Powel House

While studying public history it has been stated time and time again that individuals that go to museums trust them because objects cannot lie. The objects at the Powel House were telling white lies throughout our visit. One of the key examples was Powel’s “bedroom” which in fact was the head servants room. Powel’s actual bedroom was instead upstairs in within that space came the discussion of when museums become popular. In Murtagh’s, “The Preservation Movement and the Private Citizen Before World War II” he discusses how historic preservation often takes place during times of crisis. The examples that he gives includes the post Civil War  for the Southerns who went on to preserve the house of their great men and the turn of the century with the influx of immigrants coming from southern and eastern Europe. It was interesting to hear that Philadelphia experience a similar boom of tourism and patriotism after 9/11 and is expecting/experiencing a similar boom now with the election of Donald Trump (maybe this means that there will be more public history jobs in the next four years, fingers crossed). One question that I regret not asking was, what is their left to preserve? Another interesting aspect from this tour that strongly resonated with me is the idea that public history does not necessarily have to be completed in a physical location but instead may be conducted in the virtual world. The trouble with virtual museums is that one cannot interact with and view objects. The power of physically being there is a strange and strong power.

Powel House http://www.mynextvictim.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/powel.jpg

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