Every place, every person, and every object has a history, but not all histories are told. What if your museum, historic house, archive, library or school chose one little known person, place, or thing and decided to tell its story? How would you do so? What would it look like? How would that story change the usual historical narrative? How would it change your institution?

Telling Untold Histories – New Jersey’s annual unconference on public history, museums, cultural heritage, and education – is a forum for exploring how we can channel our passion for more inclusive histories into innovative public work in our state and region. We consider this task in its widest vision and in its everyday institutional realities: how do we, in other words, perform this crucial, ethical work within the constraints of time, funding, and personnel?

Who should attend? Curators and educators, archivists and archaeologists, oral historians and librarians, historic preservationists and community activists, and grantmakers, funders, and history lovers are welcome!

Because we value the knowledge you bring, this unconference puts you at the center. Unlike traditional history conferences, the specific content of our discussion sessions comes from the participants themselves, rather than formal papers. Sessions are chosen the day of the unconference, so you will decide what topics we discuss! Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Using material culture to reveal hidden histories
  • Lessons from (successful and not-so-successful) collaborations with communities
  • How public history can address contemporary social issues like mass incarceration, immigration, and police brutality
  • Showing that parks and other natural places have histories
  • New Jersey is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the country. Who is telling the histories of Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and others?
  • The role of archives in defining what counts as history
  • We’ll be updating this space with more information, including how to register, soon. In the meanwhile, stay connected with us on Twitter as @untoldhistories or send us an email at untold.histories.unconference@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

Want to see what happened at last year’s unconference? Check out our website, links to the Google docs from all sessions and workshops, and the Storify of our Twitter conversation.

Thank you to the Ironbound Community Corporation for permission to use their photo as our header image. Please visit their Picturing Justice Tumblr exhibit to learn more and check out their archives.