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Heritages in Conflict: Interpreting Controversial History with Stakeholder Engagement

  • Kristin M. BarryEmail author
Chapter
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)

Abstract

In the public interpretation of historic sites, authenticity and community involvement are interconnected, allowing for tourism communities to be engaged in a particular place or history, often outside of one’s own personal experiences. While the public views history as objective, the designed presentation of heritage artifacts demonstrates that history is largely subjective, as facts can be compiled and presented to create disparate “histories,” aligned with heritages.

The current interpretation of American antebellum plantation houses and their associated slave quarters begins to interrogate how context can be integral where multiple heritages “collide” at a single location. As a system of exploring one’s history and feeling of belonging, heritage represents a value system and the tangible and intangible legacies of cultural/ethnic/religious/etc. groups. When these histories and values come into conflict, as is often the case in war or similar divergence, the aftermath of these differences can be difficult to interpret for an audience temporally and culturally removed from the initial conflict. Only through the involvement of descendent community stakeholders from each side can the interpretation begin to represent an authentic and increasingly objective experience for visitors.

Keywords

Community engagement Slave interpretation American Civil War Descendant engagement 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureBall State UniversityMuncieUSA

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