Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mapping WW1 sites in the UK - a great Public History project

Next year, the centenary of the start of World War One will be marked in various ways across the country. A fantastic public history project (run by the Council for British Archaeology and English Heritage) aims to map the important WW1 sites on British soil, including ammunition factories, hospitals (like Wrest Park in Bedfordshire) and army camps. (Craiglockhart will also feature, as a hospital in this Scottish area treated soldiers with shell shock including the poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.) These sites will be collected in an online database that will be fully accessible to the public throughout 2014-2018. The CBA ran a similar project for World War Two sites, that ended in 2002 (it's a shame this had to 'end', as it would be an excellent resource for schools. Why couldn't this be turned into an online database too?) Quite rightly, historians have said that most people think of WW1 sites as the trenches in France, and this project seeks to challenge this.

This sounds fantastic and I can't wait to see the results!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Slave Cabin to be transported to museum in D.C.

An antebellum slave cabin from South Carolina is being transferred to the new African American museum in Washington D.C. The Edisto Island Historical Society have donated the two-room cabin, and it is a perfect opportunity to "humanise slavery, to personalize the life of the enslaved and frame this story as one that has shaped us all." The cabin is too fragile for visitors to enter it, but curators are working on an exhibit that will allow people to see it from three different levels. The cabin is currently situated on the site of an old cotton plantation that was abandoned during the Civil War; most of the enslaved people escaped to freedom.

As well as the cabin, highlights of the museum will include a Harriet Tubman's shawl, Nat Turner's bible and an aeroplane used by the Tuskegee Airmen. This sounds FANTASTIC.