Regular readers of Found History may have noticed that I removed the old tag line “unintentional, unconventional, and amateur history all around us” from the blog. When I first envisioned Found History, I thought I’d use it simply as a place to document my interest in and chronicle my chance encounters with non-professional history, mostly as it is done online. Long time readers will know that much of the work here at Found History has focused on things like “best ever” lists, timelines, and science fiction as historical narrative. These everyday engagements with the past are still of tremendous interest and very dear to me.
Over the years, however, I have been using Found History increasingly as a place to discuss some of my other main interests: public history, digital humanities, and my work and that of my colleagues at the Center for History and New Media. Obviously these interests—online history produced by the public, online history produced for the public, digital humanities in general, and CHNM’s self-consciously democratic brand of digital history in particular—are all very closely related and the connections between them are fascinating. I believe removing the old tag line will release me to explore each of these interests and the connections between them more freely and fully. Indeed, readers of Found History should see little change in the content of the site. But I thought it was time to formally recognize the ways in which Found History has grown over the years.
So today I renew my commitment to Found History with a new mission statement:
Found History explores public and digital history in all its forms. It pays special mind to the myriad ways non-professionals do history, sometimes without even knowing it. By taking seriously the work of amateurs and professionals alike, as well as new trends in digital history and digital humanities, Found History aims to foster a broader understanding of what history is and who should be called an historian.
I can’t say how grateful I am for the support of my readers. It has been a great ride, and I hope you’ll stay for the next leg of the journey. Thanks.
— Tom Scheinfeldt