African culture was a particularly major component in the development of southern U.S. culture as well as American culture as a whole. In interpreting American and largely southern history, it is so easy to slip into saying how certain great and wealthy men built this and grew that, when in reality much of what is spoken of was not only done by the labor of enslaved African Americans, but were also accomplished through the skill and knowledge of these people. These skills were passed from generation to generation and have often carried forward to today.
ALHFAM defines itself as "An Organization of People Who Bring History to Life." But whose history are we bringing to life? Our organization is overwhelming white. Can we truly bring history to life, all of it not just the pretty parts, when our membership and the living history field is a mass of shinny white faces?
The enslavement of Africans in the Western Hemisphere was the most brutal form of slavery known to mankind. It dehumanized victims; it classified them as less than human beings. The victims had no claim to their families, their culture tradition or humanity. They were considered chattel property. Basically, they had "no rights that whites were… Continue reading Resources for Interpreting Slavery
Excerpt of an article written in 2006 by Martha B. Katz-Hyman, Independent Scholar ALHFAM members can access the full text of this article and thousands more though the A.S.K. database. Not a member? Join today! For many historic sites and living history museums, making collections more relevant to cultures and peoples not usually associated with… Continue reading Who Knew? Finding Multicultural Stories in Your Own Attic
The pfut-pfut-pfut of the tractor engine, the slapping belt, the clacks and rattles of the thresher did draw some people to the fence of the show ring at the fairgrounds. The public, ready for the sensory appeal of carnival rides, food trucks and other vendors, found instead an active agricultural display. Threshing day at the… Continue reading I was told if you want to attract a crowd, make some noise.
The end of the nineteenth century and first few decades of the twentieth century are considered by many to be the "Golden Age" of Halloween celebrations in the United States. Before the advent of trick-or-treating as we know it, the Victorians and their successors enjoyed hosting and attending Halloween parties, complete with seasonal decorations, festive foods, homemade costumes and a variety of games and stunts. Learn how to turn this bit of history into a fun event at a museum or historic sites.
by Jessica Michonski Monticello Gardens, photo by the author To visit the home of a historical figure is always an experience to be partaken…especially for a historian. In July 2019, I had the privilege to visit Monticello – Jefferson’s estate in the mountains of Virginia – while on vacation with my family. I was enthralled… Continue reading Farmer Tom…Forgotten?
Excerpt of an article written by Clarissa F. Dillon, 2003, Past Masters in Early American Domestic Arts, Haverford, Pennsylvania. ALHFAM members can access the full text of this article and thousands more though the A.S.K. database. Not a member? Join today! There are many reasons why some colonial cooks are faced with sites that won't… Continue reading Colonial Cooking: When THEY Won’t Let You Use the Hearth
By Kimberly Costa, Independent Historian The main goal of any first- or third-person interpreter is to engage the visitor on a level meaningful to that visitor. To engage can mean a myriad of things: to capture their attention, teach a lesson, give a point of view, to shock the senses or simply to make the… Continue reading Dealing with the Disconnected Visitor