My friend, Cathy Stanton, has begun a new blog, sponsored by the National Council on Public History in the US, called Off the Wall. The aim of the blog is to offer up “critical reviews of history exhibit practice in an age of ubiquitous display.” Cathy has assembled an impressive set of contributors and commentators to facilitate discussion. Since the blog was launched last week, there have been a handful of posts, reviewing events, exhibits, and displays, my favourite being this one on Flick’s “Looking into the Past” project.
I am one of the contributors, though, so far, all I’ve added to the discussion is a single comment. But the discussions that are arising over there are rather central to the study of history in the digital age. History is all around us, and is a central component of pop culture. At Off the Wall, we’re interested in examining how history interacts with pop culture and the public, to examine how history is used (and abused), how usable pasts are created. Or not created, as the case may be.