Peggy: If we don’t learn from the past, what’s the point of even having one?
Vance Gilbert: That’s going in the brochure!
“What is public history?”
Although we exist in different interdisciplinary fields and seek varied vocational attainment, perhaps the one thing that truly unites us as public historians is that we’ve all had to flub our way through precisely that question.
It’s a topic that I devote a lot of space to in my undergraduate public history classroom, because grappling with this question is often the start of an intellectual process that ends with a new appreciation for power and the production of history. And because this process is so important, I start it off with a long look at a fictional museum of prostitution from the cult television show King of the Hill.
Yes, I’ll explain.