JUST ADDED: Closing Reception Potluck

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We have been having such a wonderful time sharing our first exhibition with Philadelphia that we have decided to close our month at Little Berlin with a potluck dinner from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26th.  Bring a dish and chat with the truck team about the curatorial process.  Share more stories and make another memory of East Kensington.
RSVP is not required, but appreciated.  Let us know what dish you plan to share! phillyhistorytruck@gmail.com



**Having trouble finding Little Berlin?**
Little Berlin is in the Viking Mill studio building
(this building has two murals, one of which is an angel)
at 2430 Coral St. in Kensington accessible through
the art studio building parking lot on Coral St., then head to the back of the courtyard and
up the cement steps to the wooden door.


Manufacturing Fire opens April 4th!

“Cities are and have always been fire places.”
-Steven Pyne, Fire: A Brief History


April 4th – April 26th 
Philadelphia Public History Truck presents…
Manufacturing Fire
Does East Kensington manufacture fire?  What is fire anyway?
Little Berlin  | 2430 Coral St.  | Opening Friday, April 4th 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Gallery Hours Saturdays 12-5 p.m. or by appointment
phillyhistorytruck@gmail.com  | facebook.com/phillyhistorytruck  | @historytruck

The Philadelphia Public History Truck is pleased to debut its first stationary community exhibition entitled Manufacturing Fire about the neighborhood of East Kensington. Manufacturing Fire examines fire and activism in this place while challenging us all to consider the critical danger in creating racial boundaries. Taste soup and listen to oral histories. Explore community-submitted objects as well as work by the truck team, Maria Möller, Lewis Colburn, Peter Woodall, a collaboration between John Abner and Erin Bernard, and more.

Curated by Erin Bernard
with Jordan Klein, Exhibition Design Consultant and Grace Diagostino, Research Associate.

Thanks to Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives (Paley Library, Temple University), Historical Society of Pennsylvania, East Kensington Neighbors Association (EKNA), St Francis Inn Ministries, and Kensington Community Food Co-op.

Opening Friday April 4th 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Gallery hours Saturdays through April 26th 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. or by appointment. Contact phillyhistorytruck@gmail.com.

*History Truck begins the traveling version of this exhibition in May.*

We’re headed to 15th & Susquehanna Ave.!

Dear Friends,

I’m writing with good news that I’ll be presenting at Philly Stake, a recurring microgrant funding dinner and competition that funds locally-based creative community engagement projects in Philadelphia.  All presenters are given three minutes to present their project and compete for funding.  All in attendance at the dinner VOTE for the winning project.  This dinner is being held at the First Unitarian Church at 21st and Chestnut St. on Sunday, February 16th from 5-8 p.m.  Come out, drink, eat and vote! Purchase tickets here.
From July 2014-June 2015, we are moving our work to the neighborhood just north of Temple University to put our History Truck: North Philly exhibit cycle into action with an expansive role in artistic programming.  There is much to share about the second leg of the History Truck’s journey, but for starters, here is a list of partners.
 (Want in?  Contact Erin to find out how the Truck can work with you.  We love new friends.)
At Philly Stake, we are asking for funding for the portion of History Truck: North Philly which directly relates to Tree House Books, a nonprofit cultural literacy center at 15th and Susquehanna Ave.  Public historian Erin Bernard (that’s me) has partnered with Collagist Theodore Harris (Founder/Director of the IASBA) to lead Tree House Books campers in July 2014 through the design and curation of a history exhibit utilizing oral history interviews of neighborhood community members and collage in the context of the summer reading curriculum.   Bernard will specialize in guiding students through the interview process.  Harris will specialize in leading the campers with interpreting oral histories using collage.  Works created by campers will be put up in a mini-exhibit at Tree House for the end of summer party, but also included in the full Truck exhibition in June 2015.  All recorded interviews and the truck project itself will be archived in Temple’s Special Collections Research Center.  The grant request budget includes historically-based reading/curriculum materials, a student audio recorder, collage materials, and small stipends for both Erin and Theodore.

