We need a more productive public conversation about history.
Today, AASLH is proud to introduce Reframing History, a new set of evidence-backed communications strategies for more effectively communicating what history is and why it matters to society. The result of a two-year, deep-dive research effort, this report and toolkit offers recommendations to help the history community—museum professionals, public historians, scholars, educators, advocates, and practitioners of all kinds—build greater public support for rigorous and inclusive history.
As each of us in the history community becomes more involved in defending the value of history, Reframing History offers a roadmap for consistent, cohesive, and convincing public messaging. Far beyond simple public opinion polling, we have tested dozens of ways of explaining history to people outside our field to produce a set of communication strategies that are proven to shift public understanding, increase support for history, and place our conversations on firmer ground.
By emphasizing critical thinking, using the metaphor of detective work to explain the historical process, articulating how learning history can help society make progress toward justice, and grounding conversations about history with specific, local examples, we can help our many audiences come to a greater understanding and appreciation of history.
But we need your help. Effective messaging comes with consistency, when like-minded people across our field all speak the same language. We hope you’ll read the report to understand the findings, download the toolkit to learn how to incorporate it into your work, attend our events discussing the findings, and stay in touch with us throughout the year as we introduce additional resources to help train the field to use these strategies.
We all have a role in shaping the conversation around history. Reframing History can help.
To help launch Reframing History, we’ll be hosting an event livestreamed from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Saturday, Feb. 26, with Clint Smith, Martha S. Jones, and Jorge Zamanillo. RSVP here.
Click here to read the report, download the toolkit, and learn more about Reframing History.