WHAT: History Camp, the history unconference for adults.
WHEN AND WHERE: History Camp is in its fifth year. In 2018, there will be History Camp Boston (7/7), History Camp Pioneer Valley (7/28 in Holyoke), and History Camp Colorado (10/13 in Denver), and History Camp Iowa (11/10 in Des Moines).
WHAT IS HISTORY CAMP?
Despite “camp” in the name, it is for adults and follows the “barcamp” or “unconference” model widely used in tech.
History Camp is the only event of its kind that brings together people from a wide variety of backgrounds to discuss history. Unlike academic conferences, there is no one screening topics and no organization you have to belong to. Anyone can attend, provided there is room, and anyone can present, provided there is a time slot. In short, History Camp democratizes the discussion of history.
It’s run by volunteers to break even.
Who attends: Attendance ranges from 100 to 250 or more, and includes curators, volunteer docents, executive directors, Park Rangers, independent researchers, reenactors, students and teachers, professors and grad students, authors, retirees, and other history lovers who come together to discuss history-related topics and ways to get more people involved with history. Some people have come from hundreds of miles away to attend.
Another gauge of their popularity: In 2016, three of the four sold out, and for the first History Camp of 2017, History Camp Boston in March, registration opened on December 12 and was sold out by January 1.
Background and history: The first History Camp was held in Cambridge in 2014. Based on the very positive reaction, History Camp Boston was held the following year in Boston and in Des Moines. Cities are added as volunteers come forward to organize a History Camp in their city, state, or region. History Camp Pioneer Valley and History Camp Colorado were added in 2016.
The hope is to get more cities and regions to adopt this model as a means to stimulate greater interest in history by breaking down barriers and coming together around a common passion.
- History and history education: The only event that brings together people from such widely varied backgrounds around the topic of history. (Some stats and quotes: HistoryCamp.org/about.)
- Innovation: Borrowing and adapting an idea from the world of tech (barcamps, including BarCamp Boston) and applying it to a topic that is often thought of as stuffy, traditional, and old.
- Business, with a local angle: History is a big industry in the Boston area. This is an innovative program that brings together people of widely varying backgrounds to discuss historical events, research, careers, the operation of historic sites and organizations, upcoming celebrations, teaching history, ways to engage others in history, and many more topics.
- Education: While some have felt that STEM has marginalized the teaching of history in schools, here is a group of people coming together to support the study of history in creative ways.
- Special topics: Depending on the History Camp, there may be topics of particular interest.
VIDEO APPEAL: Some may attend in their reenactor kit, which makes for even better video.
- Demographics and quotes (top) and press coverage (bottom) of this page.
Lee Wright, Founder, History Camp
Note: Will also connect you with local organizers.