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What Next? Perspectives on the Future of Divisive Monuments - Shared screen with speaker view
Heather McClure
Heather McClure, New Mexico History Museum
Linda Norris
Hi Everyone—I’m Linda Norris and work with Braden at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and today (and for the last six months) I’m in upstate New York, where it feels like fall today!)
Johanna Brown
Hello! I’m Johanna Brown from Old Salem Museums & Gardens in Winston-Salem, NC
Shiori Oki
Greetings from Washington DC
john diefenderfer
John Diefenderfer from the NYS Archives.
Katherine Rogers
Hi! Katherine Rogers. I work with Peerless Rockville in Rockville, Maryland
Catherine Kolo
Katie Kolo, recent grad and aspiring historian from Alexandria, VA. Thanks for holding this event!
Henrietta DeGroot
Hello! Henrietta DeGroot with National Park Service Planning
Leslie Randle-Morton
Good afternoon. Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina (US).
David McKenzie
David McKenzie from Ford’s Theatre.
Anna Gasha
Hello – Anna Gasha, PhD student in Historic Preservation at Columbia University in New York City. Looking forward to this webinar!
Tim Galsworthy
Tim Galsworthy, History PhD candidate at the University of Sussex (UK) researching American Civil War memory and the Republican Party. Also an affiliated scholar of the Emmett Till Interpretive Centre in Sumner, Mississippi
Wade Toth
Greetings Everyone! Bellamy Mansion Museum Wilmington, NC
Kirsten Carter McKee
Good evening from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland - working on legacies of empire in the urban built environment found in Scotland and the UK
Natasha Reichle
Natasha Reichle, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
Anne Petersen
Anne Petersen from the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in CA!
Helaine I Silverman
Helaine Silverman from U of Illinois. Working on labor heritage, particularly with regard to coal mining. I’d love the email list from this webinar. Thank you.
Bruce Rosen
Bruce in NYC. Just visited the monument to three suffragettes dedicated today in Central Park on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
Oh great Bruce!
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
We were just chatting about that before the call. What was your impression of it?
Tim Galsworthy
The new sign is bulletproof
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
Please add questions, thoughts, links and anything else you want to share here!
Tim Galsworthy
The center is deciding what to do with the bullet-ridden sign
Katherine Rogers
Sad that it needs to be bullet proof.
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
Tim, do you have a link to information about the sign?
Tim Galsworthy
Tim Galsworthy
There you go Braden
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
Anyone just joining, please introduce yourself!
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
And thanks Tim!
Adine Usher
Adine: The Unitarians in Ocoee, Florida, researched lynching in their area and received a metal pillar from Montgomery . Also, what are your feeling about Susan Neiman’s Learning From the Germans that details how Germany educated its populations against Nazism and has removed all vestiges of the Nazi regime ?
Elka Weinstein
Elka Weinstein, Museum Professional, Toronto, Ontario
Melanie Adams
that is great to hear that a community has received their pillar
Lyra Monteiro
Lyra Monteiro, public artist (The Museum On Site) & professor (Rutgers-Newark)
Adine Usher
Adine . The Whitney Plantation in LA solves that problem.
Bruce Rosen
MSU Emmett Till Memorial Project: Thirty-six freshman Mississippi State University architecture students will showcase their final first-year studio projects as part of an “Emmett Till River Site Memorial” poster exhibition at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Tallahatchie County.http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2020/jul/16/msu-emmett-till-memorial-project-and-usm-and-touga/ +https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2020/07/msu-architecture-freshmen-showcase-design-skills-emmett-till-river-site
Bruce Rosen
Donations to Emmett Till Memorial pour in following white nationalist group's filming https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/local/2019/11/04/emmett-till-memorial-gets-donations-after-white-nationalists-film/4154831002/
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
Add more questions and comments here! What are you thinking about with monuments, what is challenging you, what do the panelists comments provoke for you?
Tim Galsworthy
Are “damaged” monuments the way forward? E.g. leaving up the Lee monument in Richmond as it currently is, daubed with messages and paint (etc.)? Then we can show how memorialisation is always contested and always part of a conversation
Tim Galsworthy
Or am I being too optimistic…?
Tim Galsworthy
I lived in Bristol so I have views on the Colston debacle
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
What statues are at the center of conversation in your community?
Anna Gasha
For Professor Thompson: In the legal perspective, what has to happen to respond to and reform policies/structures, so we can normalize the idea that added textual signs are not effective? Are there workarounds to existing legal obstacles (or what are the challenges to questioning laws that protect harmful monuments)?
David McKenzie
To Braden’s question: The Emancipation Memorial in DC is really contested in our area. I went to a set of 3 competing rallies about it. After reflection, and in talking with colleagues and friends, I realized that the conversation I heard around it was going on different parts of the Four Truths (to use ICSC terminology). Most of the people advocating for keeping it were operating in the forensic truth of its origin and dedication. Most of the people who were advocating for removing it were talking about personal and social truths, of the messages that this statue sends to people today.
Katherine Rogers
How can we protect the "good" monuments if we let the vandalized monuments remain? It seems like an easy dramatic way to contextualize for example the confederate statues, but is it leading to more problems?
Shiori Oki
As museums become stewards for divisive monuments, how can they be intentional or conscious about being a space for indigenous communities and culture, or enslaved histories or traumatic histories, and then also retain the material glorification of the oppressors of those communities?
