The other week, I had the opportunity to visit Independence Hall and the surrounding area. Due to human error on my part, and the maze of road closures on the part of the President, I unfortunately missed the group and was thus left to my own devices. I started my self-guided tour walking around the grounds of Independence Hall. The last time I’d been to Independence Hall, I was a child, and have little memory of that trip, so as I walked around, both inside and outside, it was very much like experiencing it for the first time.
As I walked around the Mall, the narrative that was trying to be conveyed became quite obvious. The preservation of the buildings and rooms, the cobblestones streets that surrounded the Mall, and the expansive green space that continued for two blocks. All of these things, were working together to transport the viewer back to the time of independence and more importantly, the time of Americas greatness. Given the current political climate, I could not walk around, seeing all this, without a applying a very critical and political lens. When I walked through Congress Hall, and Independence Hall, these places took on a whole new meaning, within the context of today. It made me think of how, the meaning of a public historical site can change, because the audience brings their own bias with them. Maybe, if my political feelings were different, I would have viewed Independence Hall as this beacon of democracy and all around great place. However, because I brought those bias’s with me, those feelings were lost on me.