Greetings from the Public History Project! As summer winds down and the new school year gets underway, we’re hard at work putting the final touches on the Project’s upcoming exhibit, Sifting & Reckoning: UW–Madison’s History of Exclusion and Resistance, opening September 12 at the Chazen Museum of Art. For this month’s newsletter, we’re excited to share some special exhibit sneak peeks and archival finds, along with events, new book recommendations and more!

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Public History Project is a multi-year effort to uncover and give voice to those who experienced, challenged, and overcame prejudice on campus. As always, if you have a story to share, an event you think should be researched, or a person you think has been overlooked, please email us at 
Did we mention we’re hard at work putting together our upcoming exhibit at the Chazen? Panels are being installed, vinyl backgrounds are going up and archival objects are being unpacked. It’s all coming together! 

To get access to more behind-the-scenes content make sure to follow the Project’s Instagram @uwpublichistoryproject.
Meet one of the Project’s contributing researchers — Daniel Berman!

Daniel has been heading up development of the Project’s collection of teaching guides for educators, chock full of archival research and materials. 

Daniel is a PhD student at the UW–Madison pursuing a joint degree in Educational Policy Studies and Curriculum & Instruction. His research interests are the history of social studies and education for democratic citizenship in 20th century in America.
How do you make nearly two centuries of a university’s history come alive in fresh and meaningful ways? Well, it helps to have boatloads of archival materials that tell a story in a way that no amount of text ever could. 

Take for example the decades worth of athletics memorabilia housed in the UW Archives that illustrate how being a Badger has meant many different things over the years. To see these materials spread out and in person — you guessed it — visit Sifting & Reckoning when it opens September 12!
Want to get in on the festivities celebrating the opening of UW–Madison Public History Project’s exhibition Sifting & Reckoning: UW–Madison’s History of Exclusion and Resistance?

Join us for Student Night at the Chazen Museum of Art. Learn more about the history of UW–Madison and the impact that students, faculty, and staff have had on changing our campus community. Free food and musical performances from UW’s own First Wave!

Thursday, September 29 at 5:00 p.m. in the Chazen Mead Witter Lobby
Each month, we like to share one of the many (many… many… ) books that have helped the Public History Project’s research.  

Historian Jonathan Z. S. Pollack’s “Wisconsin, The New Home of the Jew: 150 Years of Jewish Life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison” has been an immense resource as the Project has looked into the experiences of early marginalized groups on campus. 

Pollack details the daily lives, contributions, and challenges of Jewish students, faculty, staff, and alumni over the span of  UW–Madison history, recounts the early establishment of Jewish student groups at UW that set examples for campuses nationwide, and examines the fluctuating reactions to the Jewish presence and recurring antisemitism on the part of the administration, local residents, and state government.
We get asked a lot of questions about UW history. Each month we’ll answer one in the newsletter. This month: What was the first story the Project’s curators chose to include in the Sifting & Reckoning exhibit when thinking about UW’s history?

The answer: There were a few histories that were obvious from the start, but perhaps the central one was what came before the university. Campus is located on land that was once Teejop (“four lakes”), part of the ancestral homeland of the Ho-Chunk people that has been continuously inhabited for at least 12,000 years. Understanding the university’s ties to forcibly claimed land sets the stage for its broader history of discrimination and resistance. 

Got a question? Email us
Each month Project Director Kacie Lucchini Butcher will share a book, podcast, movie, quote, or something else she thinks has been adding to the PHP. We're calling it "From The Desk of KLB"

This month we’re cheating just a bit. Not only is Clint Smith’s “How the Word Is Passed” a standout on Kacie’s bookshelf, it’s also this year’s UW–Madison Go Big Read selection. 

In his deeply researched work of nonfiction, Smith, a contributor to The Atlantic, explores the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, using both historical events and stories of people today to offer a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be. 

Keep an eye out for collaborations between Go Big Read and the Public History Project this fall.
As always, if you have a story to share, an event you think should be researched, or a person you think has been overlooked, please email us at