It is important that we know the history of our people and nation; many know this and do as much as they can to contribute in helping preserve history. But if you live in a small community, a small town, or even a village, it is still important to acknowledge and preserve the history of your local area. The smallest almost insignificant things and places can become something great, just like how one of British empire’s colonies became a great country today. Knowing how the little things start out will help future historians piece out their history… our story.
I’ve been to towns with small museums that showed history that dates back only a few decades ago, but it showed how much they cared for their community and how important it is for them to share a history that makes them truly connected, truly one with each other as a community. From something as small as a senator once stopping by at their dinners for a cup of coffee, before he was even in office, to the significant hidden history of the origin of a great political or industrial leader, the reason for collecting these memories and making a museum is to allow the growth of our identity not just as Americans but as the citizen of the state, county, and city/town.
It is important to take pride in your community, as it is one of the major influences of your growth as a person. People have been looking at the negative side of stereotypes, but if positive it gives a sense of pride for the place you hail from. Like how people from Minnesota are all thought to be nice and mild-mannered, though it is impossible that there is no rude person from there it shows how dominant is the personality mild-mannered people are there. It is their history that determines the overall identity of a community. Instead of allowing hearsay to determine the identity of the community, allow a museum to show the accurate history of your people.
Of course education is the most important reason why a community museum is a worthwhile project. It is obvious enough that a majority of the youth is interested in local history; in fact they probably don’t like history as a whole. But we cannot allow this to take away their choice to one day have a place to look when they want or need to. Especially since the internet often don’t have much data on local history of small towns.
The best way to start one is by making the museum at the local public library, that way it can easily be accessed by people looking for local history. I think the pairing is a perfect one, both on how the two are related and how cost effective it would be. Most libraries need to have more engaging ways to attract people to reading, and museums are great but when it’s time to look at the history in-depth, books can are excellent.
A place where people can learn more about their community and in a way their selves, is always a worthwhile endeavor.
It was at a museum I first learned about the wonders of history, in a small city run museum in my home town, was the very first place I experienced my first museum visit. It was nothing fancy, mostly local history and lore, but there were a lot of artifacts from the natives that lived on the land before the people we called our ancestors settled on the land. Was everything interesting? No, but the few stories and artifacts that were amazing, secrets that if people of back then new would change the very course of history. The privilege of knowing things only people of official status knew back then gave you a sense of pride. This started my love for museums and my sought for knowledge, and so whenever I come across a museum wherever I was, I would go in and learn about the history of the land I stand on.
History connects us all, it allows us to see that humanity originated from practically one point and slowly branched on and on. Our differences only developed after time away from each other, knowing how our culture formed will allow us to see that as we slowly go back a few generations most different cultures originated from a single one, much like how a lot of European languages now are just practically evolved forms of Latin. You can easily read these online or from a book, but museums will allow you to experience it in a way, seeing the artifacts yourself, and sometimes (depending on the museum) you can even touch and examine the artifacts yourself.
Seeing the bones of dinosaurs in a book or video does not allow you the feeling of how grand these creatures was, compared to seeing one in person media often fails (I have yet to try Virtual Reality for this though, maybe it will do a better job). The whole point of going to the museum is to be at the same place as an artifact and learning from it, there is a feeling more grand to learn this compared to a classroom.
It was at a war exhibit that I truly felt how terrible war is, when I learned about the world wars in the classroom I either felt bored or thought how cool it was, when I saw the photos of people and the uniform and belongings of people who lost their lives because of war, I felt a sense of sadness for these people, somehow I felt how much they suffered. Sure you might be able to feel this by watching a movie about the wars, but often times you get distracted by the exaggerations of action, and feeling for your favorite actor, to the point that you forget about the war itself. I have no problem with movies, and they often help people start learning about history, but visiting a museum and seeing things truly related to the wars is a powerful way to not only learn but feel about the things that transpired.
I love museums… it connects us to the past, which in turn connects us to each other.