Homage to Knowledge

I’m Kristine Gonzales and my interest in history all stems from my obsession with the movie The Mummy, and I’m talking to the point of ruining my first VHS with all my rewinding. My parents saw my interest in something bigger than myself and did all they could to instill a passion for knowledge in me. I still own all the books they gave me on the subject of Ancient Egypt. My childhood dream was to become an archeologist, but unfortunately, I had a teacher in middle school who squashed that dream with a single sentence. “They already found everything.”
While archeology was no longer something I actively pursued, I kept an interest in history throughout my middle and high school years spent in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 2012 I made the decision to study English Communication Arts at St. Mary’s University and was successful in graduating with that bachelor’s degree in 2015. I had initially set out to become a journalist, but life had other plans. After graduating I was able to secure a position working in the university’s library and through this position, I heard about the Public History program.
I have high hopes that this program will allow me to develop academically, professionally, and personally. While we’re currently only two weeks into the program, I’m anxious to see how I can integrate the skills I’ve acquired along the way into something tangible and worthy of being shared.

Abriendo Caminos

Hi there!

Geremy Landin photo

My name is Norbert Geremy Landin, but I usually go by Geremy! I am way too excited about this unexpected Master in Public History program and the future that is to come because of this program. I had no plan on going to St. Mary’s for my masters degree much less in Public History but as I walked along the empty summer halls at St. Mary’s, I was invited to take a look at the program, and here I am a few weeks later.

The goal here is to attain this degree and the knowledge to succeed while working with the City of San Antonio or in organizations like the San Antonio Fiesta Commission on large scale projects and events as well as building a network and relationship with the people that are in these fields and do these things already. I am hopeful that the public history program will help me with these goals for sure!

Papel picado is also known as perforated paper; it is used to decorate the city and homes during Fiesta inside and outside buildings
Fiesta Papel Picado

Lately I’ve reflected on the ideas that brought me closer to believing that I could achieve something in a program like public history and I couldn’t think of a better example than the short film/documentary that I was tasked to complete for Dr. Teresa Van Hoy’s Civilizations course. That documentary was the first time I felt like I had complete freedom of creativity and decision making in a course of that magnitude. Now I’m here in the place where I belong; learning alongside people of different backgrounds and understandings of history.

Back For More

Hello, everyone! I’m tremendously excited to be a part of the new Public History program at St. Mary’s University, and to have the opportunity to work once again with many of my former professors, as well as meet new and interesting people, many of whom share my interests.

First, i’ll share a bit about myself. I’m originally from Washington, D.C, but have lived in roughly twenty different states during my life and even more homes. My family traveled quite a bit, so I became accustomed to adapting to the world around me. I’ve always been quite an avid reader, and my house generally has more bookcases than anything else. I love stories and storytelling and a wide array of arts. I’ve always wanted to learn more artistic skills, but for the meantime I do calligraphy, and play the piano and the guitar. While nearly everything else I do is generally grounded in reality, I love chaotic and imaginative shows like Doctor Who.

My primary goal as an aspiring historian is to help tell the stories of cultures that have long been overlooked, or whose stories have been generally omitted from the historical record. I’m particularly fascinated and respectful of cultures that have had to struggle to maintain their cultural identity against larger, more aggressive or more influential neighbors. Some of the foremost examples that come to mind are the Korean, Armenian and Tibetan cultures.

Image of ceremonial dancers participating in the Lurol festival in Tibet.
Participants in the Lurol festival seek protection from evil, and perform both ceremonial and festive rites derived from native, Buddhist and Bon traditions.

My favorite subject, and what I aspire to write about in the future would be the religiously driven fanaticism driven relentlessly into a fever pitch that tore central Europe apart during the 17th century. The period of the Thirty Years War and the Wars of Religion in France have been a focus of my reading for years, and shall continue to be.

I was so glad to meet all of my fellow graduate students in the St. Mary’s University Public History program, and look forward to working with all of you and learning more about your own interests!

Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage – Smithsonian Institute

Me Siento Muy…Excited!

Hello everyone! My name is Sara Ramirez and I am super excited to be part of the inaugural year of the Public History graduate program at St. Mary’s University. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s of Science and Arts in Biology and have since spent my professional career in informal education. I’ve worked as an educator at the San Antonio Zoo and the Doseum, the Children’s Museum of San Antonio. Presently, I am a Library Assistant with the San Antonio Public Library. I am also a member of the 2018 class of the  Alexander Briseño Leadership Development Program.

 

I believe the Public History graduate program will help to integrate my different interests and passions including history, environmental science, sustainability, digital inclusion, and allow for community engagement and collaboration. This is a truly unique and amazing program. I am eager to begin working on different projects and get to know my professors and classmates better!

Hello Public History!

 

An Introduction

Greetings, welcome to the first of many posts in this blog.  My name is Scott, and I have been teaching history for the past 18 years.  This year I am taking on the challenge of graduate school.  I am excited to be here.  The program seems wonderful, and I am working with a great group of professors and students.

My Mission

My main goal as a teacher is to try and make the world a better place, both for my individual students and society at large.  I try to give my students the tools they need to improve their lives and have the maximum opportunities to create the best future for themselves.  By helping the student achieve their potential they go forth into the community and make it a better place.  They become examples to the friends and families and show them that improvement is possible.   Their success in turn improves their neighborhoods and by extension, the community improves.  Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I’m not so successful, but I do my best and keep trying to get through to the students.

