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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World

David Carr, author of Open Conversations: Public Learning in Libraries and Museums says “Technically, historical authority has always been shared with the public, but the expert public voice has not always been able to break through the practiced illusions of monumental scholarship and hallowed history. The marvelous and inspiring examples in Letting Go? will shape the aspirations of the future history museum as its practice leaders readjust their grip on ideas of authority. It will also guide institutions as they fulfill the next steps after letting go: reaching out, embracing lives, and reflecting, in the presence of the past and each other, on the complex beauties of our culture. This is a book about becoming something together, our most important process as human beings.”

The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage explains "Letting Go? investigates path-breaking public history practices at a time when the traditional expertise of museums and historical institutions is constantly challenged by evolving trends in technology, community-based programming, oral histories, and contemporary art. The anthology features 26 newly commissioned thought pieces, case studies, conversations, and artworks by 19 leading cultural practitioners...Drawing on examples from history, art, and science museums, Letting Go? offers concrete examples of “shared” authority between institutions and audiences, as well as models for innovative integration of public curation and participation."

One of the editors of Letting Go? is Director of Public History/Associate Professor Benjamin Filene. Dr. Filene is part of UNCG's Department of History.

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