history ideas pragmatic historian thought fodder

Now & Then: A Useful History Podcast

One of the most important uses of history is to use it to work ourselves out of predicaments we are facing RIGHT NOW. It’s easy to assume that because history is about what happened in the past, we can set it aside. That it has nothing to say to us now because conditions were different in the past. Except that humanity seems to cycle through the same sorts of challenges even when presented with what…

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museums pragmatic historian

Wealth Disparity in the Museum World

Recently, the museum Twitter community was abuzz with a report from the trade union AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), specifically from AFSCME Cultural Workers United. The report, called “Cultural Institutions Cashed In, Workers Got Sold Out,” presents information on the cultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, including museums of all types, historical sites, zoos, and botanical gardens. It explains how the pandemic hit the sector in terms of closures and the…

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observations pragmatic historian preservation tips

The Places We Rarely Clean

We have needed a new kitchen faucet for a few years now. We got some fancy-dancy spray faucet the last time and eventually lost water pressure because the aerator was blocked. We tried cleaning it with vinegar and were unsuccessful. We also attempted to remove the aerator so we could replace it without replacing the entire faucet. We didn’t want to have to throw the faucet in a landfill. Unfortunately, the aerator was not removable…

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history museums pragmatic historian preservation

The Museum of Loaned Artifacts – For Reals!

After publishing last week’s post about a thought experiment regarding setting up a history museum that has no collection but uses short-term loans, I got some feedback on LinkedIn. David Grabitske (yes, him again!) said he knew of someone who was part of such a museum. The museum of loaned artifacts – for reals! –  is the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. Tom Wancho, exhibit planner for the museum, said in our…

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ideas museums pragmatic historian preservation

The Museum of Loaned Artifacts

Chatter from Museum Colleagues Last week’s post about what to do with three handmade baptism gowns stirred some chatter from museum colleagues on social media, particularly LinkedIn. One colleague is trying to figure out what to do with his letterman’s jacket, which he said he would not accept for his own museum’s collection. Another wondered whether the sacrament of baptism will continue. And another, David Grabitske, who has written for my blog in the past,…

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