A timely PRemiere

      50 Comments on A timely PRemiere

The Museum of PR’s timeline features beautiful graphics depicting the history of public relations

What do Confucius and Edward Bernays have in common? Can you find a link between historical villains Genghis Khan and Joseph Goebbels? How were cave paintings, the printing press, and social media fundamental to public relations? The answers can be found in a timeline just launched by the Museum of Public Relations and sponsored by Hofstra University.

“Public Relations Through the Ages: A Timeline of Social Movements, Technology Milestones and the Rise of the Profession” uses 36 beautifully-designed slides and text to illustrate the evolution of our profession and its relationship to the development of human communication. According to the museum’s web site, “This timeline highlights the significant people, events and inventions which have connected messages and messengers through the ages.”

The timeline is the brainchild of Shelley Spector, the executive director and founder of the Museum of Public Relations, the only PR museum in the world. Shelley correctly observes that the history of PR is fundamentally tied to the evolution of communication. For thousands of years, religion, politics and essentially all human interaction have public relations skills and strategies at their foundation.

For example, within the timeline you’ll learn that ancient Greek thinker-philosophers known as “sophists” taught nobleman seeking public office the art of persuasion; Saint Patrick of Ireland helped spread Christianity by using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity; the word propaganda, the Latin word for plant and animal reproduction, was later used as a method for spreading information, most heinously by the Nazis; the Boston Tea Party was an early example of a “pseudo event” for publicity’s sake; and that many of today’s large PR agencies are run by international holding companies.

Designed by Shelley’s husband Barry Spector with input from yours truly, the timeline will serve as a superb jumping off point for students, educators and researchers alike to learn from and form a broader perspective on the practice of public relations. A narrated version will go on the road and be available for viewing soon. Please click here to take a look at the timeline and comment. Your thoughts?


50 thoughts on “A timely PRemiere

  1. Sharlys Leszczuk

    The timeline is going to open a lot of doors for the Museum of Public Relations. It will connect them to a number of industry leaders that they might not be connected to otherwise. This is a great opportunity to connect to new people on social media and with PR publications who might not know about the museum.

  2. Emily Weeks

    I think that Shelley and Barry did an fantastic job with this timeline and I think its really a great took for learning about PR and how it has advanced over time. It’s much clearer laid out like this to see how technology and advancement has lead to the adaptation of PR and how it is used.

  3. pollakvictoria

    This timeline was very organized and informational. It’s a very important tool that we can all learn from and infer back to. In order to truly understand the fundamentals of PR we must first become familiar from its origins.

  4. ariokonofuablog

    The timeline is VERY cool! The timeline shows the development of PR throughout the years and this is essential for every one in the profession to know. I’m hoping to grab a few colleagues to visit the PR Museum as it is the only one in the world.

  5. Andrea Vega

    There being a museum for Public Relations is immensely valuable. There is no way for us to fully understand the need human begins have to communicate with one another unless we can understand our past and the great lengths humankind has gone to get a message across.

  6. Pamela Lacayo

    The public relations timeline is fascinating, to say the least. It’s a great teaching tool that can be used to learn about the histories of PR. It’s like traveling back in time a looking into a world that you didn’t know existed. The best part of it, is how events such as cave paintings can be linked to PR. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have.

  7. Saralynn Kupperberg

    The public relations timeline is a fantastic tool that teaches viewers how public relations has influenced historical events, social movements, and political revolutions since the dawn of civilization. While there are many phases of public relations that I expected to find on timeline, such as the “age of digital media,” the “age of mass media,” and the “age of print” with the invention of the printing press. However, I did not expect to find such PR events as cave drawings and Egyptian hieroglyphs as a form of communication, Moses and ancient Egypt as an example of the use of a spokesperson, and Confucius whose actions showcase promoting good values. This timeline is a good resource to everyone in the public relations industry, showing all who view it that the industry that they are a part of is more than a job, and is a tool that has influenced so many events over time.

  8. Erin Schmitt

    The timeline is an informative tool that tells us just as much about human society as it does about public relations as an industry. It is extremely important for us to understand the history and evolution of communication as it lays the very groundwork for how we interact as a global community today. The digital age of media that we live in would not exist if not for the innovations of the past. Media has evolved so expansively even within the past decade that it is significant that we note the accomplishments of those before us who have made the profession what it is. It’s a great presentation for both teachers and students within the field to utilize, so I’m excited and thankful that it’s been put together!

  9. Russ benner

    This timeline is something that is truly remarkable. Having something like this at the hands of teachers and students is a game hanger. it is a tool that will be widely utilized for years to come. It is crazy to see how far the profession we all partake in has come and interesting to see where it will grow next

  10. Katie Hammer

    This timeline is an incredible tool for those in the PR profession, as well as those who are not. It lets you see just how much public relations has been a part of life since the beginning. I’m excited that I have been exposed to this, for this is an excellent way to connect with other public relations professionals. Who wouldn’t want to hear more about this timeline? I enjoy that there are links to articles that explain more in depth the evidence the timeline is describing. I believe this timeline will make history, while showing history, and for that I am grateful it was put together.

