Fall 2017 Student Blog: Sandy Island

This is the sixth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Jay Buckley about Sandy Island, SC and preservation. 

By Jay Buckley The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University works on projects on a regional level that are led by students. While not all of their projects are focused solely in South Carolina, they are all developed, designed, and published out of CCU. The projects that are based in South Carolina have a mission […]

via Sandy Island — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Allegheny Passage

This is the fifth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Nate Pearson about the history along the Allegheny Passage. 

By Nate Pearson The Great Allegheny Passage is a tremendous system of bike trails linking the cities of Pittsburgh and the Washington DC region. The trails currently span over 150 miles and have earned the nickname “Rails to Trails” due to the fact that they quite literally sit on the old railway lines that fueled […]

via History on the Great Allegheny Passage — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Hamilton

This is the fourth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Alex Larson about the smash Broadway hit, Hamilton. 

By Alex Larson There is so much that can be said about the Broadway show that is, “Hamilton”. It is a combination between Public History and Hip Hop in a sense, however, it is also much more… it is a story. A story that helped shape the future of the United States. I myself have […]

via Hamilton Review — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Museum Management

This is the third in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Morgan Condrey about the organizational structure of museums.

By Morgan Condrey When you walk into a museum or historic house you always note the cleanliness as well how everything is in a specific order or place. Both are known for their attention to detail in regards to both the exhibits as well as the official structure of the operations. So what keeps […]

via The Structure & Organization of Museums and Historic Houses — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blogs: REARC

This is the second in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Tori Peck about the student trip to REARC in Williamsburg. 

By Tori Peck Earlier this month I attended the academic conference called REARC at Colonial Williamsburg, VA. It was about Reconstructive and experimental archaeology. It was a two day conference consisting of two parts. Friday was the formal lecture day where presenters gave presentations on the work they have been doing in the experimental/reconstructive archeological […]

via REARC Conference — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: HIST395

This is the first in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

First up, Daniel Cochran’s, “ONE STUDENT’S THOUGHTS ON 395.”

By Daniel Cochran I signed up for this class having no real clue what was to be taught from the description, but I needed another 300+ (at least, though I’ve been try’n to take only 400+ to finish out my history degree at Coastal) level class to finish out the final requirements before the Capstone […]

via One Student’s Thoughts on 395 — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017: Intro to Public History in Review

I’ll get back to Scotland and Ireland very soon, especially because I had a lot of great encounters with bodies, death, and exhibits in the last half of the trip, but I want to take a moment to reflect on my Fall 2017 Intro to Public History class.

Students at the Horry County Museum, Fall 2017

This was my third time teaching this course at Coastal Carolina, and I, for one, had a blast this time around. The class was often engaged in discussion and debate, even if that meant sometimes we got a little off the scheduled topic. We went to museums, exhibits, historic districts, an archive, and more. We had guest speakers on almost every topic we covered. We discussed everything from the ownership of history and objects, legislation in regard to history, museums and exhibits, interpretation, oral histories… the list goes on.

The students described the class on their website as:

Our course deals with discussions and readings that surround public history and all that it entails, this may include defining public history, understanding different legislation that has been passed to promote the preservation of different historic landmarks in addition to visiting museums and national parks and hosting guest lectures across the state of South Carolina to inform students of certain opportunities that are available if one would like to venture further into professions that surround public history. Public history can be viewed anywhere outside of academia such as museums, national parks, and monuments. Our class also consists of wide variety of individuals, who were put into this class to express their views on history and to gain a better understanding of what public history is.

In reading student reflections on the semester, the most impactful aspect of the course seems to have been our engagement with Reacting to the Past pedagogy. I’ve been familiar with RttP, but right before the semester began CCU hosted a training workshop in which we played the Greenwich Village 1914 game. I wanted to try out a game in my class, and with all our discussion on patrimony, preservation, conservation, etc, the Bomb the Church game seemed to be our best bet.

