere has solved the problem that bothers you. Somewhere somebody can use your ideas. Here is the meeting place for questions and answers. Send in yours.” AASLH Shop Talk, December 1949
Every history practitioner has expertise and wisdom to share about the tools and techniques they use in their work interpreting state and local history. In your work, chances are at some point you’ve wished for a book, webpage, or colleague to guide you or answer questions about an unfamiliar task or new concept. Maybe you found a book that helped. Maybe you found a book that was almost right, but not written for your small or all-volunteer site. Maybe you found no book at all. We want to publish books that directly address the needs of sites of all sizes doing different kinds of history work. And for that, we need your valuable knowledge gained from hands-on experience in the field, working with visitors and artifacts.
Anyone can write for AASLH. Members, nonmembers, directors, docents, curators, volunteers, retirees, and students all have knowledge to share with the field. Potential authors benefit from the mentorship of our editorial board as they research and write their book, and we especially encourage submissions from first-time and BIPOC authors. The whole process usually takes 12-18 months, and starts with a conversation with the Managing Editor or the submission of an abstract. From there, we can determine if your idea is a fit for our book series and what steps to take next.
Let us know what kind of books you would use in your work, and if you have knowledge to share. Your contribution can benefit colleagues around the country and we look forward to hearing from you.
Where to Purchase
AASLH books are sold on our publisher’s website and on Amazon.com. AASLH members receive 20% off at Rowman.com with their membership discount code.