Private History in Public: Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

In small community museums, truck stops, restaurants, bars, barbershops, schools, and churches, people create displays to tell the histories that matter to them. Much of this history is personal: family history, community history, history of a trade, or the history of something considered less than genteel. It is often history based on the historical record, but also based on feelings, beliefs, and memory. It is neglected history. Private History in Public is about those history exhibits that complicate the ...
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Private History in Public: Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life

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Overview

In small community museums, truck stops, restaurants, bars, barbershops, schools, and churches, people create displays to tell the histories that matter to them. Much of this history is personal: family history, community history, history of a trade, or the history of something considered less than genteel. It is often history based on the historical record, but also based on feelings, beliefs, and memory. It is neglected history. Private History in Public is about those history exhibits that complicate the public/private dichotomy, exhibits that serve to explain communities, families, and individuals to outsiders and tie insiders together through a shared narrative of historical experience. Tammy S. Gordon looks beyond the large professionalized museum exhibits that have dominated scholarship in museum studies and public history and offers a new way of understanding the broad spectrum of exhibition types in the United States.
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Editorial Reviews

Heritage Resource Center
Written with a sense of humor and blissfully free of academic jargon, Private History in Public is a journey, literally and figuratively, through a past that has not been professionally curated. The past is, as Gordon makes clear, sometimes bizarre, often beautiful, always treasured.
Benjamin Filene
Tammy Gordon is an engaging guide through a world of historical exhibitions that remains mostly unrecognized by professional public historians. Whether considering displays in bars or barbershops, tributes to firefighters or 'Freakatoriums,' Gordon has a wry but generous touch as she analyzes the sites on their own terms and considers their implications for more traditional museums. Since Americans are just as likely to seek out exhibitions by the roadside as in a museum, it's time we understand what sort of history they are getting and how it sustains them. Gordon's book is a thought-provoking introduction to how the past gets constructed outside the gallery walls.
Maria Quinlan Leiby
Tammy Gordon's fascinating exploration of exhibits beyond the world of professionalized history museums leads readers to a new appreciation of the mix of elements in bars, restaurants, and off-beat museums that engages—and sometimes enlightens—visitors. Arguing that visitors to mainstream museums also look for 'private history in public,' she challenges professionals to find ways to incorporate the best of these alternative displays.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Tammy S. Gordon is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction: Historical Display, Commerce, and Community
Toward a New Typology of Historical Exhibition in the United States
Community Exhibition: History, Identity, and Dialogue
Entrepreneurial Exhibition: Historical Display and the Small Business Tradition
Vernacular Exhibition and the Business of History
Local History, Global Economy: The Functions of History Exhibits in the Settings of Daily Life
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    The value of Public History

    Many of us do not realize how much we value the past. Dr. Gordon travels to various types of museums and little known roadside exhibits to reveal how artifacts, personalities and community desire contribute to how the past is communicated to the public. Our attraction goes beyond the academic study, but a longing to belong to or hear a piece of an historical story.

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