Evolution of History Relevance
History Relevance is an evolving effort. It began informally in late 2012 with a series of conversations about why history - both knowledge about the past and the practice of researching and interpreting the past - was marginalized in our country. Children are not expected to learn it in schools, community leaders rarely look to it to inform today's decisions, and national leaders select and distort facts to support their positions. Sure, some people visit historic sites and history museums; and many more watch history-based movies. For them, engagement in history seems to be an occasional pleasant pastime, not something especially relevant to their lives. In contrast, those who are active in the practice of history - whether as professionals or amateurs - believe that history is central to their lives, and that it ought to play a greater role in the lives of our communities and nation.
Early organizers of the conversations included John Durel, Tim Grove, Kent Whitworth, Kim Fortney, and Conny Graft. Over time others began to play an active role, including John Dichtl, Jan Gallimore, Lynne Ireland, Terry Davis, Max van Balgooy, and Bob Beatty. The majority of these individuals now form the steering committee for HRC.
In early 2013 we started to broaden the conversation by holding impromptu sessions at various meetings, asking others their thoughts.We had gatherings at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) advocacy day in February; the National Council on Public History (NCPH) conference in Ottawa in March; the AAM meeting in Baltimore in May; National History Day in June; the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) meeting in Birmingham in September; the American Historical Association (AHA) meeting in DC in January, 2014; the NCPH meeting in March, 2014; the AASLH meeting in September, 2014; the State Historical Administrators meeting in December; and AAM advocacy day in DC, February 2015-2017.
We continue to give presentations and lead conversations at conferences and other professional venues and are happy to consider requests.