Category: Collecting

Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown

DR CYNTHIA E. CHIN A single object was the subject of my doctoral dissertation: a heavily faded purple silk gown owned and worn by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802), the wife of ‘His Excellency’, President George Washington. One of three surviving intact dresses belonging… Continue Reading “Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown”

Trouillot in the Digital Age: A Fifth Crucial Moment for Public Historians?

AARON SHUMAN Last semester, one of my professors assigned a chapter of anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past as a jumping off point for considering how silences can work their way into the historical narrative. During our weekly Zoom-based class, conversation homed in on the ‘four… Continue Reading “Trouillot in the Digital Age: A Fifth Crucial Moment for Public Historians?”

Collecting Contexts – Why Do We Collect?

WILL BURGESS During the summer of 2019, I volunteered at the V&A’s Lansbury Micro Museum in Poplar, East London, to help run an exhibition called For the Love of Things. The exhibition put the personal collections of the museum’s visitors on display, its shelves changing… Continue Reading “Collecting Contexts – Why Do We Collect?”

Material Culture and Identities: The Case of Eighteenth Century Toby Jugs

KERRY LOVE A main principle of material culture theory (the study of objects and their relationships to people) is that they can reflect or shape the people who lived alongside them in any given time. I have always enjoyed studying objects more than any… Continue Reading “Material Culture and Identities: The Case of Eighteenth Century Toby Jugs”

Using Scrapbooks as Historical Sources

Cherish Watton. Think of any topic, and someone, somewhere, has probably made a scrapbook on it. People scrapbooked on things which were important to them; family, friendships, professional activity, popular culture, political, and associational activity. Scrapbooks didn’t just document family life. Politicians and diplomats… Continue Reading “Using Scrapbooks as Historical Sources”