Cover

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Half Title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

In both spatial aspects and temporal ones, this book exceeds far beyond a couple hundred pages. It’s been an active part of my life for several years, and as a set of ideas and questions, for much longer. And so, the people who I wish to thank have been involved both explicitly and implicitly in its—and in my—development. ...

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Introduction: The Historical, Transformed

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pp. 1-11

To even the most casual observer, American culture in the 1970s was flooded with history. Television viewers could tune into Happy Days, The Waltons, and Laverne and Shirley, or to historical miniseries like Roots and Eleanor and Franklin. Blockbusters like The Great Gatsby and American Graffiti were accompanied by trends like the bell-bottom pant and platform shoe, ...

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Chapter One. Past as Present: History on Television from the 1950s to the 1970s

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pp. 12-38

On the evening of July 4, 1974, CBS concluded its nightly news broadcast with the inaugural installment of a new program entitled Bicentennial Minutes. 1 In this sixty-second segment, the first of more than seven hundred that would be aired nightly through 1976, a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a montage of illustrations, detailed an event that had happened exactly two hundred years prior....

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Chapter Two. The Commemoration Revolution: Planning the Federal Bicentennial

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pp. 39-66

On July 4, 1971, in a televised appearance from the National Archives in Washington, DC, President Richard Nixon declared the inauguration of the “Bicentennial Era.” In his speech, Nixon invoked the importance of America’s past to its present, emphasizing a link between the two.1 It is no coincidence that Nixon chose to make his proclamation from the U.S. repository ...

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Chapter Three. Preservation Is People: Saving and Collecting as Democratic Practice

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pp. 67-88

In 1972, the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission (ARBC) announced one of its first national programs, a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation on an initiative called “Meeting House ’76.” This project called for the restoration of fifty-five historic sites that would then become meeting places ...

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Chapter Four. The Spaces of History: Museums, Interactivity, and Immersion

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pp. 89-117

The quotes above are taken from two editions, published five years apart, of a pamphlet introducing visitors to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution.1 They open the section describing the National Museum of History and Technology (since 1980, the National Museum of American History), the nation’s primary repository of historical artifacts, ...

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Chapter Five. Cultural Logics of Reenactment: Embodied Engagements with the American Past

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pp. 118-138

By the 1970s, Americans visiting museums and historical sites were regularly encountering immersive history. Among these was the Smithsonian’s “1876,” in which restored, functioning artifacts and festive decoration reproduced both the look and the feel of the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. ...

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Chapter Six. History Comes Alive: Activism, Identification, and the American Archive

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pp. 139-164

On December 16, 1973, the city of Boston kicked off its Bicentennial celebration with a widely publicized commemoration of the 1773 Boston Tea Party. The official planning body, Boston 200, worked with carefully chosen corporate sponsors like John Hancock Insurance and the Salada Tea Company to schedule several programs: ...

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Conclusion: Making History

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pp. 165-170

On January 14, 2011, during a broadcast entitled “Kid Politics,” the weekly radio program This American Life aired a segment recorded at the Air Force One Discovery Center, part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. A group of fifth-graders posing as the Reagan Cabinet, the White House press corps, ...

Notes

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pp. 171-210

Bibliography

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pp. 211-232

Index

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pp. 233-242