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Updated 2/10/15: The facility that we had lined up for March 28 says now it can not accommodate the event.  We're looking for alternatives and hoping to do it the same weekend, either Saturday (first choice) or Sunday.    

We'll update the site, send an e-mail message, and post to social media as soon as we have this nailed down.

Thanks to Michelle Novak, who runs a design firm in NYC and who created the logo last year, for updating it this year.

Interested?  We hope so.  You'll see that there are already some sessions listed below.

Follow these steps and together we'll create History Camp 2015:

1. Sign up to receive updates and to be notified when registration opens.  History Camp 2014 was completely filled several days before the event, so if you're interested in History Camp 2015, you'll want to register soon after registration opens.

2. If you want to participate in planning History Camp 2015 contact Lee and be sure and sign up for e-mail updates, too.

3. If your organization is interested helping underwrite History Camp so that it is open to all, contact Lee.  Underwriters will be recognized in all materials, including press releases, and will have a table at History Camp.  

4. If your history organization is interested in having a table at History Camp to display (and sell, if you like), you will have that option when you register.  Be sure and sign up for e-mail updates to be notified when registration opens.

5. Start working on what you'd like to present and then add it below.  

Looking for more information on what you might experience at History Camp?  The facility will be different and the topics will be different, but you might  browse this archives of History Camp 2014, including the speakers, topics, a results report, and more.

Thanks to the Metrowest Visitors Bureau for hosting History Camp 2015 and helping with outreach to communities, organizations, and the media.


History Camp 2015 presenters and topics

If there is a presentation you'd like to give, please add the title (or topic area), your name, and a link to your e-mail address or to your site or blog.  (Click on the "Edit" tab, directly above "HistoryCamp2015."  If you run into problems using the wiki, let Lee know.)  Please also sign up for updates

Note that presentations must be non-commercial.  In practical terms, that means that people should feel that the information they got was useful and that they benefited from attending even if they have no plans to later buy your book, take your tour, buy your product, or attend your class.  

Sessions will run concurrently.  We'll draft the schedule in the morning and revise, as needed, during the day.  Sessions will run concurrently, so there are many slots open.

Sessions are currently scheduled to be 45 min. long, including Q&A and discussion.  This year we'll add in more time to move from session to session. 

For inspiration, you may wish to browse the topics and presenters from 2014.

Enter your title, name with link or links and notes, if needed, below. 