  11. Rachelg

    I am excited about this timeline. It’s pretty amazing how long of a history pr has. As a pr major, it assures me that I have chosen a profession that has grown and evolved over centuries, and will continue to flourish.

  12. Brianna Vallelong

    I think the timeline was nicely executed and very well laid out. Many fail to realize where PR originated and think in more modern terms and events when piecing together the fundamentals of the profession. It is interesting to look into the past at events that we have discussed as a class already and some that are new as a way of understanding PR.

  13. gmorah

    In my opinion, timeline is good. Having history linked to the dynamics of PR makes it, not only interesting, but also important.

    Of no doubt, timeline will be a great tool for every potential PR.

  14. shollwedel

    Seeing the history of public relations in a timeline like this just serves to illustrate the impact that the field has had throughout the course of human history. While the formal study of the field is only a century old, the forces that have formed the field have been actively shaping it since the time of the Greek philosophers. It’ll be exciting to see how the field continues to develop now that social scientists are devoting fields of study to public relations and its effects on and with the public.

  15. A.Murphy

    Timelines can be incredibly helpful in understanding the progression and progress. The field of public relations has changed so much over time and it is interesting to see how the progress of ethics has evolved over time.
    I think timelines, and this timeline in particular, are invaluable to students in understanding public relations. It will be a great tool for future students to use.

  16. Shawna Gregson

    I think this timeline is great and very helpful in seeing the progression of public relations. It’s amazing to see what an impact public relations has had on our history- I believe that people don’t give public relations as much credit as it deserves. Public relations is something that has been around since the formation of civilization and it’s exciting to see the progression and the strong impact it is still having

  17. azachar1

    I am so excited about this timeline! As we have discussed during my independent study this semester, it is critical that PR students understand the history of PR and communications in general. Shelley has done fantastic work and I am very proud to call myself a PR student here at Hofstra!

  18. SShak

    I think it is great to be able to see how far PR has come. The timeline reiterates that the tools we use as PR professionals have been used for years and can be applied to different aspects of life.

  19. capriceoliver

    This is an awesome tribute to public relations history. I love the slideshow and would like to see it in person. It’s pretty cool to know I live in the city where the only Public Relations museum exists!

  20. Nathalie

    The timeline is a wonderful educational tool that should be incorporated into every course that teaches public relations. As a student of PR, we lightly touch on various events and people of PR like Edward Bernays and the Lucky Strike March; however, we don’t go into the deep history of the practice. That’s where Shelley’s timeline comes in. It dates back to the dawn of the ages and relates those cave draws to PR. This absolutely fascinates me and I’m sure many communications students’ education will be enriched by this tool.

  21. Nikita Hakels

    The timeline looks great. It is really a great piece of information for all PR professionals. It is combine really well. This kind of work should be done often. It is really impressive.

  22. amywangsite

    I never thought of so many historical events and works were related to PR. When I looked at the timeline designed by Shelley and Barry, I felt familiar, but yet it seemed so new to me as well. We all read about the timeline of history from somewhere else before. It is amazing to know that how these events built up the foundation of PR. I think it is going to help a lot to the future PR students!

  23. Danielle Tana

    The timeline looks beautiful. Very well put together and informative. It’s interesting to see how public relations has evolved and changed. The graphics used in the timeline are also very important and helps reinforce the content in the captions. This timeline would be very useful for PR students and even some PR professionals. Well done!

  24. sabrinacwenar

    This timeline is a unique feature in the field of PR today. It truly demonstrates the amazing accomplishments through out history , from social movements, to other historically prominent events that made a difference in the PR industry. It is a wonderful opportunity for PR students and PR professionals to learn more about the industry. It is culturally enriching for the communications field to see how PR has developed through the ages.

  25. xuhansite

    I like to learn the PR timline. It is an opportunity for PR students to know the history of PR. At the same time, the Museum of Public Relations educates us from many perspectives and different cultural angles. It is amazing that it is the only PR museum in the world.

  26. taylorpirone20

    I loved this timeline. It is an incredibly educational read. It is amazing to see how far PR has come from the very beginning. It will be interesting to continue to watch PR and other fields of communication develop with the advancements of technology.

  27. Vanessa Major

    Yet another creative and interesting way PR is connected to many areas. The evolution of PR is amazing and it show how much communication really is a big part of the world we live in.

  28. Judea Hartley

    This historical timeline really does a good job at educating the viewer regarding the history of public relations and how messages were exchanged. Now, one of the primary forms of communication is through social media. Messages are also communicated through meetings and phone conferences, especially dealing with large corporations. To know that messages were conveyed through sculptures and in stone years ago, really shows PR development. It also really shows how long public relations has existed. Edward Barneys served as one of the founding fathers of public relations. He knew how to get the message across in a way that was intriguing to the public.

  29. John Grillea

    This timeline is very cool and interesting. You’ve certainly showed us how PR has been around since the beginning of time throughout every culture and religion. The timeline is a great tool that connects history to various PR tools. It shows us nice insight on the evolution of communication throughout the years.

