Yale Public History Institute

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), is pleased to host the Yale Public History Institute, a program that brings together graduate students, historians, and public history institutions—museums, historic sites, libraries—to explore and develop ways to interpret African American history and culture for the broader public.

During the annual seminar in July at Yale University, staff members of invited institutions, along with selected Yale graduate students and NMAAHC young professionals, will participate in sessions on historical content and interpretive issues led by Yale faculty members and pre-eminent public historians. As part of the seminar’s activities, teams of participants will also spend time developing an interpretive project for each invited institution.

In the year following the seminar, under the direction of the Institute organizers, students and NMAAHC young professionals will continue to collaborate with the participating institutions on these interpretive projects.

Financial contributions from the Gilder Lehrman Center, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund through the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies will provide support for travel, lodging and meals for Institute participants during the summer seminar and in the project development year following the seminar.

Goals of the Institute

  1. To encourage and facilitate the work of public history institutions and interpreters (e.g., museums, libraries, media producers, performing and visual artists) in undertaking programs that interpret the history of slavery, resistance, and abolition, and African American history and culture more broadly.
  2. To develop collaborative relationships and partnerships among a variety of collecting and interpreting organizations with the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, aiming to develop programs both in Washington and in the country at large (and around the world).
  3. To assist institutions, like the archival departments of historically black colleges and universities, which have particularly valuable collections and limited resources for conservation, study, and public interpretation, in developing these collections for public access.
  4. To encourage interest and develop skills among graduate and undergraduate students, and among young professionals in history organizations, in the public interpretation of these subjects.
  5. To encourage the development of a literature of professional practice reflecting the best practices in analyzing and developing public interpretive programs on these subjects.

Banner image: “New York in Transit,” 2001, by Jacob Lawrence. Reproduction, including downloading of Lawrence works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.