  • "Roman Legionary" or "Printing Paul Revere" from Andy Volpe: Art & History. Note: Presentation/Demonstrations. Both offerings I'd need some space.  The Printing offering could be a live printmaking demonstration, I could feasibly bring in my own press, ink, paper - would need access to a water source.  I'd need some extra time for setup though. 
  • "The history of the postage stamp and the US Postal system" from Henry Lukas, Education Director at the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History at Regis College.
  • "In Defense of Material Culture" from Erik R. Bauer, Archivist, Peabody Institute Library, Peabody, MA (@hipste818 & @PeaLibArchives)
  • "Were the Early Suffragists Racist? A Look Into The Early Movement prior to The Emancipation Proclamation" from Colleen Janz, Executive Director, Susan B Anthony Birthplace Museum 
  • "This Side of Paradise: The tragedy and triumph of a small town in MetroWest" from Peter Golden.  From its primordial origins as a Native American fishing camp to the present, Natick, Massachusetts has experienced a series of astonishing events and extraordinary transformations. Join us as we explore the genesis of this unique community and the lessons it has for all.
  • Proposed panel looking for panelists: "Don't let History Get STEAMrolled: Practical approaches to getting kids engaged with history" - Okay, so the title is a little inflammatory, but the goal is to discuss creative approaches, whether they're established programs such as History Day (MA), History Club (headquartered in Somerville, in fact), or History Bowl, or graphic novels (such as Colonial Comics), summer camps at living history sites (such as these at Old Sturbridge Village), and young reenactor groups (such as this one in Lexington).  If you've been responsible for any initiatives to get kids engaged with history, please add your information immediately below or send Lee an e-mail message.  (Full disclosure: I don't have kids and I've not done anything targeted at kids other than overhauling our historical society's annual history scholarship--and seeing that overhaul make no impact.  I think this topic is critically important and would love to hear from others who have had success.  If it's helpful, I'll be happy to moderate.) Participating panelists: Patricia Violette, Executive Director of the Shirley-Eustis House, others to come
  • Proposed Panel Looking for Panelists: "Sharing Your Passion for History: Blogs, Podcasts, Books, and More" --The goal of this panel is to inspire others about how they can share their passion for history using traditional and new media. Liz Covart, Early American Historian, Blogger, and Host of "Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History," (@lizcovart).
  • "Soldiers in Our Homes: The French and Indian War & Quartering in Albany, New York, 1756-1763" from Elizabeth M. Covart, Ph.D., Independent Scholar, (@lizcovart). 
  •  "Six Women of Salem: the Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials" from Marilynne Roach (on the Daily Show in January 2014).  Background on her book and a reading, along with Q&A.  
  • "The History of The Boston Post Road--America's First information Highway--Through Postage Stamps" from Henry Lukas, Education Director at the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History at Regis College.
  • "Researching the Old Homesteads of Marlborough" from Chandra Lothian, Marlborough Historical Society Trustee.   There were 124 paintings of local homesteads and landscapes done by noted artist Ellen M Carpenter over the period 1875-1908.  These paintings appear in the book, "Historical Reminiscences of the Early Times in Marlborough, Massachusetts," by Ella Bigelow, published in 1910. Today the paintings are owned easy to find: They're on display at the Marlborough Library.  But what about the houses?  Are they still standing?  What became of them?  In this session I'll discuss my multi-year project--obsession?--with finding all of them and creating a site history for each, with photographs taken from the same angle and location as the original paintings.  I'll describe the resources I used for researching old houses and sites, and show you the result, with "Then and Now" photographs.  
  • "Our Forebears & Massachusetts in the Civil War" from Bob Schecter.  This presentation, with extensive slides, is based on my recently published book (which is not for sale).  It consists of brief profiles of men who served as Union Army and Navy officers in the Civil War.  The majority of officers profiled (and pictured) are ancestors of members of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).  Prominent officers from Massachusetts who are not ancestors of MOLLUS members are also profiled and pictured, as are Massachusetts citizens who played prominent roles on the home front (e.g., Julia Ward Howe, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, and more). Each of the persons profiled has a story worth recounting.
  • "Ideas for Programming, Outreach, and Operations of Smaller History Organizations: What worked what didn't, and what we learned from it" -- Unlike the typical session, this will consist of exchanging ideas amongst all the participants rather than one person presenting.  The proposed format is to go around the room, giving every person who has a specific initiative or lesson learned 2 - 4 minutes to describe what they did and what they learned about it.  If we have a good turnout, we'll dedicate the time to hearing these ideas and won't have time for questions or discussion, but you'll know who to approach after the session or later in the day to learn more.  Participants include (and feel free to add your name or send them in to be added): Annie Murphy, Executive Director of the Framingham History Center; Lee Wright, Marlborough Historical Society; others . . .
  • "Living History:  Historic House Museums and the Classroom Teacher: The Age of Medicine and Midwifery" from Patricia Violette, Executive Director of the Shirley-Eustis House.  The primary goal of any Living History Program is to provide a hands-on, experiential learning environment which fulfills the need for a creative approach to social studies. Living history is designed to stimulate student interest in learning about the human side of history and involves not only social studies but English, mathematics, and science as well as the arts and music. It is applicable at an elementary, secondary, and graduate level, but has proven especially effective at the middle school level.  This session will also focus on The Age of Medicine and Midwifery as an example of living history education.  Session participants will experience how a midwife develops skills and abilities required to become a midwife. By identifying medicinal plants and preparing simple remedies, participants will be able to understand how midwives were an important part of the 18th-century.   Participants will compare and contrast midwifery of the past to midwifery today by engaging in hands-on activities and making connections to the growth of technology. These guided activities will help them to better understand how living history can bring together the new and traditional, social and educational practices and how to relate personal skills, aptitudes, and abilities to future career decisions especially when related to the role of women.  (Note: Patricia indicated that this will work best with 20 or fewer people.  If it's popular, we'll repeat it at another time slot.)
  • "Risky Business: Living History Events in Traditional Museums" from Elizabeth Sulock, Manager of Public Outreach and Living History at the Newport Historical Society, and Kirsten Hammerstrom, Director of Collections at the Rhode Island Historical Society.  Despite being known for traditional educational programming like lectures, walking and house tours, and exhibitions, we recently collaborated to present successful site-specific, first-person immersive living history programs. The Newport Historical Society (NHS) used the city itself as the backdrop and setting for the Stamp Act Protest commemorating the 1765 Stamp Act riots in that town. In Providence, the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) presented its third annual What Cheer Day with costumed interpreters occupying the John Brown House Museum as Brown family members and servants, bringing to life a Saturday in 1800.  We'll walk through our preparation for these programs, the risks and rewards, and what we learned along the way.  We'll also discuss other things we're doing and things you might consider doing to present living history programs in traditional museum settings.
  • "Making History Comics" from Jason Rodriguez, editor of the Colonial Comics series, with assistant editor J. L. Bell. For over a century, artists and storytellers have been taking stories that existed in their heads and placed them into a series of panels to make comic strips and books. In this workshop, comic book writer and editor Jason Rodriguez will be showing you how to craft your own history comic books, starting with an idea and people that exist in some continuous space and moving them into a series of moments that tell an exciting and engaging story. The workshop will cover the process of making a comic book - from an idea to a story and even to the printing, folding, and stapling - in order to encourage folks to bring history into four-color (or grayscale) life.
  • "Prince Demah, Portrait Painter" from Paula Bagger, a director of the Hingham Historical Society.  Two 18th century portraits that have been on display since the 1920s in the Hingham Historical Society's house museum, the Old Ordinary, have now been attributed to an enslaved African American artist.  Prince Demah's short life was eventful and included painting lessons in London, a brief commercial career in Boston, and service in an artillery regiment during the Revolution.  The one other known painting by Prince (now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art) was found in a family collection in Worcester County, and we know that Prince made other portraits, both as a copyist and painting from life.  History Camp will be a great place to spread the news about this previously unknown artist: our area's small museums and historical societies are the logical place to look for more of his works.
  • “How World-Be Assassin Samuel Dyer Nearly Triggered the Revolutionary War" from J. L. Bell, proprietor of the Boston 1775 blog. In October 1774 an angry seaman named Samuel Dyer arrived in Newport, describing how the Royal Navy had kidnapped him from Boston to London, how high government ministers had interrogated him about the Boston Tea Party, and how the Lord Mayor of London had helped him to return to America. Rhode Island Patriots fêted Dyer and sent him back to Boston. Soon after arriving, Dyer confronted two Royal Artillery officers on the street and shot at them before escaping to the rebellious Provincial Congress in Cambridge—only for those Patriots to send him back to the royal authorities and the Boston jail. This talk digs into Dyer's story: how he came close to setting off war in Massachusetts, what happened to him next, and how much of the outlandish story he told was true. 


