I am home from 10 days on the road and trying to figure out where to start catching up is daunting. But, its Sunday, I'm watching football, doing laundry, catching up on personal email, and blogging. Not a bad start I suppose.
So, the final two days of the AASLH conference were as good, if not better than the first. Thursday morning we had our Military History Breakfast, which was a great chance to get together with like-minded individuals. For our program, committee member and staffer at the New York State Military Museum, Michael Aikey gave a brief presentation about the museum's veterans oral history project. From there I proceeded to a session led by Laura Ketcham of the NC Office of Archives and History about interpreting slavery at historic sites. Featured speakers were Dr. Julia Rose of the West Baton Rouge Museum, Frachele Scott of our own Historic Stagville, and Madeline Flagler of the Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington. This session was one of the best I attended while at the conference. The rest of the day was taken up with our Military History Committee meeting and two receptions.Members of AASLH Military History Committee present at the conference.
Friday, I finished the conference with two really good sessions, the first featuring renowned historians Rick Beard and James Oliver Horton discussing how to incorporate discussions of slavery into our Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorations, even in the face of resistance from heritage groups and neo-Confederates. My final session of the conference was quite possibly the best I attended. It was about the evolution of historical interpretation over the past twenty years and was led by Mark Howell, Director of Education at the American Civil War Center at Tredegar and John Caramia (formerly of Colonial Williamsburg and Old Salem) now at the Coastal Heritage Society in Savannah, GA. This session will definitely prove to be the most useful that I attended, both in the short and long term.
All in all, I think this conference was better than last year's, although I preferred Atlanta to Rochester.A view of downtown Rochester
Rochester is OK, but certainly not a place I'd really want to go back to again (unless it was to eat at Dinosaur Barbecue - that place rocked!).