b'FEATURED ARTICLET horough, thoughtful schoolA great school history project can also history is a timeless investmentbe a rewarding experience for the and commissioning aentire school community as it provides professional historian is the safestmany opportunities for participation and most efficient way to secure suchand reflection. an asset. Inviting the entire school community to participate adds a dimension to the history that archivalHaving a professional historian visiting documents cannot provide.your school is akin to having a writer-in-residence who will serve to stimulate new connections between past and A professional historian knows howpresent members of the community. to marshal such diverse resource material, how to assess, analyse and organise its complex content, and toAlumni, in particular, may become advise on the most appropriate form ofmore interested and involved in disseminating the fascinating story thatschool events as a consequence of a will inevitably emerge. commissioned history project. Some Since 1994 HistorySmithshave even reconnected with their has been commissioned byschool directly as a result of the school several independent schoolsThe traditional outcome of a historyhistory project because of a search for to write their histories,project is a book. Most Alumni willmissing archival sources, the need to including the schools listedappreciate and cherish it, becausefill particular gaps, or simply because below: a book is a familiar, tangible, tactilethey were invited to be interviewed. and very personal object. It alsoFor example, the donation of copies of becomes a lasting legacy for a muchan underground student newspaper broader community because it willproved an exciting historical addition automatically be placed in state andto one schools archives. In another national libraries.project, one interviewee was later asked by the principal to be the guest speaker at speech night. It is this Beyond books, a schools story mayactive involvement with aspects of the also be celebrated through exhibitionsschools heritage that the community or websites, as well as a history trailvalues. around the school, a short film or a digital timeline. Reconnection through history provides a stimulating and, for some, especially Any of these outcomes could becomeattractive alternative to attending useful curriculum resources in thereunion dinners or sporting events.classroom. History also has the power to heal What better way to engage yourpast rifts. After a silence of 20 years, students in the examination of historya former senior leader at one school than to begin with learning so muchaccepted an invitation to participate more about a place that is already soin the oral history program. A former familiar?student from another school came to terms with unhappy school experiences School history can also serve as anthrough the cathartic oral history engaging way to market your schoolsinterview process. Several school traditions, facilities and achievements.principals have remarked about the A history books launch can be aways in which historical reflection and fabulous highlight in the calendar ofnewly discovered knowledge have celebrations for your schools specialbenefited their understanding of the anniversary year. Books can beinstitutions they lead.presented as prizes for students, and as commemorative gifts to Alumni or honoured guests. OCTOBER 2020 35'