Monday, March 23, 2009

NCHE Conference Held in Boston

Randall Stephens

The National Council for History Education (NCHE) held its annual conference in Boston a couple weeks ago. By all appearances it was a terrific success. Approximately 800 educators--high school teachers, college professors, publishers, and administrators--gathered to promote the serious study and practice of history. Keynote lecturers included Lewis Lapham, David McCullough, Pauline Maier, and Sharon Leon. Participants fanned out across the city, touring historic sites and taking in the ambience. The theme for the conference this year centered on revolutions in historical perspective. Hence, presentations included:

Tories, Timid, or True Blue? Encouraging Historical Thinking Using Historic Sites

A Local Revolution: Researching Oral History, Artifacts and Local History to Create Community

Understanding the Iranian Revolution: Historical Roots and Global Implications

Revolutions of 1968: Ushering in a Better World of Transnational Connections? A Look at Mexico City, New York, Paris, and Prague

Many academic historians might not know about this organization. I wasn't aware of it until several years ago. But it's been around in one form or another since 1988. State branches are extending its work as well. The NCHE is well placed to link "history in the schools with many activities sponsored by state and local organizations." The organization provides "a communications network for all advocates of history education, whether in schools, colleges, museums, historical councils, or community groups." Unlike Gilder Lehrman and other institutes, the NCHE focuses on American and world history, from ancient to modern.

With thousands of members across the country, the council does much good work for the profession and deserves greater attention from academic historians.

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