Monday, January 14, 2013

history rockstars

How exciting is this?

Okay, okay. From a glance, maybe not very. It's just a truck! Parked on the street! In downtown Nashville!


Do you know what is in that truck? That's the exciting part. I happened to pass the truck last weekend with a friend who works at the museum and he gave me the "scoop" on the contents of the truck.  It is one of three trucks filled with the National Archives exhibit "Discovering the Civil War" set to open at the Tennessee State Museum. The exhibit utilizes documents managed by the National Archives to tell the fuller story of the Civil War. I have heard good things about the exhibit from many people and look forward to its exhibition in Nashville.

National Archives
The rockstar of the exhibition, however, will only be on display for a few days. The original Emancipation Proclamation will make its appearance over a six-day period at the museum. THE ORIGINAL EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. WILL MAKE ITS APPEARANCE. OVER A SIX-DAY PERIOD. IN NASHVILLE.

Deep breaths. I need lots of deep breaths.

A digital version is available through the National Archives' website. As a matter of fact, I have accessed the online version countless times. While working at Stones River National Battlefield, we used the document in our education programs (as the victory of the battle gave President Lincoln weight to his proclamation and the document is part of content standards for fifth graders). 

My excitement over seeing the original by no means takes away from my enthusiasm over the fact that the digital version is available to everybody thanks to the great interwebz. But to see the document with mine own eyes thrills me to no end. After I recover from swooning over seeing the original 13th amendment, I will have a chance to swoon over seeing the Emancipation Proclamation.

I am ecstatic that the exhibit is traveling the nation and hope hope hope people are going to swarm (if not swoon) to see these special documents. The Tennessee State Museum anticipates enough of a crowd for the Emancipation Proclamation that patrons have to get advance tickets with allotted 15-minute viewing intervals (although, the museum is free to attend). I have a feeling, though, the percentage of local population will not appreciate the magnanimity of the visiting document(s), completely unaware of the history rockstar that will soon grace Music City's presence.

And I wonder how we change that?

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