Friday, March 7, 2014
March is Women's History Month! Join us along with the Center for Women's and Gender Studies for two exciting events on March 25 and March 27:
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
It's Spring Break this week on campus, but when students return next week, they'll begin preparations for Summer and Fall 2014 course registration, which starts on March 24, 2014.
Take a look at the exciting courses we'll be offering in our programs for Summer and Fall 2014!
Undergraduate Art History
Summer 2014 (be sure to scroll down to Undergraduate History)
Summer 2014 (be sure to scroll down to Graduate History)
For our undergraduate students, please remember to meet with your departmental mentor prior to registration. Details can be found on our Intranet page via the Index in the upper right-hand corner of DORI (after you log in).
For our graduate students, please remember to meet with Dr. Michael Cahall, Director of Graduate Studies, prior to registration. Details can be found on our Intranet page via the Index in the upper right-hand corner of DORI (after you log in).
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Every once in a while, we like to feature one of our alums here on the blog. It's a great way to see what our former students are up to after they've left the hallowed halls of the Department of History. And, trust us, some of them are up to some pretty exciting stuff!
Meet today's guest blogger, Public History Program alum Josh Fox. Josh got his M.A. from us in 2009 and, after several odd jobs here and there, went on to become the Collections Manager at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum. See what he's up to!
|"Oh, Sugar!" exhibit opening: Exhibit Manager Megan, Collections Manager Josh Fox, Archivist Megan (last names withheld)|
A Busy Year at the Independence Seaport Museum
When I started my job as the Collections Manager of the Independence Seaport Museum last September I didn’t realize I’d be walking straight into a disaster, or, more specifically, the museum’s new exhibit, “Disasters on the Delaware: Rescues on the River,” which was set to open in only two weeks. I was right on time to dive into installing a major exhibit. “Disasters on the Delaware,” an exhibit with a three-year run, tells the story of 12 shipwrecks on the Delaware River ranging in date from 1774 up to 1978 and was only the first of 5 exhibits that have gone up in my first year at the Seaport Museum. All of these exhibits have kept our four person collections staff very busy.
The next exhibit, “URS: Digging the City,” went up as part of the museum’s new Community Gallery initiative. The concept of the Community Gallery is to present rotating exhibits featuring guest curators from the Philadelphia community working in partnership with the Independence Seaport Museum. The gallery helps give a voice to members of the community with ties to the river that otherwise might not be represented in the long term exhibits. URS is a local archeology company, and their exhibit featured artifacts excavated along the I-95 corridor, which cuts though Philadelphia’s waterfront. The Community Gallery rotates every 6 months. Working with the guest curators and groups allows for quick, small exhibits by placing a lot of the planning on those groups and not on the museum staff. However, it never quite seems like less work with the piles of loan and insurance paperwork as well as the two weeks needed to de-install one exhibit and install the new one.
Once the URS exhibit came down it was time for the next Community Gallery, “Tugboats: The Art of Dave Boone.” As the name implies, this exhibit featured the paintings of Dave Boone, a self taught Maritime painter and Tugboat enthusiast. Dave also worked for 28 years on the Delaware River as a tugboat dispatcher and, more importantly, has been a long-time volunteer at the museum.
“Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River,” a three-year exhibit opened on May 4, 2013. This exhibit tells the stories of African-Americans who lived and worked along the river from the colonial era to the present day. Tukufu Zuberi, a University of Pennsylvania Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and a host of PBS’s “History Detectives,” was brought in as a guest curator for this exhibit. When planning started for this exhibit it was assumed that we would have to get a number of loans for the exhibit because African-Americans haven’t been traditional represented by the museum. However, with a little digging it was discovered that there were indeed a number of artifacts in our collection that told more stories than we could use for the exhibit. Many of these discoveries could be attributed to some of the less than full descriptive catalog entries that exist in the catalog. Perhaps the most surprising and important find was that of “Wastebook B.” (A wastebook was a daily diary documenting transactions, meant to be discarded once it was recopied into a more formal ledger.) This book kept the daily transactions of an unknown Philadelphia merchant for the years 1763 and 1764. When the book was donated to the museum in 1971 the catalog entry mentioned that there were slave transactions recorded but the book was never deeply examined. In preparation for the exhibit if was found that “Wastebook B” recorded the sales of over 230 slaves coming in from 9 different ships in only a year’s time. The waste book proved to be an extremely valuable insight into the Philadelphia colonial era slave trade, and a firm reminder that slavery in America was not limited to the southern states. Selections from the book can be found on the museum’s website.
And finally, to round out my first year, we had another exhibit for the Community Gallery. “Oh Sugar! Philadelphia’s Sweet Story” was guest curated by the Berley Brothers, Ryan and Eric. The Berley Brothers operate the Franklin Fountain, an Ice Cream Parlor and Soda Fountain, and Shane Confectionary, a candy store. Both of these stores are styled from the early 20th century and specialize in traditional candy and treats. The brothers have put on display items from their large candy making collection. Many of these late 19th and early 20th century machines and molds are actively used in their candy store when they are not in the exhibit. This exhibit allows for a fun way to tie into Philadelphia’s history as a large importer of raw sugar and exporter of refined sugar. Shane Confectionary itself has quite the tie to Delaware River history. Billed as the oldest continuously operating candy store in America (1863), the store served generations of Ferry travelers as they walked past the store to the Market Street docks.
