History Truck Unlimited: The New Mobile History, Urban Crisis, and Me
AuthorBernard, Erin Cecilia
AdvisorBruggeman, Seth C., 1975-
Committee memberLowe, Hilary Iris
Lockenour, Jay, 1966-
Community Curatorial Process
New Mobile History
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/2597
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AbstractThe Philadelphia Public History Truck is a nearly two-year-old mobile museum project which creates interdisciplinary exhibitions about the history of Philadelphia neighborhoods with those who live, work, and play within the places and spaces of the city. Since I founded the project in 2013, I have navigated partnerships with both grassroots organizations and larger institutions and faced a wide-ranging gamut of experiences worthy of examination by public historians concerned with power and production of history as well as practice-based reflexivity. The first half of this thesis documents my key reflections of the first eighteen months of work and serves as a primary source on the project. This paper also places History Truck into a long historiography of both public history and mobility in the United States of America to explain the emergence of what I am calling the New Mobile History, an emerging form of practice in which community members and public historians work together from the onset of project development using ephemerality and movement as a tool for creativity and civic-driven history making. By analyzing oral history interviews with Cynthia Little and Michael Frisch, I argue firstly that Philadelphia was the birthplace of this New Mobile History. Secondly, I posit that for this New Mobile History to continue evolving, public historians must balance digital work and relationship-based process to create exhibitions which directly serve communities of memory. Lastly, I consider one possible future for History Truck, including its transformation from project to nonprofit organization manned by post-M.A. fellows who have the ability to work passionately on city streets and with new media.
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