Who Owns America's Past?

The Smithsonian and the Problem of History
Besorgungstitel | Lieferzeit:3-5 Tage I
Robert C. Post
710 g
239x168x29 mm

Robert Post's study of the evolution of America's premier museum is authoritative, thorough, and engagingly written by a curatorial insider with a critical perspective. His judgment of Smithsonian controversies during the past generation is reliable and well informed, especially those concerning the history of technology. This is institutional history in the very best sense because it highlights the role of individuals as well as ideas. We also gain insight into the museum's place in national politics. A most enlightening project. -- Michael Kammen, Cornell University, and Past President, Organization of American Historians The great lacuna in historiographical accounts of the modern period is any overview of the role of the modern national museum in shaping both popular and scholarly historical presentations. While there is a modest literature in the museum studies world and a handful of dissertations, there is nothing of the scale and scope of this remarkable book. Part history, part memoir, part polemic, it is insightful, fascinating and sure to be an influential book about the history of technology and the Smithsonian Institution's role in shaping our understanding of modern American history. -- Deborah G. Douglas, Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum Post admirably provokes discussion about how an official national repository goes about presenting and interpreting its historical artifacts-a great pleasure to read. -- Bob Casey, Senior Curator of Transportation Emeritus, The Henry Ford Museum Robert Post's extraordinary account of the Smithsonian Institution's treatment of history raises profound and disturbing questions about how curators, museum directors, the Smithsonian Secretary, stakeholders, and donors have shaped historical presentation. Readers will delight in Post's sometimes humorous characterization of staff, enjoy learning how the institution has changed over the years, and benefit from this careful examination of history, technology, and culture. -- Pete Daniel, Curator Emeritus, National Museum of American History, and Past President, Organization of American Historians
Combining information from hitherto-untapped archival sources, extensive interviews, a thorough review of the secondary literature, and considerable personal experience, Post gives the reader a behind-the-scenes view of disputes among curators, academics, and stakeholders that were sometimes private and at other times burst into headline news.

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