The Public Historian reviews historical exhibits, performances, living history, and historical built environments. The publication examines exhibits in national museums, smaller regional museums, and community and neighborhood centers. Review essays examine the impact of exhibits on visitors and historians alike. In addition to writing about individual exhibits, The Public Historian also presents comparative reviews of two or more museums. By evaluating the overall effectiveness of each exhibit, The Public Historian can help visitors make informed decisions about which exhibits to visit.
Historical exhibits have an important role in transmitting historical knowledge. They are frequently visited by community groups, family members, and even individuals who were unable to be present during tragic events. The exhibits often contain a strong interpretive component and implicit judgments about cause and effect. While controversial interpretations may result in conflict, they often encourage frank debates. On the other hand, suppressing such material would be counterproductive.
The DuPage County Historical Museum presents exhibits and collections that tell the story of how the community evolved from rural settlements to bustling suburbs. Some communities ceased to exist after the evolution of modes of transportation and the construction of new communities and institutions. A new exhibit, Agreeable Friends, explores the county’s ghost towns and discusses the vital role of animals in human history. The museum is located at 102 E. Wesley Street, Wheaton. Admission is free and suggested donations are $2 per adult.
Young historians can learn the investigative skills that historians employ to investigate history. For example, they can explore a historical artifact, a document, or an image. Using the tools provided by the exhibits, the young historians can make their own interpretations of the objects. They may even learn about the history of their home communities. A history of their community and its role in civil rights efforts will be revealed.