Did you attend last year?  If you have suggestions for things that should be done differently, please add your note below.

Updated January 27: After polling folks, we'll increase the session length from 30 minutes last year to 45 minutes this year.  (Note that the 45 minutes includes the presentation, Q&A, and time to get to the next session.)



What's it called?

History Camp.  

When is it?

We're aiming for March 28 (first choice) or March 29.

Where is it?

Updated 2/10/15: The facility that we had lined up for March 28 says now it can not accommodate the event.  We're looking for alternatives and hoping to do it the same weekend, either Saturday (first choice) or Sunday.  We'll update the site, send an e-mail message, and post to social media as soon as we have this nailed down.

Do I have to register in advance?

We expect it to fill up, as it did last year, so registering in advance is the only way you're certain to have a spot.  As soon as registration opens, we'll post a link here.  Sign up to receive updates and to be notified when registration opens. 

Who is organizing this?  How can I help?

Thanks for asking--especially that second question.  Here's the page for volunteers and information on how to support History Camp financially through a donation.

How can my organization secure a table or show our support for the event?

          See this information on supporting History Camp.

I've got a book out that I'd like to sell.

          When registration opens, we'll include a registration option that includes having a spot to sell your book, and in the process you'll help underwrite History Camp.

Where do I sign up for e-mail updates?

Add your name and e-mail address to this mailing list.

What is a BarCamp or Unconference?

  • It's a self-organizing conference.  People who share a common interest get together and create the framework for the event.  The on-scene volunteers, presenters, and everyone else who attends make it happen.  The topics that are presented are the ones of interest to the presenters.  The sessions that are well-attended are the ones that are of interest to the attendees.
  • It's free, though there is an individual sponsor level that includes the t-shirt and helps cover the cost of lunch.  Most people make a donation when they register.  However, no one is required to pay anything and no one should feel that they can't attend because they can't chip in financially.  They may want to consider volunteering a little time to help organize, set up, or clean up at the end.  
  • Read more about BarCamps on the home page and other pages linked from it. 
  • There is a great annual barcamp in Boston.  Browsing their site gives you an idea of what a large, well-run barcamp looks like.  Note that, since we're just starting out and since there is a specific topic area, we expect that we'll have a much smaller group, but the approach is the same.

What is History Camp? 

  • History as broadly defined, across geographies and over time.  Yes, it's Boston, but this isn't intended to be limited to the Revolutionary War--or on the United States, for that matter.  Ultimately, it's the speakers and attendees that will define the scope.  Hopefully it will be broad in a way that is of interest to many people.
  • What about genealogy?  Sure.  
  • Has this been done before?  Yes.  History Camp was started in 2014 and held in Cambridge.  Judging from the attendance, feedback that day, and responses to an anonymous survey, it was very successful.  You can browse an archive of History Camp 2014.  
  • In short, History Camp is what we make it.  Please join in.
  • It is not the place for a sales pitch.  In other words, if you are an expert at preserving very old books, do not come and give a talk about how you provide a great service and why people should hire you to repair and preserve their old books.  Rather, give a talk that has useful information, perhaps tips and techniques, so that, regardless of whether the person listening hires you or decides to undertake the work themselves, they walk away with new information that they value.

Who is this for?

You, if you're interested in history.  We hope that students of all ages, teachers and professors, authors, reenactors, interpreters, museum and historical society directors and board members, genealogists, and, most of all, history enthusiasts come.

Okay.  Now I get it.  Sounds fun.  How can I help?

Great!  Here's the page for volunteers.  You can also contact Lee.


  • What if I can't get there at the beginning or stay until the end?  Come whenever you can and stay as long as you like. 
  • My son/daughter is in junior high and likes history.  Can I bring them with me?  Definitely! 
  • Can I come in my reenactor attire?  Definitely!



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