Presenting at History Camp

If you want to present at History Camp Boston, Philadelphia, Virginia, or Colorado, read the information below and use the form at the bottom to submit your session.

History Camp welcomes people from all walks of life who love history. Past presenters have included authors, professors, Park Rangers, armchair historians, volunteers docents, reenactors, a retired public health nurse, students, executive directors, tour guides, and many, many more.

Presenting at History Camp as opposed to traditional conferences

  • Unlike traditional conferences, you don’t have make your presentation conform to a theme, geography, or narrow subject area, but your presentation must relate to history.  You might cover historical people and events, historical research and methods, managing a historic site or history organization, careers for people who love history, teaching history, or other topics related to history.
  • Don’t worry if your topic has been covered in previous years.
  • To get an idea of the breadth of topics, follow the links to History Camps in past years in other cities in the navigation above.  (The descriptions from History Camp Boston 2019 include links to videos of several sessions.)
  • There are two things to steer clear of: Product pitches and current or recent politics.
  • Your format might be a traditional presentation, leading a discussion with those in attendance, a round table, a panel, or a performance.
  • If your session describes historical events, you should be able to support your claims. This is especially true if what you’re planning to present goes against widely accepted beliefs. In fact, History Camp may be the ideal place for your presentation. (Among other reasons, a committee won’t screen you out because you have a new point of view.) However, you should be able to defend whatever you present. Merely asserting controversial things without having research that backs up your claims undermines your argument and undermines History Camp. 
  • We all chip in to cover the cost of History Camp, so all speakers register, just like everyone else. And because the costs are divided evenly, there is no special rate for speakers.
  • Sharing information as broadly as possible is one of the fundamental principles of History Camp, and that means making it available to people who aren’t able to attend. Your session may be recorded and posted online or it may be live-streamed and posted. All presenters are asked to post their slides.  If you have things that you don’t want to appear online (on YouTube or elsewhere), don’t include them in your slides or consider a different presentation.

Drafting effective titles, descriptions, and bios for History Camp

Because there are several sessions going on in every time slot, you are competing for an audience. These suggestions will help you do just that. (We edit session titles and descriptions, as well as presenter bios, for clarity and brevity, but wish we didn’t have to.)

  • First and foremost, folks who attend are looking for something interesting to them. Unlike an academic conference, they won’t feel compelled to go certain sessions, and they’ll have a wide variety to choose from. Your session title and description should help someone who is unfamiliar with your topic understand what you’re going to discuss and why they should care. Is your topic obscure? How would you explain to someone unfamiliar with it that, although obscure, they’ll find it fascinating once they learn about it.
  • Titles should be clear, direct, and succinct. Throughout the day, people will scan the session titles on the schedule in order to decide which session they will attend next. Your title should be clear and easy to understand so that attendees don’t have to find and read the description in the handout in order to figure out what your session is about. Avoid cute, clever, or obscure.
  • Please avoid the popular construction of session titles in which something cute followed by a colon and then something that helps explain the cute lead in. Omit the cute. Omit the colon. Just use something clear and direct.
  • Session descriptions should be clear, direct, and succinct. Most people will choose a session because the story sounds fascinating or it sounds like they’ll learn something useful. Your description should help them answer the question, “Will this be interesting to me?” or “How will this help me?” Use tightly-constructed prose that deliver a punch.
  • That being said, if your topic requires background or context in order for people to determine whether they should attend, include it.
  • Avoid academic prose. Instead, use language that people are familiar with. Here’s the test: Does your draft title or description include words or phrases that, say, would be mystifying to your aunt or uncle? Instead, think about how you might describe your session to relatives gathered at Thanksgiving. We strongly encourage you to not adapt a title and description from an academic conference. It will be much more effective, and you’ll attract more people to your session, if you draft something that will appeal to History Camp attendees, following the suggestions above.
  • The right length is the shortest possible in order to give your session a good chance of drawing someone who will be interested in your topic. In some cases, session descriptions are three or or four sentences; in other cases they may need to be three or more paragraphs.
  • Avoid hyperbole, and cliches, and avoid stating the obvious, such as “Few have heard of . . .” or “Teachers are always looking for new ways to make history interesting . . .”
  • Presenter bios should be just the facts. Start with your longest and strongest suit. For example, if you’re an author, state that and list the title of your book.
  • Include helpful contact information, such as your website or blog, your social media accounts, or an e-mail address.

If you want to present at History Camp Boston, Philadelphia, Virginia, or Colorado, use this form to submit your session.

Would your organization like to offer a special program or tour Sunday or discounted admission to your site? Please send us a description with details about your offer and we will consider adding it to the event page, the session guide, and possibly announce it at History Camp.