Students Reacting to the Past

Many of my students were Reacting veterans, and already knew the drill.  The great thing about the Bomb the Church microgame is that there is no required foreknowledge of the topic and no real preparation; it just throws students in their roles and they carry it along. The students were engaged in debate and persuasive speaking, and we all had a blast.

I plan to detail the second game (and Reacting in general) in another post, because it is one that I wrote especially for this and future classes. Considering it was a new game being play tested, again, I think it was a huge success, with special thanks to my colleagues Shari Orisich and Carolyn Dillian. Keep checking back for more on that game…
Another aspect of the HIST395 course this year was a class website and blog. Dr. Robert Connolly instilled in me the importance of a web presence when students are looking for jobs or even just when they are being Googled in the professional world. The class website includes information about the class, students, guest speakers, and each student was required to write at least one blog related to public history. The website is: www.publichistory52.wordpress.com – check it out!

In the coming weeks, I plan to share blogs from their website, so be on the lookout for that.

Thanks for a great semester, HIST395 Fall 2017 public historians!!

Highlands and History Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

After the great vacation injury of 2016, I was convinced we had to return to the Highlands of Scotland to finish the Great Glen Way.  We had some great adventures in Edinburgh at various museums and cemeteries, and then it was time to get on the train to the north.

IMG_20170515_132244868_HDR-01.jpgWe started the Great Glen Way in Fort Augustus this time, about halfway through the walk. Last year, the section between Fort Augustus and Invermoriston was our favorite, so I was happy to start the trail with some of the best views in the Highlands. Fort Augustus is home to the mouth of Loch Ness, a fascinating set of locks in the Caledonian Canal, and some great pub food. Up, up, up from Fort Augustus, we set out for Invermoriston, my favorite town in the Highlands. Views of Loch Ness and the surrounding hills were just as lovely this time.

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Avoiding Injury

Into Invermoriston, Charles managed to avoid injury and I was a nervous wreck our whole time exploring the trails and paths around town. We made it down to the shores of Loch Ness after seeing it from up high all day. A wonderful dinner at the Glenmoriston Arms closed out our first day back on the trail.

IMG_20170516_123922534_HDR-01.jpgThe following day we started a new (to us) section of the trail and headed towards Drumandrochit. What a day of hiking. We did some of the steepest sections of the trail, reached the highest point of the GGW, traveled through dense forest, trekked across a bleak moor, and finally made it into town. I believe my fitbit counted around 16 miles in this day and the most steps I’ve ever done in a single day (over 40,000). It was worth it! In Drum, we ate more great food, walked along some nice bluebell paths down to the river, and enjoyed the Fiddler’s Restaurant .

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Attempting a trip through the stones

Our GGW booking with Macs Adventure included a transfer for the last section of the trail, which is over 20 miles. We were taken to the top of the hills between Drum and Inverness, and we walked down the hills towards town. What a relief! The people going towards Inverness spent their day walking uphill while we went down the hill happily past them. After the previous grueling day, this hardly felt like cheating.

Our last day on the trail saw us back in the cab to head back down the hill towards Inverness. This was another easy day of walking mainly downhill towards the capital of the Highlands. We passed an old asylum being turned into apartments, a set of standing stones, and the last of the River Ness before it empties into the sea. We wandered Inverness, checked into our lovely hotel along the river, and rested up so we could be ready for an early flight back to Ireland the next morning.

We did it! We finished the Great Glen Way! It only took us 2 years. Next up: West Highland Way, England’s Lake District, Japan’s Kumano Kodo,  Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Speyside Whiskey Trail… and plenty to do in the US as well.

 

 

Egypt in Edinburgh

I was so, so, so excited to visit Edinburgh while the new The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial exhibit was on. Egypt, mummies, museum, and death customs; what’s not to love?

IMG_20170513_141345816.jpgAt the time of writing this, the exhibit has closed, but luckily the National Museums of Scotland have an excellent web presence, with information, interactive, videos, and even games and learning materials.

