This book presents a thorough investigation on how diverse elements of interest determine the representation of the past in an open air museum. In particular, a representation of 18th century America in Colonial Williamsburg is explored, with a special focus on their street theatre program “The Revolutionary City”. The author examines how the theatrical program is developed using historical themes and character interpretations to give the reader a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at reconstructing history in the 21st century. After this, the author takes it a step further by investigating how the public responds to the performances. This suggests that thoughtfully designed theatre programming can be a valuable tool to teach history, one that goes beyond the typical ‘ivory tower’ academic research lecture.
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About the Author
Martine Teunissen studied history at the Leiden University in The Netherlands. During her research master she specialised in public history: this is about teaching scientific knowledge to a general public. During her research-internship at the open air museum Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, USA, she explored the representation of the past in this museum, with a special focus on the theatrical program: “The Revolutionary City” that was performed daily in the museum. After her study she started her own company: Beleef Het Verleden (Experience The Past): a historical event & advice company. She helps museums, schools, castles and municipals to teach scientific knowledge to a general public. She makes the public experience the past in an educational, interactive and fun way.
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