By Emily Sullivan, Historian
This weekend, the 40th annual conference of the National Council on Public History (NCPH) was to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. HAI has a special connection to the organization—one of our co-founders, Phil Cantelon, is also a co-founder of NCPH! Today, HAI is a patron sponsor of the organization, which fosters a community of public history practitioners, supports collaborative projects and exciting new trends in the field, and advocates for history and historians.
Concerns over COVID-19 have prompted organizers to cancel the meeting, but many of the scheduled presentations will take place online. HAI historians Jenna Hill and Emily Sullivan will still be speaking alongside other panelists as part of “History From Side Hustle to Career” via Zoom. The panel will explore ideas for professional development for newcomers in the industry who might be interested in turning their niche historical interest into a well-crafted blog, podcast, or interactive audience experience, but aren’t sure how to get started or if their effort will pay off (additional details about the presentation can be found in the conference program).
Jenna and Emily were inspired to propose the panel because their own “side hustles”—genealogy and blogging about food history—have been extremely useful to them as professional researchers and historians. “Researching historic food trends and trying out recipes from period cookbooks helped keep me active in the field while I was working at a different job to save money for graduate school,” Emily explains. “Food history is a great avenue for learning more about everything from business and advertising history to minority communities fighting for their rights, and it requires a lot of original research, as well as good writing and marketing skills to make a blog work.”
Jenna says: “Conducting genealogical research has taught me how to keep an eye on details, correspond effectively with repositories, and connect people with their personal history and the larger span of history around us. While my professors were teaching me how to write papers and memorize dates, I was learning that history is people just living their lives. Understanding that, and doing this research has allowed me to recognize how to connect people with history in a way they maybe have not experienced before.”
Jenna and Emily put their skills to good use at HAI, where they conduct in-depth historical research and develop content for books, exhibits, and digital experiences.
“History From Side Hustle to Career” will be held at 1:30 on Saturday, March 21. Conference attendees should check out NCPH’s website for call-in details. We hope to “see” you there!