Play Dead (Reaction Paper 9)

Oh boy did this week readings provide a reaction. The Confederates in the Attic written by Tony Horwitz tells the story how people felt in the south today about the civil war and segregation. Their interpretation is completely different than that of the Yankee. Another interpretation is how National Parks Services differ from southern US states and also different from education. Each interpretation has value, but is it accurate?

Horwitz book did not have any footnotes or bibliographies which means we cannot trace any sort of historical accuracy of his sources except perhaps acknowledgements. It would require a lot of digging to find out all the oral histories. Nonetheless the book provides colorful descriptions about how southerners felt about the war. The author goes on a big traveling tour and meet all kinds of people to help him write his book. One person he found at the Lee-Jackson party. On page 35 Tarlton says “Bunch of dirt poor farmers, most folk around here… didn’t own any slaves. He adds “The way I saw it… They [Confederate army] were fighting for their honor as men.” Horwitz then found a Charleston man like himself named Westendorff. Westendorff gave his own view how of slaves lived. “Slave quarters were called carriage houses.” (Page 61). That just the way it was.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the statue in North Carolina. The author meet up with Ward and they had a discussion about the statue. “He don’t look right.” said Ward (page 73) The statue is supposed to be a confederate troop, but it turns out to be a Yankee in confederate clothing. “Its like being told there is no Santa Clause.” Which is such a interesting anecdote. The town Kingstree decided to leave it up in case of taking it down causes more pubic stir. Walt is the last interesting character who is part of the “National Alliance, a Neo Nazi group” (page 82). His thoughts were the most vivid in his book perhaps too vivid. Something that National Park Services NPS could get in trouble for.

The NPS under went many changes making themselves split away from normal history  education. Director Horace Albright sent Verne E. Chatelain to a new way of doing history. This new history will be more research intensive than the educational school, but NPS should still be set up like a classroom. Chatelain’s successor Historian Ronald F. Lee takes this process further with new approach to interpreting history. His thought we should use all American history themes to tell our stories of National Parks. The main difference is using primary material to talk about the parks.

 

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Who Promotes History? (Reaction paper 8)

This question applies to everyone because we all spread history about our families to new family members. Often times, people see rich white aristocrats tell history because their belongs were not demolished and the fact that most rich white males are congressmen.  Other histories are pushed aside to make room for main stream history about the framers of the constitution. Its important that historians work with minority groups so we can learn their history and understand marginalized groups better.

It can be extremely difficult to talk with such groups about sensitive historical topics such as the Vietnam War, and Slavery. The impact on these events so big that we hear people still discussing that past today. Sometimes the impact has a reverse effect. In Presence of the Past  pine ridge Sioux tribe don’t celebrate 4th July because its the start of their destruction page 168. When Lincoln is taught in schools teachers don’t talk about him condemning 24 Indians and having them hung. The federal government’s ethnic cleansing stirred emotions it should not have stirred. One Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe member said to an Interviewer “I want to kill you.” Page 169. Its easy to spot the difference of how history is told between the two groups.

African Americans have a different history than Indians do, but both can be secptatible to public education’s white history. Young African Americans get to hear stories of their grandparents that were slaves. African Americans also rate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as the number 1 most important historical figure during the survey of Presence of the Past Page 171. That’s because the death  Dr. King Jr. lead to the civil rights act in 1964. Yet, W. U De Bois fighting the system before Dr. King Jr. De Bois talks about having one foot in both white and black world because he is a mix of the two (Page 172). African Americans sometime struggle to identify with De Bois because De Bois thoughts are complex and difficult to understand.

Another struggle is to decide who should set up museums for particular groups? Should it be Historians or the people? An example of this can be found in Thomas Cauvin’s Public History: A Textbook Practice page 224. A Canadian War  Museum was built to honor the Canadians who fought in WW2, but there was an issue of who was going to be displaying the history. Should the veterans or the Historians set up the Museum? The ideal is for both parties to work together, but that might not always be realistic. Another way could be to let the veterans set it up displays while the curator can assist them in showing them the best places the displays can go.

