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Benjamin P. Filene

He received his B.A. at Brown University and his Ph.D. at Yale University. He has been a member of the faculty since 2006. His research interests include: * public memory and popular historical consciousness * public history institutions as agents for civic engagement * exhibit-development and informal learning in museums * American vernacular music.

There are 20 included publications by Benjamin P. Filene :

TitleDateViewsBrief Description
Are We There Yet? Children, History, and the Power of Place 2010 1097 History is about perspective, looking back to recognize that nothing under the sun is truly new. History is about empathy, seeing the humanity in distant figures and bringing their experiences to life. History is about context, recognizing that our a...
Art, History, and Science Museums: A Cross-Cultural Conversation. 2006 258 The past century has witnessed the rise of distinct museums for art, history, and science. That trend has accelerated in the past twenty-five years with the dramatic expansion of science museums and the increasingly specialized museology of art and p...
Hearing Voices in Open House: If These Walls Could Talk. 2008 473 Open House: If These Walls Could Talk tells probably the smallest story ever told at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). It focuses on a single, ordinary house on St. Paul's gritty East Side and the people who made that house home—from the German...
Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World. 2011 131 The traditional expertise of the history museum seems to be challenged at every turn. Web 2.0 invites ordinary people to become their own archivists, curators, and designers as they organize images on Snapfish, identify artifacts through Flickr, post...
Local Lessons in Letting Go. 2012 56 Near twenty years ago, I arrived in Appleton, bright-eyed, to be curator at the Outagamie County Historical Society. Brimming with excitement about my first day at my first real museum job, I stepped into...chaos. The museum had been without a curato...
Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1942-1942, edited by Robert Gordon and Bruce Nemerov. 2007 58 Gordon and Nemerov contend that Lomax sought out vestiges of old-fashioned African American culture and turned away from documenting the full complexity of the contemporary Delta. [...] in The Land Where the Blues Began, Lomax laments that gospel mus...
Music and the Making of a New South, by Gavin James Campbell 2005 88 Filene reviews Music and the Making of a New South by Gavin James Campbell.
O Brother, What Next? Making Sense of the Folk Fad 2004 1177 After O Brother, Where Art Thou? spurred a surge of interest in all things folk, I got calls from friends coast to coast. Since I wrote a book about folk revivalism, they assumed I’d be thrilled to see that the film and soundtrack had once ...
Object Lesson: Open House. 2003 277 On the snowy afternoon when we first knocked on Pang Toua Yang's door, he thought he had won something. Actually, we were there to tell him that his house is going to be the subject of a new Minnesota Historical Society exhibit: Open House will tell ...
Our Singing Country: John and Alan Lomax, Leadbelly, and the Construction of an American Past. 1991 1974 IN THE EARLY 1930s, JOHN A. LOMAX LOST HIS BANK JOB TO THE depression and his wife to illness. Needing to make a fresh start, Lomax returned to the vocation he truly loved, collecting American folk songs. In 1933 he persuaded the Macmillan publishing...
Passionate Histories: ‘Outsider’ History-Makers and What They Teach Us. 2012 905 Even as museums and sites struggle to attract audiences and bemoan the public’s lack of interest in history, people working outsidemuseums and universities, without professional training, and often without funding, are approaching history in ways t...
Searching for Florence 2001 181 For me, it was the eyes. With her hand resting easily on the piano, the girl gives the camera a piercing look of pride and self-possession, with just a hint of defiance. That look stirred up deep feelings in me--about music, about daughters (especial...
Selling Tradition: Appalachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 1930-1940, by Jane Becker 1999 97 It is tempting to say that in Selling Tradition: Appa- lachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 930-1940 Jane Becker gives us a glimpse of an- other world-the Appalachian Mountains in the era of the Great Depression, when mountaineers pursued...
Sense of History: The Place of the Past in American Life 2001 201 David Glassberg's book is a searching exploration of the divide that separates academic history from the sense of the past that all of us carry wherever we go?our sense of having ancestors, of being from someplace, of being connected to traditions....
Settlement and Survival: Building Towns in the Chippewa Valley 1997 344 One photograph appears in two different exhibitions at the Chippewa Valley Mu- seum. The difference in its treatment suggests both how far this emerging regional museum has come and the challenges it still faces. The photograph shows a team of horses...
Small Stories in the Big Picture: Open House: If These Walls Could Talk. 2006 379 When is a small story a big story? At the beginning of 2001, the Minnesota Historical Society set out on a five-year-long quest to find out. The journey culminated this January in the opening of a major new exhibition at the Minnesota History Center,...
Students Connect with History ‘Insiders. 2008 63 Twenty-three-year-old Lisa Zevorich came to graduate school with a talent for historical research—seeking out documents, weighing interpretations, crafting arguments. This semester she has been honing a new skill: listening. Zevorich and seven ...
Training Public Historians: Academy and Reality. 2006 225 Professionalization builds structure that solidifies a discipline; professionalization erects walls that bar outsiders. Professionalization elevates understanding to a higher plane; professionalization draws practitioners into rarefied air that precl...
Whose History? Who's History? 2008 395 How can Greensboro come to terms with its tangled racial history? One story at a time may be the answer. Increasingly, historians are recognizing that ordinary people’s life stories can open up a richer understanding of the past and can invite audien...
Windows to the Past: People, Place, and Memory in Downtown Greensboro. 2012 90 Have you ever wondered what a favorite downtown spot was twenty-five, fifty, or even one hundred years ago? Six museum studies students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro have spent the last year-and-a-half trying to figure out j...