Ed's dedication to public history was recognized by a National Humanities Medal awarded by President Barack Obama in 2013 hailing his "commitment to making our history as widely available and accessible as possible." The following projects exemplify his ongoing engagement with American public life.
BackStory is a podcast that brings historical perspective to the events happening around us today. On each show, historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly, and Joanne Freeman (with occasional help from host emeritus Peter Onuf) tear a topic from the headlines and plumb its historical depths. Over the course of the hour, they are joined by fellow historians, people in the news, and callers interested in exploring the roots of what’s going on today. Together, they drill down to reveal the connections—and disconnections—between past and present. With its passionate, intelligent, and irreverent approach, BackStory is fun and essential listening no matter who you are.
Bunk will be a home for a vast array of American history-related media, ranging from archival oddities to born-digital scholarship to the op-ed pages of today. The site will feature original interpretations of the past and its intersections with the present, and stand as a unique laboratory for new forms of history writing and creation, in multiple media, across time, subject, and genre.
American Civil War Museum
Following a major expansion currently underway, the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, will be the nation's preeminent center for exploration of the American Civil War and its legacies from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians.
Learn more at acwm.org →
Selected videos of Ed's work in Public History
Selected articles and essays in Public History
- "Our Silent Civil War: Debate over Statues Didn’t Come Out of Thin Air," Salon, October 21, 2017
- "Remembering Appomattox," Southern Cultures, Volume 21, Issue 4, December 2015
- "The Meaning of Bull Run," New York Times, July 24, 2011
- "The Causes of the Civil War, 2.0," New York Times, April 28, 2011
- "The Civil War: 10 Things You Should Know (but probably don’t)," New York Times Upfront, April 4, 2011
- "The First Occupation," New York Times, May 29, 2005
Selected press about Ed's work in Public History
- Field Studio, "Richmond's Journey," April 3, 2015
- Chronicle of Higher Education, "U. of Richmond's Leader Pushes City to Face Its Slave History," by Jack Stripling, June 12, 2011
- Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The Future of Richmond's Past," Co-authored by Ed and 16 other community leaders in Richmond, Virginia, February 7, 2010