Academia Or the People?(Reaction paper 7)

Making public history can be extremely difficult, especially when writing public history. The reason being, it’s different from academic writing that most college students and professors are used to. For example, George Orwell says in Thomas Cauvin book that you should “never use a long word when a shorter one will do.” Page 117. Public history is less formal in writing style so you don’t have to write big words no one knows about. Also you are not confined to writing a particular style like you do in a book. Publishers might want you to use their writing style. In Public History you don’t worry about that. One of the most difficult task a public historian must do is grab the interest of public readers. What are some the best ways public historians can do that?

Going a little further back in the book readings on page 115 Cauvin says “…, History magazines have also been a major aspect in public history writing.” I think historical magazines is a good starting place back in the 1940’s. However, magazines are generally not free and require you to pay a subscription fee. Even if the historical magazine is free you would still need to set up an account of some kind. Most people wouldn’t do it because it’s a hassle to sign up, regardless of the little time it would take. This is why La, Seattle, New York and other Times online newspapers are awesome because it’s free and they normally report something interesting or seriously important articles like current road conditions.

Sometimes historical fictional novels can be more appealing than a highly regarded history book because it tells the story better by using emotions of the characters in it. George Beck says on page 119 that historical fiction bring up a lot of questions. Would the popularity of historical fiction novels benefit academic writing or threatened academic history? In a way, it benefits academic books because people who read historical fiction may want to read what the true history of their favorite character is. In retrospect, it can hinder academic books because historical fiction is easier and more entertaining to read, taking away the audience. Yet, its difficult to identify historical accuracy of what is being said in a historical fiction novel without proper bibliographies and foot or end notes.

Lastly one of the best ways to portray public history is using pictures and video clips. Page 121 talks about graphic novels and how should they be used in context to academic history? I think they are great with showing how some of people in the past felt about certain situations. For example, there was a civil war graphic novel promotion at my university. The pictures showed a lot more emotion than an academic book ever could. Another item which would get the public interested a lot is using historical accurate memes. The one uploaded is a painting of Henry Knox in his military uniform during the American revolution.

 

henry_knox-meme

Originally from Wikipedia

Railroad Power! (Reaction Paper 6)

Most historians know that railroads play a huge role in American society at the turn of the 20 century. Railroads help the economy, establish globalization, and start towns. Railroads also bring people, which allows them to search for the American Dream. Today we will be exploring the opportunities that railroads bring to the city of Cheney and eventually Spokane.

The first ever transnational railroad that went across a gigantic portion of the United States from Duluth, Minnesota right through Cheney, Washington. It was not always named Cheney. It was first named Willow springs and underwent various names changes until the people decided on naming the town after Benjamin P. Cheney. Benjamin P. Cheney was a big contributor in creation of this small little town, but there were other contributors that played even bigger a role in funding the Northern Pacific Railroad. Henry Villard funding a large portion of this railroad and even got the federal government on board to give him a loan. However, building railroads often displaced Indians that were already living in nearby areas. This lead to the battle of four lakes with “Yakama, Spokane, Palouse, and Coeur d’Alene tribes.” For the most part the United States Federal Government put these tribes on reservations.

Even though Indian tribes and bands were displaced by federal government there is still some good that came out of it. The railroad gave potential to not only towns, but also to universities. Eastern Washington University (EWU) was one of the first universities to be built in Washington State 1882. “Benjamin P. Cheney gave the town $10,000 to start the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy.” This later became (EWU). The railroad also gave up 8 acres of land. History.link.org is missing a contributing factor of the Moril Land Grant Act, which gave schools federal land to build on. That’s why the college must fellow federal regulations closer than other colleges that are not Moril Land Grant schools.

The last thing that the railroad brought over was famous architects. Some were trained like Harold C. Whitehouse and Ernest Price at Cornell College. Others such as Kirtland Cutter still did amazing work without a degree in engineering or architecture. Instead his degree was in art which is can be an applicable field to house building. Some of the coolest buildings were created in all sorts of styles. St. John Cathedral was built by Whitehouse and Price in classic gothical revival style. It was mostly made out of stone blocks and stained glass, but it looks amazing. It looks a lot better to see the finish product than to see the voided or superseded blueprints of the cathedral. The circle in the middle reminds me of the Late Romanesque Revival style. Often times, architects use a mix of 2-4 different styles to create a completely unique home. Kirtland Cutter is also famous for his Davenport Hotel and Mansions like the Patsy Clark Mansion. The Davenport uses the Chicago business style and late Italian renaissance revival the Patsy Clark Mansion is difficult to identify, but I would say it’s Queen Ann, with small hints of mission revival and some others.

