To 2026 or not to 2026? That is the question…
With the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution approaching, many historians, teachers, historic sites, and museums are considering how to plan for the Semiquincentennial or whether they should participate at all. To help answer this question, the group Revolutionary Narratives is debuting a series of projects aimed at promoting a reflective, inclusive, and expansive U.S. Semiquincentennial commemoration.
Revolutionary Narratives is a group of six women public historians working together on projects to both support and critically examine the upcoming U.S. Semiquincentennial. Since 2021, the collective has been presenting at national conferences and developing two projects that will feed into growing interest in planning for 2026. The group is composed of Maria DiBenigno, Sara Evenson, Anne Lindsay, Laura A. Macaluso, Hilary Miller, and Amy Speckart, representing several states from Massachusetts to California.
The first project is Revolutionary Narratives: A U.S. Semiquincentennial Toolkit for Historic Sites and Museums intended to help historic house museums, historic sites, and more prepare for a robust and meaningful anniversary. The toolkit offers a series of prompts and resources encouraging critical thinking, discussion, and pre-planning around themes pertaining to the 250th. The working group is using this newly developed toolkit for the first time at the National Council for Public History (NCPH) conference in Atlanta, GA in April 2023 in a workshop as well as in a session at the annual conference of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALFHAM) at Sauder Village in Ohio in June 2023.
A book of collected essays, titled Revolutionary Narratives: Stories for a Reflective, Inclusive, and Expansive 250th Commemoration is the second planned project, which will highlight innovation and public engagement in the history, scholarship, curation and interpretation of objects and landscapes of the Revolutionary Era (1750-1830). The book will feature essays from Canada to California to the Caribbean, embracing an inclusive and expansive approach to the U.S. Semiquincentennial. The proposal is under review with an academic press.
Revolutionary Narratives members are available to help historic sites and museums answer the question “To 2026 or not to 2026?” and begin or continue their planning. Reach out to us at email@example.com or visit our website at https://sites.google.com/view/revolutionary-narratives/home.