J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

“Advise and Dissent” Panel in Boston, 23 Oct.

On Monday, 23 October, the Massachusetts Historical Society will host a panel discussion on the topic “Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life.”

The society asks:
What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of “alternative facts” and a social fabric that is being torn apart by political and class divides?

Many historians and public historical organizations are changing the way they work, offering their talents and skills as advocates and healers. Yet, they face a complex public. Some audience members embrace the opportunity to engage in dialogue over difficult issues. Others seek a more entertaining, escapist experience. Still others are alert to activities that appear to overstep the traditional role of museums or to signal that their own perspectives might be unwelcome. Some visitors yearn for the inclusion of minority viewpoints but consider museums too inherently biased to present these narratives.

It is all a challenging prospect for organizations that are seeking to be truly inclusive and build broad public support. Join us for a compelling conversation.
The panelists will be:
  • Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston
  • Brian W. J. LeMay, consultant specializing in museum projects and operations, former head of the Bostonian Society
  • Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past
  • Katheryn P. Viens, director of research at the Massachusetts Historical Society and moderator of this discussion
There is a $10 registration fee for this discussion, but it’s waived for all “Historical Colleagues” working or studying in the field.

The event begins at 5:30 P.M. with a reception. The discussion is scheduled to last from 6:00 to 7:30.

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