 

Your Drunk Go Home (Jail Records of Spokane 1898-1900)

For this post I had the pleasure of looking at 1 specific jail record. A Jail record describes when, why, a person is arrested and also by what officer arrested them. Around this time Drunkenness was relatively common for citizens of Spokane. My authentic photo copy page had Drunkenness on all 38 arrests. The arrests consist of 36 male and 2 females. The majority of males were laborers. For example, Andrew Peterson, a immigrant from Sweden, was arrested at 3 am because of drunkenness. He was the only laborer who had money ($4.25) on him.

However, there were some middle class workers as well such as engineers and one writer. The writer C. L Keouf at age 28 was arrested for drunkenness at 8:00 pm and was charged, like everybody else 7 dollars for one night or two stay behind bars. Keouf was the only person on this jail record who could read and write. Its interesting to see that he got arrested at 8:00 pm. Totally different from today’s curfew.

Collections At Large (Reaction Paper 5)

In this world, people are often attracted to nostalgia from the good ol’ days. This nostalgia attraction created a want for keeping old items such as diaries, newspapers, photos, emails, and more. Eventually, people kept on collecting more and more items that led to full on collections that filled entire buildings. Upon filling buildings worth of materials discovered a problem. How would one regulate such large collections?

Well there ended being a controversy between American Historical Society and the National Archives according to Thomas Cauvin on page 29.This caused split in 1936 creating when archivist left the national archives and created the Society of American Archivists (SAA).  This split also caused a split in a different area. The split between what skills are more useful in a collection? A historian’s skill set or record management skills? The ideal is to have both historical knowledge of your collection and record management background to organize collections efficiently. Something like a B.A in history and a masters in library science would fit nicely. (SAA) Provides training courses in persevering and organizing collections. Recommend checking them out their two different certification programs.

In persevering and organizing collections it’s important to identify what collections should go where. There are various kinds of institutions such religious, government, university, and museum archives. Instead of identify what institutions carry collections like SAA does, it’s more important to note what kind of collection such as, photos, manuscripts, Ephemeras, and special collections. An example of special collection is something like the libby collection at the Museum of Arts and Culture.

Even though the SAA describe work environment, they don’t do a good job and one of their links is not working. They do not list any sort of examples of the previous institutions. I have seen two different archives the Washington State Archives and the Museum of Arts and Culture and they appear almost identical to an untrained eye. Most collections are stored in a temperature control room (60-65celsus approximate) with white shelves that are 10 feet tall. There could be anywhere of 30-100 of these shelves in an archive building. The safety hazards are paper cuts, lifting things over 50 lbs (rare occurrence), climbing ladders and staring at a computer for too long. So work environment is pretty good, especially when you compare it to a harvesting job cleaning combines.

This kind of harvesting should be reserved for people like Sandy Berger. New York Times reported that Berger illegally took manuscripts without permission of the archivist. Berger assumed that he had authority to take them under his government position. He then had to pay 50,000 dollar fine along with returning the documents. Don’t take documents without asking.You can read more about this on the this pdf called berger

Digitize Me History (Reaction Paper 4)

Digital history is a relatively new field that requires a person to learn sets of new skills that have not been available. Using internet sources and other online newspaper archives can give historians reference points to identify their collections. Yet, how can  historians use radio stations, Global Information Systems (GIS), movies and online databases effectively?

One place that organizes sources well is google. Dan Cohen’s critic of google books portrays the same feelings I have about google books. He first statement google is great for history because it”allow us to read millions of books in our pajamas.” Google has done even more for us by allowing us to access newspapers, google docs, Youtube, and gmail. Mose of these digital sources are free except for google books. For some reason google does not want to make their books free. The only free function google gives you is a preview of the  book you want to read. So why not make google books free? The reason is google might not have the funding to make everything free. There are “many examples used by Google’s detractors to show a lack of quality in their library project.” Dan includes that a scanned hand of Plato lacks quality. He explains the lack of quality is because there is so much information there is not time to prefect.

