Category Archives: Public History

Historia Nostra & Off-Campus History visit the Diefenbunker

By Louis Reed-Wood and Erin Isaac In October 2021, three former University of Saskatchewan history nerds met up in Ottawa, Ontario to answer the call of destiny (or something like it…). We’d come to the outskirts of Ottawa to sleuth around the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum — a museum we three (Hannah Cooley, Louis Reed-Wood, and Erin Isaac, now… Read more »

Historia Nostra: Myth, Memory, and Misconception at the Plains of Abraham

By Erin Isaac The Battle on the Plains of Abraham, on 13 September 1759, is heavily commemorated on Québec’s physical landscape. From the streets, buildings, and shops named for the French and British military men who fought that day, to the monuments that dot the city’s historic neighbourhoods, and commemorative panels or plaques at the Plains of Abraham, it’s hard… Read more »

Inequality: Only for Academics? A Self-Publishing Saga

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Eric W. Sager I have always believed in the mission of public history. I have given public talks, written op-eds, and published books and articles intended for non-academic readers. I have even won awards for “public dissemination.” Although I have had some successes, I have also met with failures. Recently, failure is winning. How could this be? Have I lost… Read more »

Who Counts? The Data We Use to Prove the Points We Make

by Carly Ciufo Although I doubt the book will make it into my dissertation, the comps text that’s unexpectedly stayed with me is Bruce Curtis’ The Politics of Population: State Formation, Statistics, and the Census of Canada, 1840-1875. With my last post, I talked about the local positionality of national museums. I cited some studies of surveyed data around museums… Read more »

Food First, Then Archives: Precarity and Community Memory

This post by Lilian Radovac and Simon Vickers is part of the “(In)Security in the Time of COVID-19” series. Read the rest of the series here. Alternative Toronto is a DIY digital archive and exhibition space that documents the history of alternative communities in the Greater Toronto Area from 1980 to 1999. As archive director and volunteer coordinator for Alternative… Read more »

The Local Spaces of National Museums

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by Carly Ciufo Thomas is right: Community is a tricky concept. I want to talk about finding community at the national level. It’s neither quite as small as a family unit nor as large as some broader cosmopolitan imagining of shared humanity, but it is nevertheless a crucial element of museum building in the twenty-first century. Community is an especially… Read more »

Community, Family, & the Hidden History of Southwestern Ontario

It is this gap, between official imaginings of community, and how the past informs the communities in which we actually live, that the Hidden Histories of Southwestern Ontario project seeks to bridge.

Historia Nostra: Getting Living History Right at Plimoth Patuxet OR Plimoth Patuxet vs. Jamestown Settlement, a comparison

This post is part of a monthly series introducing new videos in Erin Isaac’s Historia Nostra public history project. Of all the living history museums in the United States, Jamestown Settlement in Virginia and Plimoth Patuxet in Massachusetts are arguably the most famous. Understandably, these museums are very frequently compared. Both were built in the 1970s. Both recreate early Anglo-American colonial… Read more »

Introducing Historia Nostra: Episode 1

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How is history taught at heritage sites and museums in North America? What can the history of museums and heritage sites tell us about how they operate today? And how do other resources, like historically-based films, allow us to access history at home? These are all questions explored on Historia Nostra, a new YouTube channel about North American history. Historia… Read more »

Listening to the Voices from the Past: An invitation for a private, nuanced, remote Remembrance Day

By Samantha Cutrara What do we mark for remembrance and how do we understand service to this country? These questions may seem straightforward on a day like Remembrance Day, but this day can also invite us to critically examine the concepts of commemoration and service, and provide nuance to the stories of military glory and heroics often featured on this… Read more »