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National Council on Public History

March 27, 2019 - March 30, 2019

National Council on Public History

Session: Monuments Roundtable

“Repair Work” 2019 Annual Meeting

Public historians have long been engaged in acts of repair. We restore and preserve objects and buildings. We reconstruct fragmentary evidence about the past and reconsider the stories it has been used to tell, including stories about past commemorations themselves. We contribute, directly or indirectly, to economic and civic revitalization efforts. Increasingly, we also align our work with social and environmental projects of reparation, putting ourselves in service of overcoming or resisting the effects of past damage, injustice, and exclusion.

Preliminary Description of Session:

“Monuments in Play: A Hands-on Conversation”

Public historians’ attention to monuments tends to focus on the moments when an older meaning is contested and perhaps changed. But what if we approached both the meanings and the materiality of monuments as continually “in play,” reframed through physical deterioration and repair, changes in context and location, and—perhaps most important—everyday acts of engagement and representation by those who view and visit them? This participatory session will invite hands-on exploration of the surprising malleability of monuments, with a chance to experiment with and reflect on the gamut of possible responses from vandalism to veneration and from sanctification to selfies.


March 27, 2019
March 30, 2019


Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Blvd
Hartford, CT 06103 United States
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