Monuments & Memorialization

Exploring How History is Commemorated

Monuments & Memorialization

Exploring How History is Commemorated

Monument Wars: Memory and Memorialization of John André at Tappan, NY

Monuments and memorials are artifacts of memory that often reveal more about the people who commissioned them and the times in which they are produced, than they do about their subjects. Because of this, monuments and memorials can be sources of tension and controversy as different audiences develop different interpretations of their meaning and value as artifacts of memory. The John André memorial in Tappan, NY provides an excellent case study of the ways in which memorials can spark public controversy and become subject to changing interpretations over time. This project began in the Spring 2022 semester. It analyzes the origins and intent behind the memorial, the controversy it caused, the acts of vandalism it inspired, and an attempt to reclaim and redefine the monument a quarter century after it first went up. This project was completed in Winter 2022. It analyzes the origins and intent behind the memorial, the controversy it caused, the acts of vandalism it inspired, and an attempt to reclaim and redefine the monument a quarter century after it first went up.

Usma Crest
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Usma Crest

Memory and Memorialization at West Point

The stories we tell about our past matter, often on a grand scale. Narratives of the past produced by historians, artists, politicians, institutions, and communities reveal much about individual and collective identities within the United States. Such narratives often help shape local, regional, and national politics, institutions, identities, and values for both good and ill. Cadets enrolled in HI392 - American Historical Memory study how Americans have remembered their history over time, and how historical memory has shaped American life and institutions. As part of the course, they engage with historical memory at West Point. In their final projects, cadets work in small groups of two or three to research and analyze a site, object, or artifact of memory physically located at West Point. They then produce a narrative analysis of their subject and a concept for digital presentation of their scholarship. This collection features the best of those projects, published by the excellent team at the United States Military Academy Digital History Center, available here.