Last week our family spent several days in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania, taking the kids to historic sites ranging from the Air & Space Museum to the Gettysburg battlefield. Indeed, one of my favorite things about this fall’s sabbatical is that it lets us continue the historical exploration that we did much of the summer back in Minnesota. … More 6 Things I’ve Learned about Teaching History to 6-Year Olds
Last weekend I took my five-year old children to visit the Twin City Model Railroad Museum in St. Paul, MN. The museum itself has tiny trains endlessly circling an enormous layout of the Twin Cities, set in some vaguely defined (mid-20th century) past. On the walls and in a separate room there are posters, magazines, timetables, and … More Americans Love the Past, Not History
3/11/15 – Episode six of Past & Presence took us to the Minnesota History Center, where we met people who work in everything from exhibit design and textile conservation to fundraising and internship coordination. Plus advice for students on oral presentations and working in groups, an interview with an alum teaching middle school social studies, and an introduction to pre-law at Bethel.
Part two of my recap of the 2014 Conference on Faith and History meetings, held last week at Pepperdine University. Part one covered sessions from Friday morning on teaching and public memory. Friday afternoon plenary: “Heritage Religion and the Mormons” Having arrived too late on Thursday night to attend Allen Guelzo’s conference-opening address in the … More CFH 2014: Heritage Religion and Social Media
Summer break is rapidly coming to an end, with our faculty retreat taking place next Tuesday and Wednesday and students starting to move in the rest of the week. But before summer disappears completely, I thought I’d share an update on one of my projects: I’ve mentioned before that this academic year I’ll be teaching our … More Update on Our Intro to History Webisodes
Over lunch a couple weeks ago, a friend filled a pause in conversation this way: “So, World War I… What should I know?” We had been talking about the centenary of the war, and how it might be commemorated here in Minnesota. I think he had a growing sense of the war’s importance — but also of … More Learning about World War I: How to Get Started
Yesterday afternoon I was thrilled to hear from several of my colleagues at Bethel University as they shared some innovations in teaching at our annual “West by Midwest” festival. You can see all of my tweets from that two-hour event at the bottom of this post — they include links to some of the innovations mentioned. … More Introducing Our New Introduction to History Course
Congratulations to The History Center: Archives of the Baptist General Conference and Bethel University — named the 2014 recipient of the Davis C. Woolley Award for Outstanding Achievement in Assessing and Preserving Baptist History. This puts our archives in very good company, as last year’s winner was the special collections and archives department of the Z. … More Congratulations to the Archives of the BGC and Bethel University!
Generally speaking, academic historians and public historians approach the past from two different vantage points. For historians, a productive career has traditionally revolved around producing monographs and engaging with other professional historians on the fine points of interpretation, theory, and effective arguments. Public historians, on the other hand, do their work with a different audience … More Historical Schizophrenia: Academic and Public History
I’ve sometimes dreamed of having a holodeck-like classroom in which the walls were massive screens that could be changed to make it seem like we were suddenly sitting in the middle of the same physical environment we were discussing. To teach the French Revolution while sitting in the middle of Paris’ Place de la Concorde, … More What Did History Smell Like?