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Defining Memory


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Table of Contents

Foreword to the first edition, David Kyvig Foreword to the second edition, Carol Kammen I. Frameworks 1. Why Local Museums Matter, Amy K. Levin 2 .Local History, Old Things to Look At, and a Sculptor's Vision: The Curriculum in Three Local Museums, Elizabeth Vallance II. The Rebirth of a Nation 3. Public History, Private Memory: Notes from the Ethnography of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, Richard Handler and Eric Gable 4. The House of the Seven Gables: A House Museum's Adaptation to Changing Societal Expectations since 1910, Tami Christopher 5. The Louisiana Old State Capitol, Change and Continuity, J. Daniel d'Oney III. Nostalgia as Epistemology 6. The Small Town We Never Were: Old Cowtown Museum Faces an Urban Past, Jay M. Price 7. "The Dream Then and Now": Democratic Nostalgia and the Living Museum at Arthurdale, West Virginia, Stuart Patterson 8. History Lessons: The Selling the John Dillinger Museum, Heather Perry IV. Museums at Risk: Changing Publics 9. The Politics of Prehistory: Conflict and Resolution at Dickson Mounds Museum, Donna Langford 10. "Such is Our Heritage:" Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museums, Jessie Embry and Mauri L. Nelson 11. "A Repository for Bottled Monsters and Medical Curiosities": The Evolution of the Army Medical Museum, Michael Rhode and James Connor V. Challenging the Major Museum 12. Objects of Dis/order: Articulating Curiosities and Engaging People at the Freakatorium, Lucian Gomoll 13. Cities, Museums, and City Museums, Eric Sandweiss VI. Museums Moving Forward 14. Crowdsourcing the Art Museum, Leah Mitchell 15. "Womanhood," Whiteness, and Weddings: On the Complexities of Carnton Plantation, Joshua G. Adair VII. No Business Like Show Business 16. Business as Usual: Museums, Money, and 9/11 Memories, Amy K. Levin 17. Conclusion: Museums and the American Imagination

About the Author

Amy K. Levin researches and teaches on race, class, and gender in museums. After 21 years as a professor and administrator at Northern Illinois University, she began a career as an independent scholar in 2016. Joshua G. Adair is associate professor of English at Murray State University in Kentucky, where he also serves as coordinator of Gender & Diversity Studies and director of the Racer Writing Center.


The second edition of Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America's Changing Communities takes one of the essential themes of the first edition - the important and complex relationship that place holds for local museums - and brings it squarely into the hot issues of the 21st century. Expanded and new essays tackle subjects that augment the many contributions that local museums bring to our communities and to the country at large. Topics such as museums and race, relevance, and the never-ending narrative of how museums negotiate political reality underscores the raison d'etre for such institutions, as eloquently stated in Carol Kammen's foreword: `knowledge of the past, and of who we are today, is not something only an expert knows, but is something for which we all search and to which we all contribute.' -- Judith Margles, Director, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

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