Get your tickets! Registration for Bmore Historic 2017 is open.

Bmore Historic returns to the Baltimore Museum of Industry on Friday, September 29 and registration is now open. If you don’t know already, Bmore Historic is an annual one-day unconference for people who care about public history, historic preservation and cultural heritage in Baltimore, across the state of Maryland, and beyond. This year, we’ve simplified the registration process and made it easier for you to sign up your board members, coworkers, or students with our group registration option. We also have a new way for you to share a session proposal.

As always, Bmore Historic is organized by Baltimore Heritage and a wonderful team of volunteers. You can contact me with any questions at pousson@baltimoreheritage.org or 301-204-3337.

Special thanks to the UMBC Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community, and Culture for supporting Bmore Historic in 2017!

We are still seeking more supporters for this year’s unconference. If you or your organization are interested in becoming a sponsor please get in touch.

Social Media for Cultural Organizations: Means or End?

In 2015, it’s clear that social media plays a major role for cultural institutions such as museums, parks, and nonprofit organizations. Whether your institution is large enough to have a dedicated staff member for online communications/social media or these duties are just one of many hats you wear, let’s discuss how to maximize social media for public history and preservation purposes.

What do you see as the function of social media at your organization? How do you measure success? Who is your target audience, and are you reaching them on social media? At your institution, is social media a means to another goal (such as visiting your site or attending a program), or is online engagement itself the goal? What has worked in the past, and what do you hope to try moving forward? How does your social media correspond with your programs, website, etc.?

—Auni Gelles, @aunigelles

I am a public historian working in heritage tourism. The power of historic places is unlike anything else–and that motivates me to promote preservation and sustainable engagement with historic resources. I’m currently working on my graduate thesis, a digital history project on the Battle of Baltimore in collaboration with Baltimore Heritage.

Appropriəte or Appropriāte: Issues in Interpretation

Like most of our colleagues I strongly believe that cultural institutions have certain responsibilities when interpreting history, particularly in regards to cultural narratives. But what exactly does this mean to each of us? Can there be consensus on how museums should and should not interpret? Are there topics, artifacts or stories that should be excluded from display? Should methodologies change from history museums to art organizations and if so, how?

Recently the Boston Museum of Fine Arts faced a protest over a public program involving visitors donning kimonos. While this controversy had the public, and museum professionals, taking sides on whether this type of programming is appropriate or not, this technique is a very common one in our field. History organizations are attempting to reach out to changing communities in a wide variety of ways, interpreting recent events as well as incorporating unusual strategies. However, the very communities and cultures we are representing are often left out of the interpretive process, with the best of intentions leading to potential misunderstandings. Concerns about financial sustainability or striving for innovative programs have sometimes led to initiatives that reflect the communities in unintended ways.

During this discussion we will explore the various ways that history museums RE-present culture and discuss relationships of community engagement. Session participants will be asked to explore examples of projects that have been successful and others that have been less so.

—Robert Forloney

Robert Forloney is a Cultural Institution Consultant working with a number of clients to develop innovative programs, train interpreters and facilitate strategic planning. He has worked in the museum field for almost twenty years- as a teacher for the New York City Museum School as well as an educator, administrator and consultant at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Morgan Library, American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. In addition he has formally taught as a classroom teacher for the New York City Museum School, adjunct faculty at Goucher College and lecturer for multiple universities. Whether working with an art institution or a history museum, Robert attempts to make objects and images accessible to diverse audiences through facilitating conversations as well as utilizing experiential learning techniques.

DH + UX: Digital Humanities and User Experience

Digital Humanities is booming. There are DH centers, jobs with “digital” in the title (i.e. my own), and lots of digital scholarship outlets and platforms. DH touches on a wide variety of disciplines, including – but not limited to – history, art history, linguistics, media studies, anthropology, and comparative literature, to name a few. Let’s talk about doing, supporting, and contributing to Digital Humanities projects, as well as how to make user-centered design part of the DH game plan.

This discussion requires zero prior knowledge or experience with either DH or UX. In fact, if you’re not familiar with UX at all, please feel encouraged to attend!

—Jennifer Ferretti, @CityThatReads

I’m the Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Decker Library. I have a background in fine arts and a Masters of Science degree in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute in New York City. I have nine years experience working in libraries, museums, and archives. I’ve managed digital project programs, archival processing (traditional and born-digital) programs, curated exhibitions, and participated in digital humanities projects. I have a deep interest in Baltimore’s African American community circa 1930-1970 and have researched this topic for an exhibit as well as research papers and conference presentations. I started bLAMcollective (Baltimore Libraries, Archives, and Museums), intended to be an informal group of professionals or students of any area to discuss articles, projects, or just share over drinks or coffee. Not having a car has enabled me to see Baltimore City by foot and bike. I love public parks and recently I’ve started running with the intention of completing a half marathon some time in the future.