I have always found that local history is rich in experience and reward, giving us context and perspective across time, geography, and community. My goal is to help others who might not so readily see this value. I like to say we amateur historians need to “meet people at least half-way” through a better, candid understanding of local history using methods and means to make it more interesting, engaging and relevant.
I started “History Speaks – Listen – Learn” as a concept and consultancy so that I could help local Hudson Valley historical organizations and individuals be more effective in this way. My approach is to dig deep and wide to find objects, documents or stories that exist but have not been published, connect dots to create a compelling personal narrative, and use a wide range of “channels” like social media, documentary theater, exhibitions, books, etc.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll quickly see “their issues then” are “our issues now.” And recognizing we each bring bias to the history we write is yet another lesson. This, one of my favorite quotes: [We] map what we see, marking some features, ignoring others. History is not the past, but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveler.~Henry Glassie, Professor of Folklore.