Unrepentant history nerd and karaoke diva.

I currently serve as the digital media coordinator & program assistant for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, where I wrangle bloggers and tackle our social media platforms; and as a museum assistant at the Wells Fargo History Museum in Philadelphia. I'm the proud holder of a masters degree in public history.

Some projects I've worked on: an oral history database using StoriesMatter for the Salem County Historical Society, a collection of data on school group attendance for the education department at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the digitization of the Balch Institute Ethnic Images in Advertising Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I also volunteer at the Alice Paul Institute in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.

I travel when possible and attend Philadelphia Orchestra and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concerts when possible. Plays and musicals are good fun.

In my spare time I am often silly and irreverent.


Beware Social Nostalgia (NYT OpEd)

"There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the good things in our past. But memories, like witnesses, do not always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We need to cross-examine them, recognizing and accepting the inconsistencies and gaps in those that make us proud and happy as well as those that cause us pain."  

—Stephanie Coontz

Long story short?  Be a historian.  

PubComm13, or How I Learned to Love Camden

On April 26, 2013, graduate students and professionals in the public humanities participated in the third annual Public History Community Forum—PubComm13.  This year’s event was held at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey in the Cooper Street Library in Johnson Park.  Participants toured historic Cooper Street before the lunchtime keynote address.  A series of roundtable discussions and a large group Q&A closed the day.

More public history please

"Beers to Brassieres in 150 Years" and Beyond: New Developments at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum

"Since opening in 1992 in what was previously a tenement building at 97 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum has interpreted the lives of the working-class immigrants who occupied the building during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Now, with it its first new permanent exhibit since 2008, Shop Life, the Tenement Museum is building on its past to move in new directions, opening up new stories and using new media to tell them."

Official Stance on How I Handle Bigotry on this Blog


I agree, this is offensive. But is it abuse? Let’s not forget freedom of speech. He may say what he likes.

Thank you for your concern!

Now, as this is a history blog written by a person who likes to make sure that people know that they are talking about, I feel obligated to inform you of the fact that a. “freedom of speech” in the American Constitutional context means that people have the right to freely criticize the government without fear of official reprisal or punishment; it has nothing to do with calling out bigots on the internet, and b. tumblr’s community guidelines state that tumblr is not for:

Malicious Bigotry: Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.

In accordance with tumblr’s above policy, I responded with more speech and a link to a relevant educational blog post after reporting the user for said malicious bigotry.

I hope this post cleared up any concerns you, and others who share your concerns, may have! If, after considering what I put forth in this post, you decide that you don’t like how I handle anti-Semitic reader comments (and this was not the first) then you always have the option of unfollowing :)

If anyone has any additional concerns with my policy, then please leave it in my ask box so I can reply to you without continuing to clog up my readers’ dashboards with material of this nature.

I apologize to my readers who are tired of this topic. You can expect an actual history post within the next two days.



Over the years I’ve learned to never discuss politics, religion and abortion with other people, especially relatives, but this is the United States where everyone is paranoid and uptight about everything so I shouldn’t worry too much about it. My apologies to any Americans who were offended by that statement, but you probably just proved my point. Anyway, it’s no surprise the Museum of Contraception and Abortion is located in Bible Belt U.S.A. Just kidding! That would be blasphemous. It’s in Vienna, Austria of course.

Without adopting a specific position, and just focusing on history, the Museum für Verhütung und Schwangerschaftsabbruch presents a straightforward display of over 700 documents and items related to reproduction, contraception and termination of pregnancies. Opened five years ago by Viennese gynecologist Christian Fiala, the contraception room displays ancient condoms made of pig bladders next to the first modern pregnancy tests of the 1960s. Also on view are instruments for vaginal douching called ‘irrigators’ and a lipstick that claims to work better than the pill. In case visitors are unsure of where the diaphragm and the coils of intrauterine devices are located and what the pill actually does to the inside of the body, there are anatomical models to clearly demonstrate how this shit works. Thank god for that! In the abortion room knitting needles and bicycle spokes, used to induce abortions up until the 1960s, show how dangerous the practice was until just recently. On display are posters from the 1926 German silent film, Kreuzzug des Weibes (The Wife’s Crusade), the first of its kind to tell the story about anti-abortion politics and women’s reproductive rights.

A few things I learned… it was only in 1930 that Prof. Hermann Knaus of Austria (and Prof. Kyusaku Ogino of Japan) established the cycle of a woman’s days of fertility and ovulation (and men still don’t understand women’s bodies); the abortion rate in the Netherlands and Switzerland is one third of the United States (supposedly the Swiss have more gynecologists than most countries and their sex education standards are quite high); in the early 20th century coca-cola was used as a form of contraceptive (yep, just rinse that vagina immediately after sex, yo but make sure it’s diet). All so interesting!

Hey, at least we have a Museum of Sex…and some institutions have exhibits… and, and, that’s all I got.  Props to Austria!


Happy Constitution Day! In honor of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (which happened right down the street from us at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall), More Art Monday is looking at some era-appropriate objects from our collection. Enjoy, and be sure to do your part to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”! Brought to you by ART 24/7.

Woman’s Calash, 1780-90. Artist/maker unknown.

Chest, 1787. Artist/maker unknown. 

A N. W. View of the State House in Philadelphia, taken 1778, Published in the July 1787 issue of Columbian Magazine, a Monthly Miscellany, 1787. James Trenchard after a drawing by Charles Willson Peale.

Pocketbook, 1785. Artist/maker unknown.

Pocketbook, Mid- to late 18th century. Artist/maker unknown.

Spectacles, 18th century. Artist/maker unknown.

Spectacles, 18th century. Artist/maker unknown.

Teapot and Lid, 1785-90. John David, Sr.

The Reverend Joseph Pilmore, 1787. Charles Willson Peale.

Jar, 1787. Probably Christian Klinker.

Maya.2012: Lords of Time

Now through January 13, 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.  

Tickets appear to be pretty easy to get, but I went on a rainy Thursday.  Adults: 22.50, 65+: 18.50, 6-12: 16.50, Student: 16.50, Military: 18.50.    This includes the price of admission to the whole museum.  

The rest of the UPenn Museum is at best uneven, but there area number of interesting pieces.  There is an intriguing crystal sphere in the Asia gallery, and a pair of cloisonné lions from Beijing.  I’m usually more excited by the Asian areas in museums, but this left me unimpressed.  The museum has a number of more extensive exhibits: Imagine Africa was well visited.  I have to admit, we were in a bit of a time crunch and walked straight to the Lords of Time exhibit.   We did take ten minutes to watch part of the What in the World installation.  It didn’t quite work for us.  You have no idea when you push a button by a mystery object how long its corresponding video will be.  I love trying to guess what things are, but this was more an hyper-extended, super-dry biography of an object.  Meh. (Yes, that is my professional opinion.  Meh.)  There is an online version for those who want to play at home.  

Knight News Challenge: Backgrounder - Blasts from the Past for Busy Reporters


1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]

Provide journalists in Philadelphia, the nation’s fourth-largest media market, with historical backgrounders for local news, delivered via Twitter.

2. Is anyone doing something like this now and how is your project different? [30 words]

No - This project…

Spring Break 2012:  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina.  I have no fancy links for Charlotte, we just got here.  I can tell you already that the no photography rule at Biltmore made me sad, even if I understand why they have said rule.