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For all of six picoseconds, I considered a career in public history. It’s my great fortune that fate instead sent me into the regulatory-industrial complex, where I can (for now) generate paperwork free of the taint of left-wing cultural politics. I know the world of public history reasonably well. I spent time in graduate school studying American architecture — a subject joined at the hip to public history.
One summer, I even interned at the institution formerly known as the Ohio Historical Society. (It is now known, officially, as the “Ohio History Connection,” a pointless and obfuscating name I prefer not to use.) Like all state historical societies, the Ohio Historical Society has a blog. Nobody reads this blog, save for the archivists and interns who write the posts (and one or two of their teacher friends), but that’s hardly relevant since the site still gives us a peek into the minds of the second-tier intelligentsia who staff such institutions. Their astroturfing reveals what matters to them — what they find interesting and inspiring. It tells us, in short, where the action is.