Public History Presentation

Public History Presentation


Exploring Hometowns

D & H Depot, Saratoga Springs, N. Y. (Train Station) Date issued: 1930 - 1945 (approximate) Print (postcard); linen texture, color; 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

D & H Depot, Saratoga Springs, N. Y. (Train Station) Date issued: 1930 – 1945
(approximate) Print (postcard); linen texture, color; 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. By The
Tichnor Brothers Collection Boston Public Library, Print Department. Public Domain.

One of the growing movements within the discipline of American History is Public History, a way of presenting the narratives of the past in a manner that is available and interesting to the general public. Public history projects often include photographs, monuments, plaques, music, art pieces, or theatrical productions or some other type of media.

The goal of this assignment is to create a short presentation that creates a historical narrative of your hometown. Much of the work in researching your hometown has been taking place via the Personalizing History Project that you have been working on throughout the semester. In this assignment, you will have a chance to play the role of public historian and create a story that shows through words and other media how the years 1915-45 affected your hometown. Please consult the M3 Study Guide: What is Public History? for guidance.

Instructions: The presentation can make use of a program like Microsoft PowerPoint or Macintosh Endnote to create a slide show with 5-7 pieces of media each with a written analysis of the media. These software applications are just a starting point, feel free to be creative and use other technology to create podcasts, videos or digital stories. Along with the presentation, you should create a piece of about 250-300 words that offers a brief narrative of the history of your hometown during this time period.

  • Second, gather images of your hometowns during these decades, using the SUNY Empire Library’s image databases along with resources such as your local public libraries and/or town historical societies. These images will help you complete the Public History assignment that is due at the end of the module.
  • Try to find at least 5-10 images, representing the research you did in part 1 of this activity and the decades between 1915 and 1945. The images can include maps, people, street scenes, workplaces, or notable buildings.
  • Use the research you gathered in part I of this activity and create captions of 75-125 words that help to describe each image and how it relates to your town.

Here is a student example about Hackettstown, New Jersey from 1915 to 1945

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Even though this is a presentation, it should meet the criteria of being an appropriate historical essay. Please consult the M3 Study Guide: Finding and Citing Visual Sources for guidance.
  • The assignment should integrate the media and text. In other words, the media needs to be part of the historical narrative — the story, if you will — of your hometown.
  • All resources should be appropriately credited, and your assignments should include a list of sources at the end.
  • If you are looking to be extremely creative be sure ahead of time that I can view the file type you send me.  If you have any questions let me know what your plans are ahead of time and we can figure something out.

Evaluation Criteria

Before submitting an assignment for this course please read the SUNY Empire statement on Academic Integrity. Please use the Chicago Style for citations, and take care to ensure that the citations are completed properly. For assistance in completing your assignment utilize the resources available to you in the Library Resources, Academic Integrity and Research Guidelines page of the Course Information documents.




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