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Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office
Louisville to host 30th Annual Meeting of the National Council on Public History April 10-13

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 07, 2008  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Workshops, tours and plenary sessions focusing on the theme Public Histories of Union and Disunion will highlight the 30th annual meeting of the National Council on Public History (NCPH) April 10-13 at The Brown Hotel and other venues around Louisville.  Based on early registrations, the conference is on track to be the most well-attended in NCPH history, with more than 400 expected.
Presenters will include noted historians and researchers such as Andrew Ferguson, author of Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America; National Park Service Chief Historian Robert Sutton; and keynote presenter Ed Linenthal, an author and professor of history at IU Bloomington who is one of the nation’s leading authorities on how Americans respond to and memorialize major tragedies such as 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing.  Linenthal will speak on Healing Wounds, Opening Wounds: The Burdens of Remembrance.

The opening plenary with Ferguson is open to the public at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10 at the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York Street.  Ferguson will do a book signing following his lecture.  Admission is free but a ticket is required and may be obtained at the library's Web site:  Ferguson’s visit is presented by the library in partnership with the NCPH, Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and Historical Confederation of Kentucky.

NCPH President Bill Bryans, director of the Applied History Program at Oklahoma State University, notes that the theme of this year’s conference seeks to explore the many roles public history has played in civic life, with particular emphasis on the ways in which it has been used to foster unity, provoke division or make sense of controversy.

"The meeting will showcase the wealth of historic resources in Kentucky to historians from around the world, many of whom will be visiting Louisville for the first time," said Donna M. Neary, Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer, program committee member and chair of the local arrangements committee.  "Public historians who visit our state will be impressed by the range and diversity of historical sites, programs, museums and historians who work to tell the important stories of our communities."

Other free sessions, all in the Centennial Room of the public library main branch, are:

10 to 11:45 a.m. Friday, April 11 – Zotero: An Introduction to a New Open-Source Historical Research Tool, presented by Trevor Owens of George Mason University.  Software developed and freely distributed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason, Zotero is an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps people gather, organize and analyze sources and share results of their research.

9 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, April 12 – Omeka: Online Exhibits Made Easy presented by Tom Scheinfeldt, managing director of the Center for History and New Media.  Scheinfeldt will introduce Omeka, a next generation, free and open source Web publishing platform for individuals and smaller history museums and historical societies.

2:15 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12 – Talking About the Civil War After 150 Years, moderated by Kentucky state historian Dr. James C. Klotter of Georgetown College and featuring three panel presentations: Kentucky’s John J. Crittenden and the Causes of the Civil War, led by Dwight Pitcaithley of New Mexico State University; Reviving Nashville’s Civil War Past with David E. Currey of Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum; and “I Hope to Have God on My Side, But I Must Have Kentucky”: Interpreting Kentucky’s Civil War Heritage presented by Stuart W. Sanders of the Kentucky Historical Society.

Though not open to the public, a signature event will be a working group at The Brennan House and Heritage Center, 631 S. 5th Street, co-sponsored by the Brennan House and the Kentucky Heritage Council from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12.  This session will bring together a dozen participants to debate the theme Unifying and Dividing Communities through Historic Preservation.

The Heritage Council is involved in a broad range of programs serving the Commonwealth, many of which will be showcased during the meeting.  These include the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail, the Heritage Council’s signature project of the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration; the Kentucky Main Street Program, the oldest statewide downtown revitalization program in the nation, today serving nearly 100 communities; and innovative preservation craft education and training programs.

In conjunction with the conference, University of Louisville Photographic Archives will sponsor the exhibition Public History in Louisville: Using the Lens of Historic Images, featuring photos from Arcadia Publishing’s book Louisville: Images of America authored by Neary and Photo Archives Curator James C. “Andy” Anderson.  The exhibit opens April 9 at UofL’s Ekstrom Library, 2301 S. 3rd Street, and continues through June 21.

The NCPH is an international association of more than 1,000 members dedicated to making the past useful in the present and to encouraging collaboration between historians and the public.  Public history practitioners include museum professionals, government and business historians, historical consultants, archivists, teachers, cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, policy advisors, oral historians, professors and students with public history interests, and many others.

Others on the local arrangements committee are Rick Bell, U.S. Marine Hospital Foundation; A. Glenn Crothers, Filson Historical Society;  Kathy Nichols, independent historian; Chris Goodlett, Kentucky Historical Society; Tracy K’Meyer, University of Louisville; Patti Linn, Riverside, The Farnsley-Moremen Landing; Chuck Parrish, Louisville Historical League; Jay Stottmann, Kentucky Archaeological Survey; Bonny Wise, Locust Grove; Marianne Zickuhr, Brennan House, Inc.; and Carl Kramer, independent historian.

Paid registration is required for all other sessions and events.  For information and a complete conference schedule, see the National Council on Public History Web site at

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An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 4/7/2008