Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interesting NY Times Piece on Institutional Depictions of the Civil War

There is a really interesting essay in today's NY Times about how museums in the South display artifacts and tell the story of the Civil War. Go HERE.

Edward Rothstein, the author, visited two museums in Richmond -- the Museum of the Confederacy and the Museum of the Virginia Historical Society -- and concludes that while in the North, memories of the Civil War are at heart institutional, in the South the War is remembered in personal terms. 

Rothstein also concludes that there remains a conflict in Southern institutional memory between lingering white Southern grief, anger, and loss on the one hand and modern ethical judgments about the "Lost Cause" for which so many Southerners died.

He poses a final question, "How are loyalties to Southern culture to be reconciled with the evils of one of its fundamental institutions?"

The points he makes are deeply relevant to anyone who seeks to imagine the South, or to make sense of our history and culture through images. (Like Kathleen Robbins, see image above)

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