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November 27, 2007
Elizabeth Rodini The Ivory Tower and the Crystal Palace: Universities, Museums, and the Potential of Public Art History College Art Association, 2007
View of Feathers, Fins, and Fur: The Pet in Early Maryland exhibition at the Homewood Museum, Johns Hopkins University, winter 2007. Photo: Will Kirk.

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“Public history” is a well-established and familiar sub-discipline to students of history. Many universities offer degrees and concentrations in this or a related field. Historians who train in public scholarship expect to pursue work in places where a relatively broad audience encounters the past, including national parks and monuments, historic houses, and museums. As public historians, they pursue research and author historical materials. They may be involved in curating exhibitions, directing educational programs, and advocating...