Don't know much about history but they love history museums





Across the country, shiny new history museums are pushing up like poppies on a battlefield, while the war horses struggle to scrape off their mold. Gone are shelves of crusty artifacts, yellowed text panels stuffed with dates and names and the “excitement” of a stale soda cracker behind glass that some historical figure may have sampled. In their place are Hollywood-produced movies, evocative oral histories and special-effect extravaganzas so spectacular that visitors could be forgiven for thinking they had actually lived through that historical moment.

Museum directors and curators increasingly sense opportunity — and profitability — in the low test scores that characterize Americans’ familiarity with their country’s history. ( “What do you call the high school history teacher?” asked Roy Rosenzweig, a professor of history at George Mason University who directs the Center for History and New Media there. “Coach.”)

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