Last year I was lucky to be able to attend the opening of the ‘A Time For Change’ exhibit at […]
Posts by Levi Fox:
Inspired by the upcoming NPS centennial, which President Obama discussed in his most recent weekly address, I have spent parts of this summer posting about my visits to mid-western memorials, parks, and sites run by the NPS from central Ohio to eastern Missouri through a blog I named the National Park History Tour. Of course, one need not travel outside the Mid-Atlantic to learn about the past from the NPS, in fact one can cover over a century of American history in a weekend in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The local Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which runs from July 25 to July 28, consciously draws on the city’s key role in prior American political events in using the tagline “Lets Make History Again” as part of its marketing campaign. DNC week also offers a chance for both conventioneers and the general public to learn about American political history through a series of seven exhibits around Philadelphia collectively called PoliticalFest, which run from July 22 to July 27.
Although I did not realize it at the time, my first public history ‘gig’ was my high school summer job giving tours of Lucy the Elephant, a national historic landmark in Margate that was built in 1881 to draw potential land buyers to what was then the sparsely populated borough of ‘South Atlantic City.’ At that point the belly of the beast resembled a small gallery displaying a range of local historical artifacts, including a horse-drawn firehose cart, which were soon removed to the just opened Margate Historical Society Museum where they stayed on exhibit until the building itself was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The September 2016 opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture offers a timely opportunity to evaluate how existing branches of the Smithsonian represent the era of Reconstruction, a period about which public opinion “matters more than most historical subjects” because “it forces us to think about what kind of society we wish America to be,” according to historian Eric Foner in a March 2015 Op-Ed in the New York Times.
George Washington related public history has long been a cottage industry in the United States, from his birthplace in Virginia to the cities in which he stayed during the Revolution such as Valley Forge and Morristown, where I recently spent a day taking in the eighteenth century living history weekend displays of apple pressing and hops harvesting. …