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, June 03, 2022

History Camp 2022 (and a History Slam)

History Camp Boston is coming back to Suffolk University after two pandemic years of online substitutes!

The 2022 gathering is scheduled for Saturday, 13 August, starting with a light breakfast before 9:00 A.M. and ending with a trivia competition in the evening. Here’s the growing lineup of presentations planned for the full hours in between.

Note that there are separate registrations for the event, for the T-shirt, for the lunch, for a fund-raising reception on Friday, for the trivia, and for tours on Sunday.

I’m prepping for two Saturday sessions this year: a workshop about online tools and resources useful for digging into historical stories and, if necessary, debunking them; and a panel discussion on presenting history beyond the printed page.

I’ve participated in every History Camp Boston and am even on the board of the non-profit that sponsors the event, The Pursuit of History. So obviously I’m a fan. But I can heartily recommend this event to other fans of history.

Though academic and professional public historians do participate in History Camps, the core of the presenters and attendees are amateurs, drawn by their pure interest in learning and in sharing what they’ve learned. The result is like a fan convention for historical research. It’s not only a fun way to learn, but also a fun way to connect with like-minded people.

If that’s too long to wait for an unconventional history convention, Revolutionary Spaces has announced its “first-ever History Slam” on Sunday, 12 June. The organization promises “a night full of raucous history presentations (we dare you!), music, drinks, and snacks… and a little friendly competition!” And it asks:
Are you a historian or student of history (or just like talking about history, ‘cause that is totally cool, too)? Sign up to rock it out onstage! (Plus a small stipend for slammers!)

We challenge our historians to up their game for the prize of an adoring crowd and bottle of a fine, fine nightcap. The gauntlet: a bombastic, five minute talk with ten slides, showcasing an American Changemaker under the age of 30. The audience will exercise their civic responsibility and vote for their favorite historian or hero.

Of course, it’s not a real party without somebody playing a guitar (“Anyway, here’s ‘The Liberty Song'”), so come for the history and stay for the music. Beer (provided by Dorchester Brewing Company), soda, and excellent snacks will also be available. When else do you get to party in an 18th century meeting house?
That meeting house is Old South, where the action will begin at 7:00 P.M.

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