It has indeed been quite the busy year with exhibits. Now with a whole four months between the opening of “Oh Sugar!” and the start of the tear down of our next gallery, I should have a little down time. Who knows? I might even have time to work on some of my non-exhibit related tasks as Collections Manger.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
On Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the Fort Pitt Block House, join the History Press between 11a-1p for the book launch celebration of our alum Emily Weaver's new book, The Fort Pitt Block House. Light refreshments and book signings will be available.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
For directions and parking options, visit www.fortpittblockhouse.com
Please RSVP to email@example.com if you plan to attend.
For directions and parking options, visit www.fortpittblockhouse.com
Monday, October 28, 2013
Dr. Emily Fenichel to talk about Michelangelo's artistic engagement with Catholic liturgy & devotion 11/12
Join our very own Dr. Emily Fenichel, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, on November 11, 2013 as she focuses on Michelangelo's first major commission, the Pietà.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
White has authored several books on Pennsylvania folklore, including Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania, Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania and most recently, Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History and Lore.
Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public. Call 412.396.1342 for more information.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We are pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Alima Bucciantini to our full-time faculty here in the Department of History! Dr. Bucciantini comes to us from The University of Edinburgh in Scotland and teaches public history and social/economic history. We're thrilled to have her as a part of our department!
Now you can learn a little bit about Dr. Bucciantini as we feature her for our latest Faculty Spotlight series here on our blog!
|Dr. Alima Bucciantini|
1. Why did you decide to become an historian?
This was purely an accident. I was in Edinburgh doing a Masters in Nationalism Studies in the Sociology Department, when my Masters thesis advisor asked if I was interested in doing a PhD. My MA thesis was about the Scottish nationalist movement and the foundation of the Museum of Scotland. My advisor said it could be expanded into a PhD project - and if I was interested, the history department had some funding available. Those were the magic words, so he introduced me to his next door neighbor, who worked on things to do with 18th century portraits (which at least tend to hang in museums...), we hit it off, and I wrote a PhD proposal that expanded the historical aspects of my study of the museum, material culture and nationalism, got the funding, and the rest was (literally) history.
2. If you weren't a history professor, what would you be?
The most obvious answer is that I would be a museum curator. But I might also like to be a diplomat at the UN - my original plan before I fell into academia - or sometimes I dream of training to be a pastry chef or a concert cellist.
3. Tell us a little bit about your educational background. Why did you chose the particular institutions you went to?
I went to Mount Holyoke College because I liked the community feel of the college, and how welcoming everything was, as well as all the lovely towns around it. I was also drawn to the interdisciplinary majors and programs they offered. I've never really liked specializing in just one field, even in undergrad, and Mount Holyoke allowed me to design my own program in Critical Social Thought. Similarly, I went to Edinburgh because they are one of the few universities anywhere to offer a Masters in Nationalism Studies, which is another interdisciplinary field. Continuing on to the PhD at Edinburgh allowed me to take advantage of all the great resources of the city, and having the National Museum just down the street. Also the city is wonderful!
4. Where did you live before you moved to Pittsburgh? What do you miss most about that place?
Right before Edinburgh I lived in Boone, North Carolina. It is a gorgeous small town in the Appalachian mountains, near Virginia and Tennessee. I miss having the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside my back door, for pretty drives and walks to hidden waterfalls. Also nachos at the Boone Saloon!
5. What about Pittsburgh excites you? Is there something you've found that you really love about it so far?
I really like how all the neighborhoods are so different from one another. Everywhere has its own character, even though they are so close together. I especially love all the cultural institutions around, like the Frick and the Carnegie Museums.
6. What one book would you recommend to every history student?
Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities was what blew my mind in college and got me thinking about how, why, and when we started forming ourselves into nations, and what impact that had on the shape of the world. It's not a history book, but then again, it's not not a history book either.
7. The classic dinner question: Name up to 5 people (living, deceased, or fictitious) you would like to have dinner with, and what would be on the menu?
I sort of hate these questions, because there are so many things to think about when planning a party! But here is an unbalanced, off the top of my head, answer.
Eleanor Roosevelt - she's one of my favorite people, and I just think she'd be interesting. When I am not sticking up for modernism, probably the 1930s are my favorite time.
William Smellie - first secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, organiser of their first museum, and the editor of the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
George Brown Goode - Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian, 1872-1896. He was responsible for a lot of modern museum display techniques at the Smithsonian. He and William Smellie and I would have a lot to chat about.
Queen Victoria - a pretty kickass woman. Her tips on how to rule an empire might come in handy when trying to organize my day to day schedule.
The Doctor - because who knows, instead of having this very odd dinner party, we may just all go spinning through time and space in the TARDIS. That sounds better.
Dinner would probably be something Italian, if I was cooking. A nice lasagne, maybe? The 18th and 19th century guests might be shocked.
8. What is your favorite historical period?
As much as I can sometimes get sucked into the romance of earlier times, I am a big fan of modern technology and modern medicine, and not bathing in cold water. So I am going to go with now, or the future. Modernists, unite!
9. What historical moment have you experienced in your lifetime that has had the most profound impact on you?
The explosion of the Challenger spaceship in 1986 happened when I was very young, but it is the first moment that I remember realizing that something I was watching on TV was really happening, and was really important, and would be talked about for a long time.
10. If you could create and teach any course on history, what would it be?
I really like my History of Things (HIST/ARHY 224) course, where we get to 'do' history by looking at everyday objects and uncovering their stories. And I have created a course that looks at the history of national museums around the world - why we have them and why ours in the US is so different from everyone else's. Pretty much I like creating courses that aren't so much about a period of history but about how we present history to each other.