Speaking of lack of quality, radio stations and movies often need improvement. Thomas Cauvin dives into this questions on how we historians  can improve scholarly works. On page 164 he says “for those who are willing to produce radio programs should also study studio, audio and sound archives.” This will improve how radio programs persevere important interviews. Cauvin also mentions that movies are often wrong when it comes to the history. “Historians never played a part in the movie, only as a critic.” 167. Historians are natural critics, but instead of being critics all the time, they should help film makers capture the emotions of history because “People learn through emotion and challenges of a historical film.” 167.

Another technology that challenges historians is how to use (GIS). GIS is a vital tool when historians want to look at specialized areas of particular topics on a map. This GIS map consist of all the pony express routes on the western side of the united states. It also gives various start and finish dates of each pony express. Effective when you want to discover what pony express was the first one the west side, when did pony express became popular and when they died out. This GIS map was a bit laggy, but that’s because of how much information there is on the map.

It is important to have tons of information, but you have to display them in a appealing matter, otherwise you are not attracting anybody. My favorite out the three chosen sites given by Dr. Cebula is Valley Of Shadows for that reason. When you enter the archive it brings you to 3 buildings layouts separated by years oldest to newest. Valley of Shadows is an archive of civil war material consist of newspapers, office records and dairies. Recommend that civil war buffs check this out.

No Smashing (Reaction Paper 3)

In this summary we will be examining how we define preservation in terms of a historian. What must one do in order to preserve a historical site from being destroyed by big corporations such as General Motors? We will also discuss the challenges of preservation officers face in the past and future.

One organization that historians have turned to is the National Trust For Historic Preservation. Its statement is that we should only demolish Historical buildings as a last resort. Otherwise we should use these historical places as new homes or on page 189 in Mickey Mouse History called “adaptive reuse”. Also in Mickey Mouse History  page 199 “Pro preservationist found a breakthrough”. The National Trust funded the first council of preservation in New York city to created new space for preservation purposes but not have to pay compensation sense the new area will be used for the public good.

National Parks and Services NPS offers the holy grail guide to all steps of preservation. Their site contains everything someone would need from evaluation of historical worth to nominating the site as a national historical site to congress. Sometimes National Parks and Services do not always see eye to eye with congress. “In 1960’s 1970’s park services struggled to protect endangered sites.” Mickey Mouse History page 197. The reason why NPS struggled was the lack of funding and the ability to convince senators to preserve historical sites. This battle returns today with our current president.

The eastern penitentiary on the outside does not appear to be spectacular on the outside. however, on the inside it has a great deal of history about it. One can only imagine how many innocent and criminals were kept in those rusted out cells. Charles Dickens in his American Notes describes the east penitentiary as a sight for sore eyes with no chance of re trial or parole. the eastern penitentiary also combos as a haunted house scares, which will easily draw the interest of others. The site is worth preserving

To finish, the podcast I listened to was young woman on the front lines of the cold war. It was interesting to hear her story being one of the first females to do case studies in the CIA. She was attending Washington University master program in psychology in 1951, until she heard about a “government internship”, which she ended up being a member of the CIA. Her assignment was to travel to Vienna and observe photographs of soviet soldiers that could provide a threat to national security. Interestingly enough, she worked with a man called Polnuff from Russia, who grew up as a peasant, but was a part of the KGB. He provided all sorts of soviet military plans and structure that saved the CIA about 500 millions dollars.

Sparks in Action (Reaction 2)

This article written by Randy Kennedy is well welcomed in my book. The practicality of using mp3 podcasts in museums exhibits is a swell idea. This idea was founded from students attending Mary Mount Manhattan College illegally. This practiced was frown upon by the Modern Art Museum, but this caught fire with the public. The public was interested into these podcasts and brought many museum seekers to see the art themselves. Even though this was posted in 2006 many museums use this practice as means to generate more interest.

Larry Cebula’s article explains the idea of a cell phone tour. It’s another great idea that has yet to be fully implement by museums across the board. A fantastic way to implement these type of tours is include it on the museum’s home page titled cell phone tours. Naturally they should be used to generate more interest in the museum. Also it would be ideal to create useful apps that can give you updates on what is coming next to museums.

The American Alliance of Museum provides guidelines and standards for museums. This guide include many different departments of the museum such as archives, steps to create excellent exhibits and so on. One of the Standards I learned at the Museum of Arts and Culture is that saved images must be in tiff file format. This is provided by the Library of Congress. Also the files must obtain a certain level of quality pending on size. Example an oversized 11×14 picture must have close to 7,900 to 8,300 pixels per image.

