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Parks Canada

Parks Canada

Public History Prize


Parks Canada, ReCollections – A Podcast

Although we had a wonderful range of candidates, several key aspects of ReCollections set it apart as our top project. The broad, collaborative approach drew on strengths inside and outside of Parks Canada, and this laid the foundation for content that was at once polyvalent, incisive, and accessible. I was put in mind of Kathleen McLean’s maxim for public historians, that we need to “embrace the contributions of expert knowledge and at the same time expand our definitions of ‘expert’ and ‘expertise’ to include broader domains of experience.”

The prize committee also took particular note of the deliberate direction in the project to develop historical thinking and historical consciousness with the public. This not only pulls the podcast into the orbit of good (Canadian!) scholarship on the nature and practice of the larger discipline of history, but aligns it with the updates in social studies curricula across the country. It also meshes with good practice in meeting the pedagogical challenge of constructing complex and difficult knowledges in public historical settings.

One of the most wonderful opportunities of public history is the occasion to invite the public to see the network of relationships that make our present out of our pasts, and the podcast really seems to have found an admirable path here. Disease and mobility, sex work and gender, Indigeneity and place – ReCollections imparts crucial contexts for present, live questions in Canadian society.

It’s a fine example of excellence achieved via working with integrity and respect, and a valuable contribution to our Canadian public historical landscape.