Curiouser and Curiouser...

My Adventures in blogging, digital and Public History

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Sister Hates History

My sister hates history. Not just a mild dislike. No. She hates it. This is not something I deduced on my own; she told me. Nor is this a new epiphany in her life. Nope. She’s hated history for a really long time.

For years I have been trying to get to the bottom of this hatred. It disturbs me. How could someone HATE history, especially someone who is my own flesh and blood? After all, History is what I do. I love it. I mean when I was a kid, I steamed labels off of Canada Dry bottles to send away so I could receive a full colour book of The Treasures of Tutankhamun. Uh -Huh. Moving on...

Of course I could have figured it out. This is a woman who, when we were at the Louvre and I was standing in front of Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa ( one of my favourite paintings), said ,“ are you done looking at that thing yet?” She just didn’t appreciate how I could be so enamoured with a painting. Fair Enough. Maybe art is just not her thing.

However, I do find it hard to accept that someone who lived in Paris for a year and in other parts of France for another year can hate history. She did concede once that she does not mind French history. Of course this is only because she loves the language and she feels she must know a little bit about the history and culture of the place to fully appreciate the language, its nuances and references. Exactly I tell her. Think of the appreciation she could have for so many other places and ideas if she embraced history. Nice try she said.

So, I have decided that she will become my guinea pig. ( We had a guinea pig growing up. He was of the long-haired variety. I remember that my mother gave him CPR once. He lasted a little while longer after that. But I digress...) A Public History guinea pig if you will. Or maybe it’s like rehab. Not the Betty Ford kind, more like historical enlightenment. I just know that somewhere deep down in the recesses of her dark, history-hating soul, there is something I can tap into. I am determined to help her find something about history, any era, form or genre of history, that she likes. After all, not only am I a Public Historian, I am a history teacher. In my spare time ( which doesn’t actually exist these days, but when I do have spare time) I read history, I watch history, I visit history. Really, what gives with her? You can see how perplexed I am by this hatred.

Where will I begin...
I am going to use what I have learned this year to help my sister realize that she likes history. I think I may have already started the process. I invited her to the opening of our Invention to Innovation exhibit and she said she liked it. She found some items she was interested in and was quite intrigued. Of course there was also the wine and the cheese - ah, engaging the visitor, step one in historical rehabilitation. So, more trips to museums and interesting exhibits are definitely part of the rehab. I think there may be some opportunities to use film in her treatment as well.

In all seriousness, I think she does like history and just doesn’t realize it. I guess it will be up to me to convince her that history is not a dull and dusty book, but can be active, engaging and alive. It’s going to be intense, but I am up to the challenge. I feel like Dr. maybe that isn’t the best analogy. Stay tuned for the updates.


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