Here in New Mexico, Statues of Juan de Oñate have been the focus of debate, and at least a couple have been removed.
Leslie Randle-Morton
Here in eastern North Carolina, it's mainly monuments to the Confederacy, but the definition of monument is expanding. The 1838 Fayetteville Market House is an example of a building that is being targeted by protests, damage, and discussions of demolition.
Georgina Capetillo
In a legal framework, could a solution be that there could be a federal mandate to remove these statues or can that be done only on a state/local level?
Katherine Rogers
Thank you. I appreciate the perspective about the permanence of monuments.
Linda Norris
A great example of how statues can reflect changing times is the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. It was a never-filled plinth that now has a different installation each year. Always super interesting! https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/arts-and-culture/current-culture-projects/fourth-plinth-trafalgar-square/fourth-plinth-past-commissions
Melanie Adams
love the idea of a different installation each year
David McKenzie
Leslie Randle-Morton
So interesting...thank you for sharing Linda!
Tim Galsworthy
What do people make of the “Memento Park” approach to divisive monuments? Could this work with Confederate and colonial monuments or would it just create shrines and commodification?
Erin Thompson
Roosevelt protection: https://twitter.com/TheVelvetDays/status/1296916097799684096?s=20
john diefenderfer
Does anyone know how South Africa dealt with memorialization as part of their Truth and Reconciliation process?
David McKenzie
University of Texas Briscoe Center took in the Jefferson Davis statue that had been outside there. They tried to contextualize it… I still think it didn’t really work though. I went to a talk at AASLH where the curators talked about trying to make sure you couldn’t see the statue without seeing the context of it. But the scale difference and separation still didn’t work, I think.
David McKenzie
Kirsten Carter McKee
People might be interested in this artistic response by a mercury music prize winning musician of the Scottish national portrait gallery - responding to statues and memorial portraits of 18th century figures of the enlightenment who are now recognised as enslavers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt1umirFdY4
Linda Norris
South Africa resource https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/rhodes-must-fall-founder-racist-statues/
Tim Galsworthy
I think it creates dangerous shrines myself
Shiori Oki
For those interested in museums and protest, Tear Gas Epiphanies by Kristy Robinson is an extensive look into this topichttps://www.amazon.com/Tear-Gas-Epiphanies-McGill-Queens-Beaverbrook/dp/0773557016
Linda Norris
I think the communist park model is pretty weak, and in many places, serves as just a tourist attraction.
Tim Galsworthy
I went to Memento Park in Budapest. It was fun for me to go round (from my nerdy scholarly perspective) but there was no real message. Plus you could buy cheap trinkets so it was part of a commodification and neutralisation of the statues
Bruce Rosen
Westchester County included what’s now the Bronx. What about sites there?
Leslie Randle-Morton
Some of what Adine Usher said reminded me of a project here in Wilmington--a new statue to the US Colored Troops (Civil War). https://cameronartmuseum.org/index.php?c=usctpublicsculpture
john diefenderfer
Thanks for a great discussion. Have to drop off the call but appreciate everyone's time and thoughtfulness
Braden Paynter (ICSC)
Thanks for coming John.
Linda Norris
This year’s Fourth Plinth that I saw in December—A re-creation of a protective deity destroyed by Islamic State in Iraq has been unveiled on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth – rebuilt with 10,500 empty date syrup cans by Michael Rakowitz
Bruce Rosen
It’s not a 19th century statue.
Erin Thompson
19th century style, as the sculptor said during the unveiling.
Bruce Rosen
What about calls to sandblast Stone Mountain?
Kirsten Carter McKee
Absolutely Melanie! In Edinburgh, the monument to Henry Dundas ( politician who delayed the abolition of a slavery by 30 years) has just last week had new interpretation panel - this does not address the broader context of institutional white supremacy in Britain, and how it is reflected in design of built environment. Much of this is wholly ignored and is perpetuating wide social views that issues of race are not pertinent to this discourse in Scotland - also fuelled by push back from the ancestors of the family, who refuse to acknowledge the role of Dundas in delaying abolition, and Scotland and Britain’s role in establishing and perpetuating institutional racism throughout history
Linda Norris
Kirsten, a great point I should have raised in my speaking about the indigenous workshop—Speakers made the poin that land rights are the critical feature, because the entire landscape is one of theft and until these issues are addressed, smaller memorials might be meaningless.
Tim Galsworthy
I think the laser show at Stone Mountain is almost more offensive than the reliefs themselves!
Melanie Adams
a laser show? Didn't know that
Leslie Randle-Morton
Wonderful observations and much food for thought. Thank you to everyone involved.
Tim Galsworthy
Great conversation and comments from everyone, plenty to think about for me!
Kirsten Carter McKee
Thank you so much to all - so interesting and lots to engage with moving forward
Melanie Adams
Thank you to everyone for joining the conversation.
Camila Yanzaguano
Thank you very much for joining us, please fill out this survey: https://forms.gle/GZDQCTudEUeJA2nk7
David McKenzie
Thank you all! Fascinating conversation, much appreciated.
Alissandra Cummins
thanks so much to everyone for your incisive reflections and important considerations
Adine Usher
Adine: Cathy Sears and Sarah Cox are leading the communutyslave project in Irvington, NY
Leslie Randle-Morton
These are the types of conversations my museum needs right now, so thank you. Looking forward to the next two.