  30. Lauren Denker

    I thought this timeline was very interesting. I think it will be a great way for students to see the history of PR. Because there are just small paragraphs with a myriad of photos, people might be more inclined to read it all and stay intrigued.

  31. Kyle Kandetzki

    I love the idea of the timeline as it really brings to life the journey of communication through time. I took a mass media course a year ago, which related to communications history and development, and it is really incredible how many innovations have come about, and how the practice will be evolving forever through the future.

  32. Jillian Berardi

    This timeline is extremely well done. I really enjoyed reading about the history and evolution of PR. It’s so interesting to see how long PR has really been around. This profession has come a long way. It will be interesting to see how PR will continue to evolve in the future. This timeline is a great learning tool for everyone.

  33. Briana C

    The timeline is a great way for us to really understand how PR came to be. I think that with this timeline, we can really see how important PR is. It gives a broader perspective that others will understand while also informing us of how it works in society.

  34. kn3vil

    If there is one message the Ghengis Khan could put out there, it would be that he is a real threat. Probably his “best” PR campaign is how he would rip apart his enemies. If there is any news or key message that he would have put out, this would most definitely be the most well-known.

  35. Carolyn Leonardo

    This timeline is a great look into how long communication and PR has been around. The start of it goes so far back that it’s interesting to look at the timeline and see how it has changed with evolution.

  36. Tiffany Vellis

    After taking a quick look at the timeline, it’s even more clear that the history of communication is intertwined with the evolution of PR. As we’ve learned extensively in class, the only way to be successful in PR is to understand the times and of course, the target audience, and furthermore, finding the best way to connect the two.

  37. Lysa Carre

    I am fascinated by this timeline and love the Hofstra logos featured on it. I take pride in attending this school for my graduate studies and believe it is the best academic setting to be in for students majoring in PR. Everything we do and say is public relations. Therefore, its awesome to view how PR has impacted society from the beginning of time. My favorite aspects of the timeline are the features of Greece and Egypt. The Greeks and Egyptians have influenced society tremendously and it is a great joy to see these cultures be a part of the PR museum’s timeline.

  38. kristinaweller

    I think that this timeline really puts into perspective how long public relations has been around, even in its earliest and more unrecognizable forms. PR definitely isn’t a profession that exists solely through social media, it has existed long before technology began gaining prominence.

  39. Tyler Weatherly

    Thinking back to your previous post about the earliest forms of PR is really interesting. It’s truly amazing to look at the evolution of communication through a historical lens. From cave drawings to interactive media; it really makes you wonder what the future has to offer this continuously evolving profession!

  40. Bahati Louis

    I notice how even back in ancient times people are using the same communication skills as today- persuasion. The fact that PR is still an evolving field is interesting to me because it should have been established a long time ago since it’s so relevant to a lot of different professions. I appreciate how they made the timeline because I wouldn’t have thought of all the ways public relations related to these histories.

  41. Elizabeth Giangarra

    I truly enjoying reading about the PR timeline and felt that it was certainly filled with vital information.The historian connection and the evolution of the profession was very interesting and exciting to learn about. I felt that it truly has an impeccable impact on the practice of communications and is another tool to be used in the profession.

  42. Lauren A.

    I think having a PR timeline open to the pubic is good, and really interesting. It proves PR is more than just tweeting things for a company. It is also fascinating to see how long PR has been around for and seeing the similarities and differences between then and now.

  43. laurenconway97

    I really enjoyed looking at the timeline. It consisted of interesting pictures and facts that really proved how long PR has been around. History really does influence our present culture and I think it is important for people to know that. It is a great tool for students and will influence many.

  44. Ashley Fazio

    It is amazing to see this timeline of events and how the past really does influence the future. PR is not only a tool used today, but like you said “For thousands of years, religion, politics and essentially all human interaction have public relations skills and strategies at their foundation.” It is great that the Museum of Public Relations has made such a great tool.

  45. Elaine

    After seeing the timeline, I knew public relations has existed thousands years ago. Even if there isn’t a professional to deal with PR problem at that age, public relations is also an important part in people’s life. From the Empire to the Digtal age, PR has a good developing. As a PR person we need to do better.

  46. Emily Racanelli

    I can’t believe how interconnected everything is! I think sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the world we live in today would not exist without the past.
    I feel this timeline is indeed a wonderful learning point because is visually exemplifies just how much our world has changed. When reading in a textbook, it takes a semester to go through the motions, spending weeks on just one era. We don’t really put the pieces together and think about important all of this history really is.
    These minor developments from the Stone Age and from ancient writings have allowed us to build as we go along. The timeline gives us a little inside look into how the profession has come about.
    It makes me wonder, what other professions have their roots traced back this deep? What world would we be living in if not for prior strides?

  47. syanok

    After reading your post and looking at the timeline, I think it is very well done. This timeline has history connected to the evolving practice of public relations which makes it more interesting. It incorporates visuals with information very well and I like that it ends with virtual reality because of its potential to impact communications practices and become another tool for us to use more frequently.


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