The exhibit is described on their website as such:

The Tomb was constructed in the great city of Thebes shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun for the Chief of Police and his wife. It was looted and reused several times, leaving behind a collection of beautiful objects from various eras. These are displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time.

The Tomb’s final use occurred shortly after the Roman conquest of Egypt, when it was sealed intact with the remarkable burials of an entire family. The exhibition comes ahead of the new Ancient Egypt gallery, opening at the National Museum of Scotland in 2018/19.

Interactives in use!

When I visited in May 2017, the gallery was a bit crowded, especially with children.  This limited my ability to try out the interactive elements of the exhibits (get off my lawn – adults like play, too), but it was nice to see kids excited about history.

Like Jameson Distillery, the exhibit used multi-sensory engagement and technologies so visitors can learn more and connect with the past.

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Touch, see, and smell table

I also really liked the exhibit text and content, which isn’t praise I give out lightly. I’m generally easily bored or uninterested in text, but the detail and translation of ancient funerary texts was fascinating! They also include a youtube video explaining the text on their website:

Next time I visit the museum, hopefully the new Egypt gallery will be open.  I can’t wait!

Auld Reekie: Murder, Cemeteries, & Plague… again.

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View of the Royal Mile from our AirBnB Flat

The death theme continued once we got to Scotland, which was perfect for kicking off my new research agenda.

We arrived in Auld Reekie, known as Edinburgh in the modern age, and checked in to our 17th Century AirBnB rental off the Royal Mile. Once we got settled in, I read in the guestbook about the history of this close and the courtyard behind our flat.

Tweedale Court, it turns out, is the site of one of the most notorious and infamous murders in Edinburgh’s history (and there have been a LOT of murders there). The close was home to the British Linen bank, and according the the stories, “on the evening of 13th November a girl went out to a well to get the evening’s water. On her way stumbled across something lying in the entrance to the court. It was the body of bank messenger William Begbie, lying in a pool of blood and with a knife stuck in his chest. Earlier that evening he had set out to deliver a package of £4,000 in banknotes to a branch in Leith. Despite a major search for the culprit no one was ever arrested for the crime, although months later most of the money was discovered hidden in an old wall, roughly where Drummond Place is today.”

Dun dun dun! We never saw anything spooky in our time in the close, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the beautiful flat if you’re ever in Edinburgh! Just be aware of the spiral staircase to the top of the building…

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Greyfriar’s Kirkyard

While in Edinburgh, we had to visit a few of our favorite spots: Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and the Frankenstein Pub (in an adaptive reuse church, of course!) nearby! After the last Scotland trip, while listening to the Lore podcast (seriously listen to this if you love spooky and history), we learned all kinds of folklore about the Greyfriar’s cemetery, so we had to revisit it. I love a good cemetery, and Greyfriar’s is one of the best. Supposedly, it’s one of the most haunted in the world, with “Body snatchers, violent ghosts, a loyal dog, and Harry Potter characters.” Don’t forget all the plague bodies, too.

 

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In front of the Mackenzie Mausoleum

One of the best stories about Greyfriar’s was told in the Lore podcast mentioned above. According to the tales, the Mackenzie tomb is the most haunted. The “Bluidy Mackenzie,” a real jerk while alive, is supposedly still seen wandering near his mausoleum, knocking people over, making them faint, and generally wreaking havoc. Things get really gruesome in 1998, when (supposedly, apocryphally, i.e.: I can’t find many sources on this) a homeless man broke into the mausoleum seeking shelter from the elements. As he sheltered from the storm, the floor beneath him gave way, dumping him into a plague pit below of the mausoleum. Regardless of the truth of this tale, we still had to see the famous tomb. It was gorgeous, and we did not suffer any ill effects.

Oh and the beautiful, sloping landscape in the cemetery? It’s not a natural slope. It’s the thousands of bodies (possibly up to half a million) underfoot, buried on top of each other than create the terrain.

Later in the day, we ventured to see some corpses that were even older – Egyptian mummies at the National Museum….