While I generally like old stuff, I must agree with this blogger.

The Lakefront Historian

At the risk of blaspheming as a historian, I declare that I dislike old stuff.  I am growing impatient with public history’s traditional fetishization of physical objects and buildings.  Certainly manuscripts, objects, and buildings serve a critical role in the historical record as access points for dynamic historical inquiry.  Yet I maintain a strong aversion to the esoteric enjoyment of looking at and talking about old stuff.  Distaste occasionally turns into outrage when I exit a classroom or museum and encounter the very real products of systemic poverty, historic racism, and structural oppression.

The suffocation of a static, object-oriented past dramatically contrasts with the invigoration of engaging with the public.  The most thrilling conversations originate when I tell someone that I study history and they inevitably share their passionate, personal version of history.  A retail coworker enthusiastically discussed history as a series of major local events happening in real time…

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