Carl Becker; Everyman His Own Historian1, The American Historical Review, Volume 37, Issue 2, 1 January , Pages – Carl Becker; Everyman His Own Historian1, The American Historical Review, Volume 37, Issue 2, 1 January , Pages Everyman His Own Historian1. Carl. Everyman His Own Historian: Carl Becker: the American Historical Association, “Everyman His Own Historian” (published in and expanded to book.

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Everyman His Own Historian: Essays on History and Politics

Tuesday, May 15, Meet Mr. Everyone His Own Interpreter.

Today, I thought I’d share the piece albeit with owwn few edits here as well. InCarl Becker, president of the American Historical Association, the largest professional organization of historians, gave a speech in which he tried to distill history to its very essence.

Everyone at some time in their lives everymsn as a historian does — asks a question about the past and researches it, using evidence to come up with the most logical conclusion.

I would make the same argument for interpreters.

If we reduce interpretation to its very essence, that interpretation is the facilitation of personal and meaningful connections, then similarly everyone is her own interpreter. Everyone at some point in their lives finds some sort of meaningful everymwn to some familiar landscape that matters to them. What do I mean by that?


Everyman His Own Historian

Well, first off, I truly believe that everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, can find deep meaning and true personal relevance in every historical site that is worthy of preservation. Interpreters are simply there to help them and in some instances get out of their way. Historic sites, at their very core, speak of human universals. But if everyone is his everymxn historian and interpreter, why do we need professional interpreters and or historians?

But Carl Becker, realizing this, did not despair. He realized that historians help to serve Mr. The historian and interpreter help to facilitate a connection between Mr. Everyman and the past he craves to connect with. They act as a guide and adviser to Mr. Everyman, offering advice and guidance on what might help him find meaning.

That is my plea as well — we have to dveryman responsive to the whole society we interpret for — the whole American public and not just those who already visit our historic sites. How do we, as an interpretive corps, accomplish this task? For the National Park Service, it means connecting two core historical eras they interprets — the Civil War and the struggle for Civil Rights. These two historical periods are messy.


They frequently intersect, overlap, and cross paths repeatedly.

Everyman His Own Historian | work by Becker |

They bounce off of each other too, traveling in different directions for years before finally crossing paths again. Yet too often, our interpretation of these sites is segmented, partial, and too narrow in its focus.

Whichever area you interpret; it is history all the same. And I love history. But I love interpreting history even more. Playing with contradictions on a landscape, warping time and chronology, considering multiple and radical points of view and pitting them against each other — these are magical and transformative things you can do while interpreting that historians often frown upon when creating history.

Interpreting is all about helping Mr. Everyman find meaning in a place and promoting his care for it. It is about the visitor discovering personal value in the landscape.

It is about every person becoming their own interpreter. Posted by Jacob Dinkelaker at Newer Post Older Post Home.