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Time Travel

In the 1960s, Canadians could step through time to eighteenth-century trading posts or nineteenth-century pioneer towns. These living history museums promised authentic reconstructions of the past but, as Time Travel shows, they revealed more about mid-twentieth-century interests and perceptions of history than they reflected historical fact. These museums became important components of post-war government economic growth and employment policies. Shaped by political pressures and the need to balance education and entertainment, they reflected Canadians' struggle to establish a pan-Canadian identity in the context of multiculturalism, competing nationalisms, First Nations resistance, and the growth of the state.
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This fascinating look at Canada's living history museums - pioneer villages and old forts where actors recreate the past - shows how they reveal as much about Canadian post-war interests as they do about settler history.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Living History Time Machines Part 1: Foundations 1 History on Display 2 The Foundations of Living History in Canada 3 Tourism and History Part 2: Structures 4 Pioneer Days 5 A Sense of the Past 6 Louisbourg and the Quest for Authenticity Part 3: Connections 7 Fur and Gold 8 The Great Tradition of Western Empire 9 The Spirit of B & B 10 People and Place 11 Genuine Indians Conclusion: The Limits of Time Travel Notes Index

About the Author

Alan Gordon is a professor of history at the University of Guelph. He has written extensively about memory, commemoration, and the uses of history.

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