Friday, March 27, 2009

Ready to go?

A Po-Boy Dressed, with a Side of Local History: Documenting local history in post-Katrina New Orleans. (poster session)

Have you proofread it? Yes? Well proof it again, twenty more times. Getting ready for the poster session has been a hectic adventure. Trying to figure out the best way to present history to the public is what we do-- and it is often difficult. But with the poster session, we are trying to find the best way to present public history to scholars. Do we emphasize local history, or do we present more on digitization? What is the most alluring?

I'm trapped in a maze of file formatting, on-line downloads, and e-mail attachments. When everything is digital it allows for more attractive options, but it can sure make things more complicated. I'm wondering now if we should have just gone with construction paper and a glue stick. I've done my fair share of social studies fair projects, and I'm certain I haven't lost my skills with a hot glue gun and markers.

However we do it, we really are looking forward to sharing our experiences, excitement, and challenges with everyone at the conference. Using festival to explore local history is fun, and broadens public exposure to public history. At festival, we are allowed to be silly, campy, and maybe even weird. We can reach many people who may not step foot in a museum-- but will attend every festival in the city. In creating this poster, it has been a challenge to capture the undiluted essence of New Orleans, and translate our experiences so anyone, in any city, can become part of a local history festival. I sincerely hope we meet our goal.

I consider public historians to be artists of history, and I look forward to meeting fellow creatives!

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