History, Disrupted: Meet History Club Host Jason Steinhauer (Podcast)

Mia Quagliarello / January 25, 2022

“Sometimes in the Jewish imagination, but definitely in the broader public imagination, people reduce all of Jewish history to the Holocaust. And so I think one of the responsibilities that curators have is to show the rich panoply of Jewish experience beyond just 1939-1945…and to create access points to those histories.” — Jason Steinhauer 

History Club founder Jason Steinhauer is a curator with such deep and varied experience that it’s hard to know where to start. Do we begin with the popular Clubhouse conversations he hosts on Thursday nights? His new book about how social media and the Web have changed the past? Or with any one of the curatorial/archivist roles he’s had at places like the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Chinese in America?

Instead, the conversation begins with a curatorial experience centered on a topic core to his identity, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. The grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Jason was part of the team behind an award-winning exhibition about American Jews in the Second World War. He brings a perspective to history — and how we experience stories from the past — that incorporates media, tech, culture and his own Jewish faith. 

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings:

  • Growing up a “museum nerd”
  • Unique pressures of curating for a Holocaust museum
  • How one begins to curate Jewish stories 
  • What curators of Jewish history need to consider that other curators do not
  • What makes a good historian and how that is different from what makes a good curator of history
  • Care for physical objects in a digital world
  • Inside his book, “History, Disrupted”
  • Consuming accurate, high-quality historical content on the Internet (and does Instagram count?)
  • Founding History Club and curating conversations there
  • What inspires his Clubhouse conversations
  • The throughline of his career
  • How history might judge the current day
  • Speed round: Jason’s culture picks

Browse this Storyboard to get the episode, along with Jason’s favorite books, movies, and other cultural picks. And don’t forget to follow him on Flipboard

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— Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community and newsletters, is curating the curators in “The Art of Curation” podcast