© 2009

People and their Pasts

Public History Today

  • Paul Ashton
  • Hilda Kean

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Introduction: People and their Pasts and Public History Today

  3. The Making of History

  4. Presenting the Past in Place and Space

  5. Material Culture, Memory and Public Histories

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 279-304

About this book


In this innovative and original collection, people are seen as active agents in the development of new ways of understanding the past and creating histories for the present. Chapters explore forms of public history in which people's experience and understanding of their personal, national and local pasts are part of their current lives.


culture history material culture Memoria Museum national park

Editors and affiliations

  • Paul Ashton
    • 1
  • Hilda Kean
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TechnologySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Ruskin CollegeOxfordUK

About the editors

PAUL ASHTON Associate Professor of Public History, the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia MEGHAN O'BRIEN BACKHOUSE Doctoral Candidate, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, the University of Oxford, UK MARTIN BASHFORTH Assistant Archivist, the National Railway Museum in York, UK TOBY BUTLER Project Director, the London East Research Institute, University of East London, UK BRONWYN DALLEY Chief Historian, New Zealand's Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand PAUL GOUGH Professor of Fine Arts and Executive Dean, the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. PAULA HAMILTON Associate Professor of History, the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia BERNARD ERIC JENSEN Associate Professor of History and History Didactics, the School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark HILDA KEAN Director of Public History and Humanities Co-ordinator, Ruskin College, Oxford, UK BRENDA KIRSCH Freelance writer and editor DARRYL MCINTYRE Group Director, Public Programmes, the Museum of London, UK JON NEWMAN Archive Manager, Lambeth Archives, South London, UK JOHN SIBLON City and Islington College, London, UK and Ruskin College, Oxford, UK CATHY STANTON Union Institute& University, Ohio, USA MARY STEWART Assistant Curator for Oral History, the British Library Sound Archive, UK VASILIKI TZIBAZI Senior Lecturer in Primary Education, Winchester University, UK

Bibliographic information


'This important and imaginative book explores the myriad ways in which the past is represented and remembered, remade and contested. Starting from the premise that 'we are all historians', People and their Pasts uses rich case studies from around the world to examine the aims, approaches and impacts of public history and the pivotal role of the public historian.' - Alistair Thomson, Monash University, Australia

'As historians we need to postion orselves within this wider framework, and engage with different forms of history. The collection provides a thought-provoking guide to some of the debates we might find there.' The English Historical Review

'. . . thought provoking and insightful . . .' The Public History Review

'the chapters are cohesive and cumulative, responding deftly and elegantly to the volume's overall themes and framework... a valuable resource for both students and the informed scholar' - International Journal of Heritage Studies