Monday, March 16, 2015

Building the Huts: Myth, Memory, and Archaeology at Morristown

Since Morristown NHP was first created in 1933, the question of how best to present and interpret the story of the 1779–1780 winter encampment has been debated and discussed on and off for nearly that entire time. Most visitors however, have no idea of the discussions and debates which led to what they see today. Should this matter? Or, should visitors simply take at face value, without question, the information presented to them, be it visual, written, or spoken? What most visitors perceive is a seamless line from archaeology, to study, to rebuilding, to interpretation. However, things aren’t always as simple as they seem.

Curator, Jude Pfister discusses the struggles of historical interpretation in the recent issue of Garden State Legacy. His article, "Building the Huts: Myth, Memory, and Archaeology at Morristown," looks at how what we see today was influenced by what our NPS forebears thought we should see, and by what modern scientific archaeology can tell us we should see. As with most elements of historical interpretation, emphasis areas and nuanced appreciation or rejection of history, often depend upon one’s perspective.

Read more HERE.

Building the Huts, Jude M. Pfister, D.Litt. | Issue 27 March 2015

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