Telling the Stories of the Underrepresented at Your Site

site of the former Wormley Hotel, 15th & H Sts, NW DC

OK, so I realized that I hadn’t discussed what I actually talked about in Savannah at the big National Trust conference! I got so many fantastic questions afterwards, that I thought I’d share some things with you.

Back in February 2014, Decatur House held a “History & Heritage Open House.” When planning it, my colleague and I were inspired by an earlier project about the African American history of Lafayette Square in Washington, DC. By looking at the stories, we were able to create a successful event that attracted over 230 persons of all ages and ethnicities. So, how can you replicate this at your site or organization? Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Every site has an untold story to share–what is yours?

Use your stories as a point of connection.

Yes, some stories are painful and uncomfortable, but tell them anyway as omission is worse. Do so without fear.

History is not exclusive to one group–it is everyone’s history.

Be the spark that inspires the next generation of history lovers.

Be open to inviting discussion and learning experiences on your end.

VERY IMPORTANT: Your site is not in a vacuum! Connect with and engage the community that it is a part of.

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