My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Friday, July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023: Seneca Falls Studying: The Historic Site’s Site

[July 19-20 marks the 175th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. Although, as I argued in this weeklong series, our focus on Seneca Falls has overshadowed other important early conventions, it’s still a milestone moment, and this week I’ll AmericanStudy a handful of contexts. Leading up to a weekend post on our 21st century movement!]

On three of the many interesting things you can find on the Women’s Rights National Historical Park’s website.

1)      The Pictures: One of my favorite things about National Historical Park websites is the way they consistently use photo galleries to capture the kinds of artifacts and elements that might otherwise only be accessible to in-person visitors to the sites. Of the many such photos on that page, my favorites are those which present different angles and views of the statues in the Visitor Center lobby exhibit The First Wave, including for example this evocative close-up of the Frederick Douglass statue in that group. I’ve long argued that raising more statues to inclusive and inspiring historical figures is a key way to challenge our long history of problematic statues, and since I haven’t yet had a chance to get to Seneca Falls, I loved seeing some of these statues through the website’s galleries.

2)      The Research: Historic sites aren’t just representations of the past, of course; they are also repositories of the kinds of documents and evidence through which such representations have to be constructed. That evidence might seem like something that really requires an in-person visit to encounter, but the Seneca Falls site offers an alternative: the Research page, where they present hyperlinked versions of a number of the documents (both historical and scholarly/analytical) out of which they’ve developed their exhibits and interpretations. You could spend a whole day reading through all those pieces, and I know I’m a deeply nerdy AmericanStudier but that sounds like a pretty darn good day to me.

3)      The Map: Those first two are things at the historic site that can also be included on the website; but there are also things that websites can do and offer more easily than an in-person site. One of my favorites on the Seneca Falls National Historical Park’s website is this resource, located under the History & Culture: Stories tab. Many scholars, among them my Dad, are finding new and impressive ways to use digital maps to convey information about history, literature, and more; “The Erie Canal and the Network to Freedom” is a wonderful example of that trend, and something that really utilizes the digital humanities potentials of a historic site’s site.

Contemporary connections this weekend,


PS. What do you think?

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