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Theses Master's

(Re)Interpreting the Confederacy: Interpretive Options for Preservation

Taylor-Hasty, Katherine

Since 2016 the United States has been embroiled in a debate about what types of monuments should be displayed on our publicly accessible land. As of now, the debate has involved monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals, former presidents, scientists, explorers and other historic figures whose actions are now considered to be out of step with current social norms. While the public debate has, so far, mostly focused on the existence of publicly owned and displayed monuments, many privately owned monuments that are publicly accessible have also become enmeshed in the fight to remove Confederate symbols from public view. Many private institutions have chosen to remove their Confederate monuments and memorials, but the question remains of what to do with the monuments once they have been removed. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how preservationists can assist private institutions in the curation and reinterpretation of their Confederate monuments, once the decision to remove them has been made. This work is grounded in the analysis of the changing interpretation and significance of monuments to difficult histories, as is evidenced by the experiences of South Africa, Estonia and Hungary. It then takes a more focused view of the American Confederate monument dilemma. The scope of this exploration will be limited to expounding upon the preservation and interpretive options available to private institutions, once they have decided to remove or move their Confederate monuments. While recognizing the controversial nature of this subject, this is an objective and analytical study of preservation.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Dolkart, Andrew S.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
September 25, 2018
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