Understanding Public Memory Resource Kit

During the protests against racial injustice after George Floyd’s murder in the summer of 2020, protestors confronted monuments that stand as icons to white supremacy and violence, from the beheading of a statue of Christopher Columbus in Boston to the toppling of the Jefferson Davis statue in Richmond on Monument Avenue. Countless monuments have come down since then, and the conversation surrounding contested monuments continues. As stewards of memory, public history institutions play an essential role in understanding this transformative moment, which inspired this Understanding Public Memory Resource Kit. The kit includes AASLH conference sessions, webinars, History News articles, books, guides, and award winners, as well as outside memory projects, guides to monuments and memorials, webinars, and readings, to introduce perspectives on the future of monuments, contextualize the formation and dynamics of public memory, and inform how the public history field should approach, contextualize, engage, and grapple with contested monuments on a national and local level. Many resources in this kit focus specifically on Confederate monuments and iconography within the broader context of public memory.

A full annotated guide to these resources, including details and summaries, can be found here.

Past Conference Sessions

  • Recorded On: 10/13/2021
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  • Recorded On: 10/11/2021
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  • Recorded On: 09/26/2020
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History News

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AASLH Webinars

  • Recorded On: 07/09/2020
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  • Recorded On: 03/28/2016
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Books and Guides

Allison, David B., ed. Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018

Levin, Amy K., and Joshua G. Adair, eds. Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America’s Changing Communities. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Levin, Kevin M., ed. Interpreting the Civil War at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Macaluso, Laura A. Monument Culture: International Perspectives on the Future of Monuments in a Changing World. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.

Leadership in History Award Winners

2020

Award of Excellence: Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center for the traveling exhibit Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory.

2019

Award of Excellence and History in Progress Award: University of North Carolina Greensboro Public History Program for the exhibit Etched in Stone?: Governor Charles Aycock and the Power of Commemoration

Award of Excellence: Westport Historical Society for Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport, 2019

2018

Award of Merit: The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, Auburn University, for the traveling exhibit Remembering the Great War: Alabama and World War One

2016

Award of Merit: Ford’s Theatre Society for Remembering Lincoln Digital Collection

Outside Resources

Memory Projects

Guides to Monuments and Memorials

Monument Lab: Philadelphia, PA: National Monument Audit

Library of Virginia: Richmond, VA: A Conversation About Monuments

Ford’s Theatre: Washington, D.C.: Monuments and Memorialization: A Resource Guide

American Civil War Museum: VA: Monument Avenue: A Select Reading List

Webinars

International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, "Whose Hero? New Perspectives on Monuments in Public Landscapes," Panel Discussion and Workshop (2020)

International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, What Next? Perspectives on the Future of Divisive Monuments (2020)

World Monuments Fund, The Confederate Monument Debate: International Perspectives on the Future of Monuments With Difficult Pasts (2020)

Chicago Monuments Project Events

Books

Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001

Dickinson, Greg, Carole Blair, and Brian L. Ott, eds. Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2010.

Kammen, Michael. Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.