Memorials and Tourism

Harriet Senie, in Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11, builds on work I’ve read previously for public history, including Kirk Savage’s Monument Wars, Marita Sturken’s Tourists of History, and Edward Linenthal’s The Unfinished Bombing. Senie examines The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Oklahoma City memorial, the Columbine High School memorial, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Each … [Read more]

The Holocaust and Memory

Edward Linenthal, in Preserving Memory: The Struggles to Create America’s Holocaust Museum, examines the challenges faced by those who took part in establishing the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and the ways in which Holocaust memory was defined and determined at that site by ideas, objects, and people. Linenthal begins by detailing the creation of … [Read more]

Contested Public Spaces

This week’s readings focused on public space, memorials, and nationhood. Owen Dwyer and Derek Alderman’s Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory has an interesting premise: the authors examine the politics of producing civil rights memorials and the ways in which the Civil Rights Movement is presented in public space. They are looking at what … [Read more]

Historic House Museums

Jennifer Pustz, in Voices from the Back Stairs: Interpreting Servants’ Lives at Historic House Museums presents a fascinating look at the ways in which historic house museums can integrate class into their interpretations of the past through analyzing the work of domestic servants. She is responding to Crew and Sims’s “Locating Authenticity: Fragments of a Dialogue,” and to … [Read more]

Commemorating Slavery and Freedom and the Creation of the Lost Cause

Kirk Savage’s Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth Century America is a study of how the history of slavery and freedom was communicated publicly through monuments. He writes that his book “explores how that history of slavery and its violent end was told in public space–specifically in the sculptural monuments that increasingly … [Read more]

Indigenous Representation; the American West

In Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums, Amy Lonetree comparatively analyzes the representation of Native Americans at national and tribal museums at Mille Lacs Indian Museum, National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways. Lonetree is interested in examining the role museums play within contemporary Indigenous … [Read more]

The Evolution of Museums

Catherine Lewis, in The Changing Face of Public History: The Chicago Historical Society and the Transformation of an American Museum, uses the Chicago Historical Society (CHS) as a case study through which to examine the rise of multiculturalism, erosion of expert authority,  culture wars, and the consequences of blending popular and academic understandings of the past … [Read more]