Temple University, Center for Public History
Started in 2013 as an experiment in engaging neighborhoods in documenting their public history, the Philadelphia Public History Truck is a neighborhood-minded mobile museum that records neighborhood stories and makes them accessible by turning them into an art exhibit. The Center for Public History investigated creating a formal graduate level program based on the History Truck concept in support of the Center’s mission to raise awareness of Philadelphia’s recent past and train historians for work beyond academia.
Update: During the grant period Philadelphia Public History Truck engaged with 16 community organizations and served over 2,000 real and virtual users. Participants in North Philadelphia programs considered issues such as race, power, violence and economic disparity during block parties and other events. This work culminated in the exhibition They Say They Gonna Build. History Truck received extensive coverage including 20 print exclusives and three radio features. While the Center continues to develop its plans for how History Truck will fit into its curriculum, other schools around the country are beginning to adopt the model.
In February 2016, The Philadelphia Public History Truck, the project’s founder Erin Bernard and Temple University Center for Public History were awarded the 2016 Outstanding Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History.