Final Thoughts

I am excited at the opportunities that this graduate program will provide for me.  The opportunity to use my education experience to  reach more people has an appeal to me.  I have loved going to museums all my life; having the chance to work in a place like that and helping to develop the exhibits and the displays would be an amazing path for my career.   I am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

It’s a safe bet that just about everyone remembers key locations from their childhood. Perhaps it was that park down the street that you’d visit every Friday, or that ice cream parlor you’d stop at any time your report card proved up to scratch. Your childhood bedroom, your best friend’s house, your fourth grade classroom… In some way all of these places shaped you into the adult you were destined to become. For me, one of these essential places is the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.

Every summer, my parents would buy a family membership to this beloved museum, and every Sunday my older sister and I would turn up to browse the museum and take part in the weekly kids treasure hunt.

My older sister and I, a mere decade ago
We’d gaze wide-eyed at the sea life exhibit with all of its shells and ocean gems. We’d play on the pirate ships floating at docks (arrg). We’d each pick from the geology exhibit which gems we’d wear if we were queens. What we liked best, however, was proving our historical insight during the weekly treasure hunt. Given a list of clues, we would track down the artifacts and answer the questions that would accompany each hint. We wouldn’t always win, but the joy of eagerly perusing the exhibits was impressed upon me for life.

And now…? Well, in many ways I’m still just a kid on a treasure hunt, trying to prove myself as a valid player on the academic and historical field. I’m still young, still foolhardy, and still every bit as fascinated as I was back then. As for the museum itself? Sadly, Hurricane Harvey did a number on the building’s structure, and it was closed for repairs and renovation for the better part of year, though thankfully, it recently reopened.

I’ve got to hand it to the CC Museum of Science and History for revamping their exhibits year after year and being a pleasure to visit even now, after I’ve been hundreds of times. If you ever find yourself in Corpus, I certainly suggest you pay them a visit. It’ll be worth the extremely affordable admission fee of $10.95. Plus tax, of course.

Back to the future…or the past?

Greetings friends, classmates and anyone and everyone who stumbles upon my humble first blog post!  This photo below serves as a great example of my pursuit of the study of history.  At this point, I bet you are wondering how that photo got taken.  Before you start lecturing, no, I did not take this while driving!  The story is much more interesting and fun!

Road to the past or the future?
Speeding into the past…or the future?

It all started with a trip back home from Port Aransas. My wife and I were returning from a relaxing beach trip in 2013 on Labor Day weekend.  As we were leaving Port A ready for the long drive home, my attention was drawn to a Delorean gassing up at the convenience store.  For anyone who is a fan of the Back to the Future movie trilogy, you know how rare it is to see an actual Delorean with the doors up and parked.   The driver had a smile from ear to ear and was taking pictures with a couple with the doors wide open.  I leaned over to my wife and asked her to pull over so we could get gas and also maybe get a picture with the Delorean.

Missed opportunities and second chances

Now my wife was not feeling well and was ready to get home so she declined to stop and we continued on down the road. We have all had an experience where we were really excited about something and then in the blink of an eye you miss an opportunity. With my study of history, it has mostly been walking into a book store and finding the perfect book to read and then reluctantly setting it down before exiting the store promising to come back later and buy the book.

As we continued to drive into the distance toward home all I could think was that I would never get an opportunity like that again. How often do you see a great opportunity and let it pass by or in this case drive right past it?  For the next hour or so, I wondered how many years it would be before I got another opportunity to see a Delorean.

You know the  point when you are making a long drive back home and all you can hear is radio station static? That’s the point at which I looked into the passenger side mirror to see a car coming in pretty fast. Yep, you guessed it. It was the Delorean. (I’ll tell you how fast it was going later…) At this point I knew this was my moment. As the Delorean sped up, I asked my wife to follow suit beside the car so I could get the perfect picture. I snapped about five photos from my phone, some were blurry but this one photo above captured it perfectly.

Now you are  probably wondering what this has to do with a public history blog. Surprise! I tricked you into reading about history in your spare time. (Muahaha!) When it comes to hearing or telling stories, I’ve often noticed that there are missed opportunities and second chances.  This blog will take the opportunity to share a few stories and online resources that just might spark your curiosity and give you a second chance at learning and loving history. I promise not to make you memorize any dates and there will not be a quiz! Yet…

Telling your story or writing your story? 

So often, I have heard friends tell me how they have thought history was boring but I’ve also noticed something else. If you ask enough good questions, you will find someone’s passion and realize what stories they are interested in. We all tell stories, we just don’t always realize which stories are most important to us and why.  What is your story? Do you know it? Do you actively write the story of your life or do you tend to let others write it for you? How will the story of your life be told by your grandchildren and future descendants?

For as long as I can remember I have always had a passion and interest in history. I’m sure there are points in your life where you can remember an opportunity that passed you by. This blog intends to capture some of those moments and tell or highlight some stories along the way that need telling. I hope that this blog challenges and engages you to think about history in a different way and find your interest whether it’s in a museum, a park, a book, an online resource or maybe even just a phone call to your abuela or meemaw.

Join the ride. Jump in the Delorean! 

Thank you for taking the time to read my first post and know that along the way it will be a wild ride with some ups and downs and maybe an occasional lead foot to catch you up to speed on some stories that you may have missed out on. I promise to try to make it fun and engaging.  I will spend some time sharing my critical thoughts on the past while occasionally using technology to share a new perspective on history.  Some of my favorite topics for potential future blog posts include, San Antonio history, Texas history, Marianist history, history podcasts and maybe even reviewing a book or two in the future.

Please leave a comment about your personal interest in history below and maybe that will help me find some fun topics to write about. If you could jump into a Delorean right now, what era and location of history would you go to and why?

Also, please share this first post on social media so I can get a few new readers and comments!