George W. Bush museum reflects style, personality of nation’s 43rd president – The Washington Post


From today’s Washington Post:  the new George W. Bush Presidential Library.

These libraries — which began to grow into major  museums with the JFK Library in Boston– have become some of the country’s most popular history museums.  They always raise interesting questions about “authorial voice,” since the museum part of these complexes are run by private foundations (whereas the libraries are run by the National Archives), and thus are subject t0 a kind of celebratory bias.

“He told the designer that he wanted to present the facts . . . and let people draw their own conclusions.”

via George W. Bush museum reflects style, personality of nation’s 43rd president – The Washington Post.

In the Texas Plant Explosion, History Repeats Itself –


This op-ed piece from the Times re: the West, Texas explosion, is a perfect example of bringing historical lessons to bear (or, rather, NOT bringing them) on present events and future choices:

“The explosion in West, which killed at least 14 people, is now entering a dark pantheon of events in Texas, ones that will surely lead to debates in the state about government regulation and oversight — or the lack thereof. About what “public safety” really means, implies, entails. About Texas’ passionate history of pushing back at what some see as big-government intrusion — a trend that traces back to the regulation-free days of wildcatting in the oil patches.

As before, there will be demands that Texas be willing to scrutinize companies so tragedies like the one in West never occur again. But if history is any guide, lawmakers and officials will still err on the side of industry and less so on the side of public safety. And there will be another West in the years to come.”

via In the Texas Plant Explosion, History Repeats Itself –

After The Bombs, Pop-Up Landmarks Of Consolation And Solidarity | Cognoscenti

After The Bombs, Pop-Up Landmarks Of Consolation And Solidarity | Cognoscenti.


A reflective post about “pop-up” memorials– which we’ll be talking about in class soon.


“Pop-up memorials owe their meaning and their random beauty to the efforts of a community of neighbors — and strangers. They express the emotional connection and commitment that comes with being a citizen — of Boston, the USA, the human race. They affirm the consolation of solidarity. All are welcome.?


Boston and Its Losses: The Marathon Explosions : The New Yorker

Boston and Its Losses: The Marathon Explosions : The New Yorker.


Connecting past and present– the brilliant Jill Lepore in the New Yorker’s online edition.  She is a professor of history at Harvard, and in this piece connects the marathon bombings with Patriot Day in Boston and its wider meanings,  connecting Lexington and Concord, the ride of Paul Revere, even the Civil War.


“I didn’t go into town to watch the Marathon this year. I stayed home to prepare for class. I heard about the bombs while walking to a drug store to buy pens. I was crossing Massachusetts Avenue when the news burst onto my phone—frantic texts about explosions. Head down, heart sinking, I nearly ran into a towering figure in black: a reënactor, Paul Revere on a speckled horse. He was riding to Lexington, a ride forlorn.”


London Elementary Teacher holds Civil War reenactment – CBS Sunday Morning


N.C. Teacher Helps Fifth-Graders Make History 

I stumbled upon a rather interesting human interest story about a fifth grade teacher in North Carolina who teaches his students about the Civil War through an elaborate three-day reenactment. The teacher, Eric Marshall, does this reenactment every year to make sure his students “connect” with the Civil War and that they understand the tremendous toll it took upon the country.

I think it’s a fascinating example of how ‘academic history’ can be translated into ‘public history’, and how children can be transported into the past in such a direct manner. There’s a local news article that goes into more detail here, but I found out about the story through a nationally televised segment on CBS Sunday Morning.

Lack of Tribal Consultation Leads to Conflict at a Denver Museum –

SandCreekSiteSign_webA REALLY interesting and relevant story about a  history exhibit in Denver that is making people angry:

“This is an open wound—this is not healed,” Halaas said. “Let’s sit down together, and while we’re doing that, close this thing and reopen it after full consultation—that’s what the tribes want.”

“After all,” he concluded, “it isn’t their [museum officials’] history—but it’s affected every tribal family.”


How did the social safety net get its name? |

How did the social safety net get its name? |


This is a really nice story that I listened to this afternoon on my drive home from Northfield– I was impressed with the depth of its historical research– and the reporter talked to a lot of historians, some of whom didn’t have any decent answers!

It’s a great link between past, present– and policy.