01:30 PM to 02:45 PM TR
Section Information for Spring 2018
“History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to lie in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today.”—Henry Ford
“Memories are their own descendants masquerading as the ancestors of the present.”—David Mitchell
“The truth is that time will make truth irrelevant.”—Andrei Codrescu
This class explores the role of historical memory in shaping our understanding of the past by examining the history of museums in the United States, the role of movies in shaping public conceptions of American history, and the influence of celebrations and commemorations in creating a usable past. We will start by examining the role of museums and public performances, such as pageants and parades, in American society and try to come to a better understanding of how places of public celebration and ceremony influence the telling of America’s past. Did you know that many of the United States’ best know museums and monument were constructed during a forty-year span between the 1880s and the 1920s? The class will take trips to local/national museums, meet with museum professionals, and explore public history sites in Northern Virginia. In the end, we will examine the role of museums in shaping our understanding of an increasingly diverse American population.