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Memorial Day

‘Made for the Defence of Liberty’

Try to tell the story of America’s drive for liberty from two battered silver teaspoons. Toggle between an eight-year-old’s question about New England’s colonial slaves, and a veteran teacher’s query about the Declaration’s oddball archivism. Pilot classes through the ratification debates, antebellum reform movements, and get to the Civil War by lunch. Public history is nonstop teaching. We work with and for visitors to reinvent the syllabus daily. After nearly a decade of work at the Massachusetts Historical Society—the oldest organization of its kind in America—I’d like to reopen the public history playbook and talk pedagogy. How and why we Read more