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.
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
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?
I realize the title of this blog could confuse. It is quite logical, given our organization's mission, that I might literally be referring to promoting ALHFAM in a field. However, in this case I'm speaking of the larger "museum field" at the American Association for State and Local History conference last week. Still bountiful but… Continue reading Promoting ALHFAM “in the Field”
I recently read an article on the benefits of collections-based research. The author stated the following: "A canned program* performs a social function. It brings together members and visitors for an enjoyable experience, adds to attendance figures, and may promote repeat visitation. It is often educational, and at its best truly thought provoking. But its… Continue reading Canned Programming for Museums: Healthy?
"I knew by mid-morning on Friday (in the deluge) that this was going to be the Mid-Atlantic ALHFAM conference that all others will be measured against for the next ten years. Because everyone who attended is going to be talking about it for at least that long - maybe longer. And those who didn’t attend,… Continue reading Caps and Boats and Lead Coffins: The ALHFAM Mid-Atlantic Region Conference in Review (and Photos!)
“How many of us have cringed, if ever so slightly, when we encountered a costumed, overzealous re-enactor performing a historic narrative . . .” –The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums. Two weeks ago I shared some impressions on the book quoted above. In that blog I said, “Living history, with the exception of a… Continue reading Is there “ . . . awkwardness in the pretense of the pretend . . . ?”
Last week I blogged about my ALHFAM plow match experience and how it allowed me to experience an "artifact" in a new and thought-provoking way. I believe these experiences help museum professionals interpret the past. The knowledge we gain when we try our hand at a historic skill, using appropriate tools, far surpasses anything we… Continue reading Romanticizing the Past?