History Relevance Campaign Meets at the Smithsonian

The History Relevance Campaign, a three-year old effort in the history field to raise the profile of history in American society, joined forces with the Smithsonian Institution on May 24 for a day-long meeting titled History Relevance: Sparking a National Conversation. Hosted by the National Museum of American History, the meeting included representatives from across the history spectrum including the National Archives and Records Administration, National Park Service, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Council for Public History, National History Day, American Alliance of Museums, the National Coalition for History and a few state history organizations.

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The History Relevance Campaign

A few years ago I was drawn into conversations with a group of near strangers about why history seemed to be marginalized in this country. From what gets taught in schools, to what gets funding, to what informs policy and business decisions, we wondered if we could brand history in the successful way that Science Technology Engineering and Math are shorthanded as “STEM.” Our group of volunteers began to meet monthly, while making presentations and holding town hall discussions at several national conferences. We began calling the effort the History Relevance Campaign (HRC). Obviously, other people and organizations over many decades had articulated why history matters, and we were aware of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2013 The Heart of the Matter report advocating for the humanities. But we aimed for something simple and universally applicable.

Read the full story in Connecticut Humanities here.