Speaking of Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture I’m completely bias because I intern there. When looking at their face book page is well set up and easy to access. I searched their page for any bad reviews and could only find one bad review out of 50 or so. The Museum does an excellent job of keeping people happy. Also note that multiple moderators edit and create events on the Museum’s Face Book page instead of just one person.

The museum blogging page has a couple of great addition others Museums could construct. First addition being augmented reality. This could be huge especially because technology can is advancing at an incredible rate. In the YouTube video where the archeologist show how augment reality works in a porotype stage. Improvements appear needed, but a good start. The second addition being game based learning. That is, making a boring subject into a game with similar like environments. For example, trying to convince someone on why museum should keep exhibits.

In Mickey Mouse History pages 81-84 (approximate) stand out in particular. Mike Wallace describes that America was not always a capitalistic society. It became that way because of massive competition when small businesses skyrocketed before and after World War 1. The battle between other companies resulted to lower workers’ wages to keep prices low and to keep returning customers or visitors. Eventually this led to exploitation capitalistic society that we know today. Note that labor laws have been created and enforced, but not perfect. However, in contrast with companies, a monopoly could charge any price they want for a product, but because they live in a competitive society they must also keep prices low or retain high quality products. Otherwise, no one would purchase their goods or services. The Museum of Arts and Culture is a great example of this. The admission seems high at I believe $15, but it offers multiple exhibit entries to the once was Egypt exhibit, the art gallery, carriage house, and Campbell house tour. That’s a lot of exhibits.

Dark Side of Historical Figures (Reaction) 1

The National Council of Public History contains various job openings listed across the United States from Alamo, Texas to New York and even the U.K. This site offers multiple positions from beginning interns all the way to having a master degree in library science. The purpose of this site is to find Historians part and full time work. There’s even voluntary work for starting historians that allows them to gain experience. Their main goal is to create a network of Historians. This site struggles to find a careers in relative locations where transportation would be doable in my particular region. The listings seem sporadic.

Facing History is an article that speaks about the founder of Spokane, James Clover. Clover greatly expanded Spokane and for people wanting to live in his new town. However, this came at a cost of violating the Indigenous people’s sense of home. This article mentions the Mason Temple which was commissioned in 1920 and shortly decommissioned 4 years later. I had the pleasure of looking at the official document with my own eyes. Another topic that the article mentions was the fire of 1889, which burned down approximately 20-30 city blocks. Then Clover had Kirtland Cutter, who developed a lot of the housing in Spokane, build Clover a new mansion. The dark side of this history is that Clover was not nice to his first wife. Apparently they were not happy together and Clover filed articles of separation, which was a factor that prevented his name being put on the new plaza. Really enjoyed this article in particular.

Larry Cebula’s Northwest History blog describes the failure of mentioning the truth when it comes to interpretation of history. Cebula’s shows a list of distinct problems. To start fire place screens, thought that Americans were shorter during colonial times, a closet tax, and pineapples were thought to show hospitality. These are all strange customs a generic southerner probably would not have. I can see a couple of things being a part of tradition, but a closet tax? Highly doubt that is true. The biggest problem that Cebula’s mentions is the lack of acknowledgment of slavery. After doing some of my own research others have felt the same way as Cebula. The Baron Von Munchusen house heavily relied on slavery. It could be somewhat difficult to tell without an interpretation. However, the truth that slavery happened here is the truth because that’s what white Americans thought was acceptable and necessary ever since arrival of the Americas.

Mickey Mouse History was written by Mike Wallace and he explains how historical items became persevered. It’s unfortunate that some places have been bulldozed. For example, John Hancock’s Mansion was bulldozed to the highest bidder of 120 dollars. See Chapter 1 page 6. Henry Ford was one of the first people to start persevering material items. See page 10. Ford was heavily influenced by the World War 1 and it made him realize that life was sweet without the war. This inspired him to perverse what was left of the good ol’ days. He created the first museum called the “Green House Village.” See page 11.

In Chapter 2 of Mickey Mouse History Wallace’s biggest concern is surprisingly localism see page 43 and 44. The concern is that being a localist can change how you view topics that relate in your field as well as how that person views a state or federal based topic. Sometimes when Historians dive into a history that has an incredible amount of depth, it can be easy to forget how local history plays out on a large scale.