Martha Kohl: The Homework of Place

Martha Kohl has applied her passion for understanding the past and for understanding historic places to a variety of professional positions.  Currently, Martha is a historical specialist and writer for the Montana Historical Society’s one-of-kind National Register of Historic Places interpretive sign program. Prior to that she served as the editor of the Montana Historical Society Press from 1995 through 2003 and was editor of Gateway Heritage, the Missouri Historical Society’s quarterly from 1991-1994. From 1988 to the present, Martha also has taught English, U. S. History, and literacy in Missouri and Montana universities and colleges. Martha has authored articles on topics ranging from the historic buildings of Forsyth, Montana, to African American enfranchisement to writing good papers for National History Day presentations. The Montana Committee for the Humanities recently awarded Martha a research grant to examine how Montana weddings—one of our beloved rites of passage—have changed over time and what those changes mean. This larger research project grew out of an article that she prepared for Heritage Education (Spring 2006), “Something Old, Something New: Weddings as Windows on Montana History.”

For this place-based conference, we’ve asked Martha to ground us in the combined skills of historiography and historic preservation. She’ll remind us how to “see” buildings and neighborhoods as distinct artifacts of the past. She’ll walk us through the primary historical sources that our students can plumb for still more information about those buildings and neighborhoods.  And then, she will demonstrate how big themes—the social and political circumstances of particular eras—influenced what we see in our own towns. In “Text and Context: Using Historical Sources to Understand Place,” look for a compelling presentation of how an excellent historian melds solid primary and secondary historical source research with the personalities of buildings, towns, and landscapes.

Posted by Marcella Sherfy on 05/23 at 02:54 PM
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