So come out, eat, drink and vote for the Truck!  You can purchase tickets here!  If you cannot make it on the 16th, but know a friend who may like to come out and support, please spread the word!  If you would like to support the truck, but cannot attend this dinner, please reach out to me personally.  We need you!  (Please be sure to check out our sponsors page on our website, too, so that you can shop from awesome history truck-supporting institutions and vendors!)
Thank you for your time and consideration!
Many of you are already dear friends of our project, and we are continuously grateful for your support.
erin bernard
founding director & chief curator
philadelphia public history truck

Theodore Harris is the founder/director of the Institute for the Advanced Study in Black Aesthetics.  He was a founding artist of the Mural Arts Program.  In 2006, he co-authored the book Our Flesh of Flames with Amiri Baraka and has led collage workshops in prisons and mental health facilities.  Recently, he presented his work at McGill University.  Theodore’s studio is at 9th & Dauphin St.

Curatorial Update

Dear Friends,

Well, hey!  It has been awhile.  Time flies when you’re having fun… or researching a neighborhood history exhibition.  Either way, things are moving along with the History Truck’s first exhibit cycle, and we are excited to share some very exciting updates.


Our most important news is that every oral history recording and the truck project itself is going to be archived in the Special Collections Research Center of the Temple University Libraries.  As those who are familiar with this project know, much of the truck’s effort– beyond community building– is about capturing fleeting histories in a rapidly changing Philadelphia.  Now, we have a solid, ongoing partnership which solidifies that every moment we spend with people doing our work is going to be remembered.  We view this as a huge moment for our project and in the longstanding public history conversation regarding “what we choose to remember.”

Secondly, we’re a growing family!  Temple University has generously funded an undergraduate research associate for the project this spring.  I could not be more thrilled to have another historian working with me.  So, welcome, Grace!  Check our her bio on the trucker page.


The break between semesters has been a huge rush of research.  I have been looking to put trends in oral history conversations into context with archival documentation, and I have found some things that are perplexing.  Many of the issues shared with me today about East Kensington were also of concern in the early twentieth century.  What does that mean?  I am not sure, and I don’t think I am going to make that deduction with this exhibit, but I plan to stage an exhibit with Jordan (our EK exhibition designer), Grace, and all of the EK community which will help us all frame questions about future steps in this neighborhood with an air of creative reflection.  What issues am I referring to here?  Well, you’ll have to wait until the exhibit is fully announced for that information.

BUT!  I can tell you the opening will be Friday, April 4, 2014 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Little Berlin at 2430 Coral St. in the Viking Mill building. Gallery hours are 12-5 p.m. Saturday and by special appointment.

We’ve got years worth of programming in the works, too, folks, and we’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon to fundraise for a permanent vehicle!  In the meantime, we need an iPad.  Got one you don’t use anymore?  Donate it to the truck project!  You will see it in action during exhibition.  E-mail me anytime, whether you have a donation or a question or anything else – phillyhistorytruck@gmail.com.

Be well,

October Photo Review



There is so much to share about the truck’s month of events in Kensington.  We are still digesting the wonderful content, friendship, and time spent this month.  While we organize a written update, please enjoy some photos!

PIE AM KENSINGTON : Friday, October 4, 2013. 5-8 p.m. Little Berlin fairgrounds

Pie, Cider, Memory Mapping, Question Building, Open Air Curatorial Conversations…
Sponsored by Sweetsboro Pastry Shoppe & Sweet Freedom Bakery

IMG_1343pie am kensington 2


STORYTELLING BLOCK PARTY: Saturday, October 19, 2013. 12 p.m.-6p.m. E. Huntingdon St.
Cook Out, Ice Cream, Oral History Interviews, Object Storycircles, Memory Mapping, Imagining Community, Question Building, Corn Hole, and Community Fun!

foodparty littlebabys
This event was sponsored by EKNA, Kensington Community Food Co-op & Little Baby’s Ice Cream.

Memory Mapping… the first memory of East Kensington.

memorymapblockparty memory map

 Imagining Community… (drawing “where we live.”)


Oral History & Storytelling…
juan issi story interviewtruck storycircle

Clean Up this Saturday!

Attention friends of the History Truck! Volunteer this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. as East Kensington Neighbors Association leads a neighborhood clean up, including the 1800 block of E. Huntingdon St. 

Let’s make this block gorgeous and ready for our block party on the 19th. EKNA will provide tools, gloves, and trash bags. All the volunteers that work that day are invited to a BBQ at Philadelphia Brewing Company at 12:30.

Be at the 1800 block of E. Huntingdon St. at 9:30 ready to go. If you have further questions, e-mail phillyhistorytruck@gmail.com.