Shared inquiry is a key component of reflective public history practice. All good historical practice is reflective, but public history requires a special commitment to collaborate, to respond, to share both inquiry and authority. Because trained practitioners and lay people often seek different pasts for different purposes, public historians may find themselves poised between advocacy and mediation, monitoring and adjusting their own behavior through the process of shared inquiry. Since public history is inherently situational, there is no one-size-fits-all methodology. Drawing on thirty years of shared public history experience, the authors reflect on situations in which they strove to share both inquiry and authority.
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