Co-Creating Narratives in Public Spaces

Originally broadcast live on September 17-18, 2014 from Washington, DC

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Co-Creating Narratives in Public Spaces was a two-day free public training organized by the National Park Service and The George Washington University Museum Studies Program. Full Agenda Available here (will open in separate window).

Who is it for?  Co-Creating Narratives in Public Spaces was a forum for NPS administrators and interpreters, academics, museum professionals, anthropologists, public historians, and practitioners of history to discuss how the National Park Service can best define and communicate the complex and challenging narratives that comprise the history of the United States.

What is the vision for the symposium?  The National Parks are important to all Americans as symbols of the nation, and the National Park Service has a responsibility to ensure that the narratives at these sites are informed by up-to-date scholarship that is inclusive and incorporates issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and power.


DAY ONE - (September 17, 2014)

Welcome and Introductions (view)

Keynote (view)
- Faye V. Harrison, Ph.D., Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Session 1 (view)
Exploring “the Frontier” as a Site of Contact: How do we convey the complicated and contest-ridden stories of western expansion in ways that are inclusive of various perspectives and not simplified stories of the "conquest of the virgin land?”

- Paul Chaat Smith, Associate Curator, National Museum of the American Indian
- Daniel Maher, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Arkansas Fort Smith
- Lisa Conard Frost, Superintendent, Fort Smith National Historic Site, National Park Service
- Ravis Henry, Park Ranger, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, National Park Service

Session 2 (view)
Interpreting Sites of War: What does it means to commemorate battlefields as hallowed ground and how can a site of war tell a range of stories?

- Alan Spears, Legislative Representative/Historian, National Parks Conservation Association
- Alisa Lynch, Chief of Interpretation, Manzanar National Historic Site, National Park Service
- Karen Wilde, Tribal Liaison, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, National Park Service
- Tim Good, Superintendent, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, National Park Service
- John Hennessey, Chief Historian/Chief of Interpretation, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service

Closing Discussion (view)

DAY TWO - (September 18, 2014)

Morning Session (view)

- Opening Remarks by Dean Ben Vinson III, Dean of the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
George Washington University

- Session 3
Broadening the Story: What is the role and responsibility of our nation’s major cultural institutions when it comes to telling stories as national stories?

- Jesse Nickelson, Ed.D., Director, Youth and Community Initiatives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Paul Gardullo, Museum Curator, National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution
- Joy Kinard, Central District Manager, National Capital Parks East, National Park Service
- Ruben Andrade, Superintendent, Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, National Park Service

Session 4 (view)
Being Better Citizens: How can sites best use their unique cultural assets to work toward cultivating an informed citizenry and ultimately contribute to the healing of the community?

- Kelli English, Chief of Interpretation, John Muir National Historic Site, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, National Park Service
- Katherine Kane, Executive Director, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
- Annie Polland, Vice President of Education, The Tenement Museum
- Donna Graves, Independent Public Historian

Closing Panel (view part 1: pre-activity) (view part 2: post-activity)
How does a large Federal institution effectively share authority with general populaces who have diverse backgrounds, but also diverse interests and opinions?

- Julia Washburn, Associate Director, Interpretation and Education, National Park Service
- Mickey Fearn, Professor of Practice, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University
- Naomi Torres, Superintendent, Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, National Park Service
- Franklin Odo, Co-chair of the Asian American/Pacific Islander Scholars Expert Panel of the National Park System Advisory Board

Closing Remarks (view)