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Meeting Sages at the 2014 Berks

Left to Right:  Jenny Barker-Devine, Tracey Hanshew, Nikki Henningham, Linda Ambrose, Monda Halpern, Sue Wamsley and Maggie Andrews.In May of 2014, I was honored to be part of a roundtable discussion at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, which was hosted at the University of Toronto. I was not sure what to expect.  There is so much hype around the “Big Berks” and there are many superstar scholars there, and as the only student on my panel, I felt intimidated going in.  It turns out excitement quickly replaced intimidation because the reward was so great.  The opportunity to meet incredible scholars whose work you study, and have those same women not only be interested and supportive of your work but also share your passion for women’s history is an amazing experience.   Additionally, I anticipated feedback while at the Berks would be important to answering a question at the crux of my thesis, and subsequently the title for our panel, “Is there a rural feminism?”  Our panel, organized by Linda Ambrose and chaired by Monda Halpern, also included Maggie Andrews, Jenny Barker-Devine, Nikki Henningham and E. Sue Wamsley.

In our session, we explored this key issue of the existence of a rural feminism.  What do rural feminists stand for?  How do they differ from the traditionally-studied urban feminists?  Was there a collaborative effort by women in sparsely populated areas?  Are there similarities in rural regions across the globe? 

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The First Step for Putting Women Back in History

NCWHS board president Heather Huyck and National Trust for Historic Preservation field officer Karen Nickless have published on the NTHB blog PreservationNation a set of Preservation Tips and Tools, "The First Step for Putting Women Back in History."  For the article and slide show, click here.

NCWHS Newsletter, June 2015

Dear NCWHS Friends and Members -

Sometimes we win and sometimes we don’t.  Over the years, NCWHS has happily had a very high success rate of sessions accepted at major history-related conferences.  To our disappointment, we just had two sessions turned down, one at the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) and the other at the Organization for American Historians (OAH). Our thanks to all those who worked on those sessions—sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw. Thanks to the efforts of Page Harrington and others in the (AASLH) Women’s History Affinity Group we know there will be a session “From a Whisper to a Shout: Finding Ways to Share Women’s History through Innovative Collaboration,” and thanks to Board Member Marsha Weinstein, a “Louisville Women’s Suffrage Tour” (which we are partnering to present) at that conference in September.  We are currently working to propose a session for the National Council for Public History/Society for History in the Federal Government in Baltimore next year. Because these conferences come annually, thinking ahead makes a big difference as does shaping proposals for specific conferences.
We take the considerable time and effort to apply for conference sessions because bridging the gap between scholarship and historic sites is crucial to both. Without current quality scholarship, historic site interpretation dissolves into creative myth making (one of my personal favorites: scratches in old glass panes come from young ladies making sure that their engagement rings were real diamonds). Without historic sites, our ability to share our past with a huge part of the public is hampered and we lose an important source of historical understanding. Without good scholarship at historic sites we perpetrate poor history on an often unsuspecting public—a friend of mine is currently seeing as many historic sites as he can and bringing back some hair-raising stories of what he’s finding out there—including omitting slavery on plantations.

Read more: NCWHS Newsletter, June 2015

Sewall-Belmont House & Museum: NPS Report Favorable

Hurray! The National Park Service (NPS) has just released their favorable feasibility and suitability report finding that the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum has the necessary significance to become a stand-alone NPS site. This report is a crucial first step—but only that. You can read it at The NCWHS partnered with the NPS there at a 2012 workshop, “Tell the Whole Story.” This report giving Sewall-Belmont long overdue support and recognition will move the interpretation of women’s history at historic sites ahead.

Read more: Sewall-Belmont House & Museum: NPS Report Favorable