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The Public Heritage Institute (PHI) is a non-profit research and teaching organization that was founded by Dr. Raffaele Florio in 2006 in Rhode Island. In 2007, PHI was institutionalized at the Community College of Rhode Island in collaboration with Rhode Island College and Salve Regina University. Under the auspices of Dr. Florio, the Public Heritage Institute moved to Regis College in 2009.
The main focus of the Public Heritage Institute is to bring together students and faculty from different fields who are dedicated to a common goal: making history relevant and well received in contemporary culture. The Institute’s prime objective is to reach out to a number of different organizations, including: local agencies, historical societies, cultural organizations, museums, and cultural resource management companies, in order so that we are able to provide accurate and well-documented research to everyday people, which we hope will be well received by the Greater Boston community. Our hope is that the populace will be receptive in that they will have a new and open-minded understanding of history. With this understanding, they will be able to appreciate written history, folklore, legends, and the like. When people are willing to open their minds to new and interesting knowledge, this organization feels a sense of accomplishment.
It is our mission to bridge the gaps not only between academic disciplines and their methods, but also between academic institutions and the communities, which they serve. We are historians, anthropologists, folklorists, preservationists, archeologists, ethnographers, artists, curators, culturists, craftsmen, and community leaders who wish to share their expertise.
Holistic history attempts to dissect the “the story people tell themselves about themselves" and to understand what is written and what is left behind. Holistic history is not a methodology designed to replace more traditional approaches to historical inquiry; it depends on it. In addition it depends on the work of several other disciplines: archaeology, art history, the classics, and anthropology.