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Art and Public History

Approaches, Opportunities, and Challenges

Edited by Rebecca Bush and K. Tawny Paul

Art and Public History: Approaches, Opportunities, and Challenges examines the relationship between art and public history, outlining opportunities, challenges, and insights drawn from recent initiatives. With a special eye towards audience engagement and challenging historical narratives, all of the case studies and projects combine historical interpretation with contemporary and historical forms of visual art in unique and insightful ways. In addition to emphasizing the kind of practical advice found in the best case studies, this volume also offers a critical discussion of the concepts, tools, skills and technologies that contribute to fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration. These issues are addressed through sections on projects related to historical artworks; contemporary art and artists; and public art and the built environment.

It addresses how public historians can incorporate art into their practice by outlining opportunities, challenges, and insights drawn from recent projects in the United States and Britain. These projects have taken place across a variety of platforms, including local and national history museums; art galleries; digital archives; classrooms; historical markers; and public art projects. The case studies incorporate the perspectives of different stakeholders, including public historians, artists, and audiences.

The book will provide both public history practitioners and academics with useful guidance on how art can be integrated into public history initiatives, through critical discussion of tools, strategies, and technologies that contribute to fruitful collaboration and audience engagement across a variety of platforms. Readers will walk away with new ideas, strategies, and practical considerations for interdisciplinary projects to attract audiences in new ways.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / AASLH
Pages: 272Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-6843-2 • Hardback • May 2017 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-4422-6844-9 • Paperback • May 2017 • $40.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-6845-6 • eBook • May 2017 • $39.99 • (£24.95) (coming soon)
Rebecca Bush is Curator of History/Exhibitions Manager at the Columbus Museum in Georgia. Her professional interests include local history in all its variations, especially in rural communities, and multiple-perspective interpretation. She often focuses her research on social history of the American South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rebecca earned a BA in History from Kansas State University and a MA in Public History from the University of South Carolina.

Tawny Paul is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Exeter (UK). Her work combines academic and public history. Alongside research in eighteenth-century British social history, she has an interest in contemporary uses of the past and in how academic histories can be presented to wider audiences, and has worked professionally as an interpretive planner. Tawny earned her BA in History from Vassar College and holds a PhD in Social History from the University of Edinburgh.
List of Illustrations
Bob Beatty
Rebecca Bush and Tawny Paul
1. Visual Art and the American Experience: Creating an Art Gallery in a History and Culture Museum
Tuliza Fleming
2. Citizenship and Caricature: Teaching the American Past with Images
Jennifer M. Black
3. Investigating the Past through Art: Opportunities for Museum Education
Megan Clark and Heidi Moisan
4. “The art museum does history?”: Building Connections and Relevancy within Multidisciplinary Museums
Rebecca Bush
5. Coming Face-to-Face with the Past: Exploring Scottish History and National Identity through Portraiture
Tawny Paul
6. Framing the Collaborative Process
Teresa Bramlette Reeves, Julia Brock, and Kirstie Tepper
7. A Call for Proactive Public Historians
Nancy Dallett
8. Savannah's Hidden Histories: Using Art and Historical Markers to Explore Local History
Holly Goldstein and Christy Crisp
9. Travelers, Tale-telling, Truth, and Time
Rebecca Keller
Rebecca Bush and Tawny Paul
About the Contributors
It is high time this book came out. Contained herein are a group of wonderfully disparate, lively essays about the intertwining of art and public history that inspire and provoke. This book will be a pleasure for aficionados of art and history museums, and a must read for any professional serious about complicating and refreshing the definition of public history.
Deborah Schwartz, President, Brooklyn Historical Society

Art and Public History is an essential contribution that explores the integration of the two disciplines. Based in a diverse set of case studies, the contributors present practical applications that include K-12 educational curricula, professional collaboration in museums, and public outreach. The volume is an excellent “how to” resource for engaging audiences, challenging histories, and making meaning in both public history and fine arts contexts.
Robert Connolly, professor, Louisiana State University

Art and Public History provides a creative playground with which to brainstorm ideas for creating collaborations between artists and historians. The authors make a compelling case for the power of such collaborations to bring the stories of under-represented communities to life. Case studies chronicle an impressive range of efforts, creating both professional guidance and a jumping-off point for envisioning new endeavors
Susan Ferentinos Ph.D, Public History Researcher, Writer, and Consultant and Author, Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites