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Who owns America's past?: the Smithsonian and the problem of history

Book Cover
Average Rating
Publisher:
The Johns Hopkins University Press,
Pub. Date:
2013.
Language:
English
Description

In 1994, when the National Air and Space Museum announced plans to display the Enola Gay , the B-29 sent to destroy Hiroshima with an atomic bomb, the ensuing political uproar caught the museum's parent Smithsonian Institution entirely unprepared. As the largest such complex in the world, the Smithsonian cares for millions of objects and has displayed everything from George Washington's sword to moon rocks to Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Why did this particular object arouse such controversy? From an insider's perspective, Robert C. Post's Who Owns America's Past? offers insight into the politics of display and the interpretation of history.

Never before has a book about the Smithsonian detailed the recent and dramatic shift from collection-driven shows, with artifacts meant to speak for themselves, to concept-driven exhibitions, in which objects aim to tell a story, displayed like illustrations in a book. Even more recently, the trend is to show artifacts along with props, sound effects, and interactive elements in order to create an immersive environment. Rather than looking at history, visitors are invited to experience it.

Who Owns America's Past? examines the different ways that the Smithsonian's exhibitions have been conceived and designed--whether to educate visitors, celebrate an important historical moment, or satisfy donor demands or partisan agendas. Combining information from hitherto-untapped archival sources, extensive interviews, a thorough review of the secondary literature, and considerable personal experience, Post gives the reader a behind-the-scenes view of disputes among curators, academics, and stakeholders that were sometimes private and at other times burst into headline news.

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ISBN:
9781421422589
9781421411002
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID e461005d-5292-a1bc-a52f-8c58e5d706f3
Grouping Title who owns america s past the smithsonian and the problem of history
Grouping Author post robert c
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-08-11 04:21:02AM
Last Indexed 2018-10-21 04:29:03AM

Solr Details

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display_description "From an insider's perspective, Robert C. Post ... offers insight into the politics of display and the interpretation of history. Never before has a book about the Smithsonian detailed the recent and dramatic shift from collection-driven shows, with artifacts meant to speak for themselves, to concept-driven exhibitions, in which objects aim to tell a story, displayed like illustrations in a book."--Jacket.
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record_details ils:.b15004235|Book|Books||English|The Johns Hopkins University Press,|2013.|xxvi, 370 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Museums -- Political aspects -- United States, Museums -- Social aspects -- United States, Public history -- United States, Smithsonian Institution -- History
title_display Who owns America's past? : the Smithsonian and the problem of history
title_full Who owns America's past? : the Smithsonian and the problem of history / Robert C. Post
title_short Who owns America's past? :
title_sub the Smithsonian and the problem of history
topic_facet History, Museums, Political aspects, Public history, Social aspects