Robert R. Weyeneth. What I’ve Learned Along the Way: A Public Historian's Intellectual Odyssey.

The Public Historian, Vol. 36, No. 2 (May 2014), pp. 9-25.

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Indeed, what are the lessons we have learnt in the 20 readings in this document? The local historian works much closer to the public, and as Weyeneth says, “the interpretive fluidity of history is a mystery to the general public”. In the final reading here, Weyeneth tells what the history experience is like for the volunteer or hobby-historian and what is for the professional public historian. In the middle of the reading, Weyeneth has a checklist for those anticipating becoming a full-time public historian. As well as preparing to face up to the ‘dark past’, Weyeneth tells the professional historian in training (re-worded here for our Queensland context), know:

Indeed, what are the lessons we have learnt in the 20 readings in this document? The local historian works much closer to the public, and as Weyeneth says, “the interpretive fluidity of history is a mystery to the general public”. In the final reading here, Weyeneth tells what the history experience is like for the volunteer or hobby-historian and what is for the professional public historian. In the middle of the reading, Weyeneth has a checklist for those anticipating becoming a full-time public historian. As well as preparing to face up to the ‘dark past’, Weyeneth tells the professional historian in training (re-worded here for our Queensland context), know:

  • that your work as a professional history will make a difference;

  • that you will reach a broad and interested audience;

  • that you will find linkages between history and modern issues like race relations, social justice, and environmental sustainability;

  • that upon the completion of your education (four year degree) and with a year’s practicum experience you could find a congenial professional home in the Professional Historians Association (Queensland).

  • that you would probably have some interesting ‘‘war stories’’ in the trenches of public history, and that it is important to network your research findings among like-minded colleagues; and, finally,

  • for yourself there are the opportunities to occasionally find some of the adventures interesting enough to publish as ‘‘reports from the field,’’ and the good news is that the profession is still healthy enough – having faced considerable stresses in the last twenty years – that it supports a number of public history journal publications.

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Neville Buch

Professional Historian at Qld Historians
Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He is a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch is the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and is a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.

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Neville Buch
Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He is a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch is the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and is a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.
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