Resources for Interpreting Slavery

The enslavement of Africans in the Western Hemisphere was the most brutal form of slavery known to mankind. It dehumanized victims; it classified them as less than human beings. The victims had no claim to their families, their culture tradition or humanity. They were considered chattel property. Basically, they had "no rights that whites were… Continue reading Resources for Interpreting Slavery

Who Knew? Finding Multicultural Stories in Your Own Attic

Excerpt of an article written in 2006 by Martha B. Katz-Hyman, Independent Scholar ALHFAM members can access the full text of this article and thousands more though the A.S.K. database. Not a member? Join today! For many historic sites and living history museums, making collections more relevant to cultures and peoples not usually associated with… Continue reading Who Knew? Finding Multicultural Stories in Your Own Attic

Farmer Tom…Forgotten?

by Jessica Michonski  Monticello Gardens,  photo by the author To visit the home of a historical figure is always an experience to be partaken…especially for a historian. In July 2019, I had the privilege to visit Monticello – Jefferson’s estate in the mountains of Virginia – while on vacation with my family. I was enthralled… Continue reading Farmer Tom…Forgotten?

Promoting ALHFAM “in the Field”

I realize the title of this blog could confuse. It is quite logical, given our organization's mission, that I might literally be referring to promoting ALHFAM in a field. However, in this case I'm speaking of the larger "museum field" at the American Association for State and Local History conference last week. Still bountiful but… Continue reading Promoting ALHFAM “in the Field”

Beginner’s Mind, Drinking It In

ALHFAM meetings are not just about old buildings, battle sites, “who did what to whom”, townball, plowing contests, and stuffing information into our heads and notebooks.

ALHFAM is about understanding one another.

Canned Programming for Museums: Healthy?

I recently read an article on the benefits of collections-based research. The author stated the following: "A canned program* performs a social function. It brings together members and visitors for an enjoyable experience, adds to attendance figures, and may promote repeat visitation. It is often educational, and at its best truly thought provoking. But its… Continue reading Canned Programming for Museums: Healthy?

Caps and Boats and Lead Coffins: The ALHFAM Mid-Atlantic Region Conference in Review (and Photos!)

"I knew by mid-morning on Friday (in the deluge) that this was going to be the Mid-Atlantic ALHFAM conference that all others will be measured against for the next ten years. Because everyone who attended is going to be talking about it for at least that long - maybe longer. And those who didn’t attend,… Continue reading Caps and Boats and Lead Coffins: The ALHFAM Mid-Atlantic Region Conference in Review (and Photos!)

Is there “ . . . awkwardness in the pretense of the pretend . . . ?”

“How many of us have cringed, if ever so slightly, when we encountered a costumed, overzealous re-enactor performing a historic narrative . . .” –The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums. Two weeks ago I shared some impressions on the book quoted above. In that blog I said, “Living history, with the exception of a… Continue reading Is there “ . . . awkwardness in the pretense of the pretend . . . ?”

Romanticizing the Past?

Last week I blogged about my ALHFAM plow match experience and how it allowed me to experience an "artifact" in a new and thought-provoking way. I believe these experiences help museum professionals interpret the past. The knowledge we gain when we try our hand at a historic skill, using appropriate tools, far surpasses anything we… Continue reading Romanticizing the Past?

Interpretation: The International Bibliographic Database of Living History

Recent discussion on ALHFAM-L (ALHFAM's email discussion list) about living history bibliographies led to one of our members from the Netherlands sharing this: Interpretation: The International Bibliographic Database of Living History. Even though the database is supported by ALHFAM and NAI (National Association for Interpretation) and affiliated with IMTAL (International Museum Theatre Alliance), it was… Continue reading Interpretation: The International Bibliographic Database of Living History