Managing History Blog 5, Intimacies in Public History

In Private History in Public : Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life by Tammy Gordon private and public cross reference with high and low sensibility as well as class differenceThe idea of the intimacies that public history displays was interesting to consider in relation to Elfreth’s Alley; with the class dynamics already in place within the community and it’s current historical model in place largely due to the economic backgrounds of the residents as well as its proximity to larger historical sites achieving the sort of intimacy on display in Gordon’s work is questionable. I did take some issue with Gordon’s initial portrayal of the Yooper museum; as someone from the region it comes off a bit condescending. While I do see the appreciation that Gordon displays and the statement that she “doesn’t look down her nose” at people the sort of ethnographic style was initially off putting. What could possibly help would be looking to Stanton’s work, The Lowell Experiment: Public History in a Postindustrial City. The book is concerned with the creation of public history in the town of Lowell, Massachusetts and the cultural critique and internal conflict that formed said public history. While the labor history is unique to Lowell, and while we can see in the epilogue that there was more going on and more concealed than Stanton had initially realized it still can serve as an inspiration for the level of progressive critique that it displays.

Leave a comment