Category Archives: Doing History

Graphic Environmentalism: An Interview with Comic Writer-Artist Steph Hill

Previous Active History posts (see here, here, and here) have examined the use of comics in telling – and interpreting – stories about the past. In this post, Ryan O’Connor (RO) interviews Steph Hill (SH), the writer-artist behind A Brief, Accurate Graphic History of the Environmental Movement (Mostly in Canada). RO: This is a really interesting project. What is it that… Read more »

Consider the Comments: Why Online Comments are Important for Public Historians

By Kaitlin Wainwright There are a few adages that go with comments on the Internet. Among them: “if you don’t have the energy to read something, you shouldn’t have the hubris to comment on it” and, simply put, “never read the comments.” It’s rare that comments and forums on the Internet are seen as something positive. Ian Milligan has written… Read more »

Feeling the City: Getting at the Historical Sights and Sounds of Downtown

Like most of us humans—80% in Canada, more than 50% worldwide—my home is in the city. And like so many urbanites, I take a whole range of day-to-day sensations for granted. The screech of garbage trucks, the overheard conversations on public transit; the smells of street food and exhaust; the sight of thousands of other people going about their lives…. Read more »

Podcast – Canadian Archives at Risk?

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http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Canadian-Archives-At-Risk.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download On May 26th, a panel discussed recent developments in the archives world in Canada and the challenges archives face today. The panel was part of the Canadian Historical Association’s annual meeting in St. Catharines, Ontario. Moderated by Erika Dyck (University of Saskatchewan), the panel featured Nicole Neatby (CHA Liaison – Archives), Peter Baskerville (Chair… Read more »

How Cuban Music Made Me a Better Historian

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By Karen Dubinsky “If you want to learn anything about the history of this country, you have to start listening to Carlos Varela.” This advice, offered by a colleague who was helping me make my way through a Cuban film archive a decade ago, proved remarkably true. I arrived in Havana in 2004 to research child migration conflicts. But what… Read more »

A Healthy Custom

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By Andrew Nurse “What Use is History?” This is the question asked by a 1958 article in The Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letter. I will confess that I have no particular soft spot for the Royal Bank (even though, I suppose, it technically owns the house in which I live), but I was intrigued that a bank’s newsletter addressed… Read more »

Introducing The Home Archivist

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By Jessica Dunkin This is the first in a series of posts called The Home Archivist, in which a professional historian discusses her experiences with a private collection of 19th-century letters. In the two years leading up to their wedding on June 29th, 1891, Amelia Wilkinson and John MacKendrick exchanged letters almost daily. Unlike most collections of courting letters, this… Read more »

Over the Top: The Archives of Ontario’s WWI Onsite Exhibit

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By Timothy Humphries Before 2009, the Archives of Ontario had been housed in five different locations. Remarkably, not one of them provided an exhibit space. This became a must-have when a sixth location was sought in 2006. Now onsite exhibits can be created regularly to showcase the Archives’ many rich and varied collections. This requires investing significant amounts of time… Read more »

Digital Approaches to 19th Century Globalization

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By Jim Clifford The map below drew a lot of attention on Twitter when I posted it a few weeks ago in advance of a presentation I gave at an environmental history conference in early July. It was retweeted, not just by friends and fellow environmental historians, but also by Shawn Donnan, a World Trade Editor at the Financial Times. I… Read more »

Marking WWI with a Travelling Exhibit

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By Timothy Humphries As the official guardian of Ontario’s historical record, the Archives of Ontario is keenly aware that it must offer the public easy access to its vast and diverse holdings, and provide widespread opportunities to know more about our province’s rich and storied past. To this end, the Archives has long sought partnerships with museums, libraries, art and… Read more »