History on Display

Road Trip Through History: Memphis and Music

November 24, 2015

Two days in Memphis. Two visits to iconic recording studios.* Two very different experiences. Just to remind anyone who doesn’t have the history of rock music in their heads: Sun Records, which bills itself as the place where rock and roll was born, was the label that launched Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, […]

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Road Trip Through History: Memphis and Cotton

November 17, 2015

  Our first stop on the Great River Road was Memphis–a long day’s drive from Chicago. As we drove into town, My Own True Love and I were still discussing whether we wanted to go to Graceland. Everyone we talked to said it was worth it–even people who weren’t rabid Elvis fans. But we planned […]

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Art + History+ Artist

September 18, 2015

Two years ago and a bit, I shared a link with you about a video series produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art  in which curators talked about how individual pieces in the museum had changed the way they see the world.  It was charming and smart and in a short enough format that I […]

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Road Trip Through History: 871 +/-2

August 21, 2015

In 2001, an Icelandic construction crew was excavating a basement for a new hotel in the historic district of Reykjavik when they made a major archaeological discovery which included not only the oldest relics of human habitation in the area, which date from before the “official” settlement day of 871CE, plus or minus a year […]

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Road Trip Through History: The Settlement Center

August 14, 2015

As I’ve mentioned before, Iceland is a small place and much of it is mountain desert–think the Rockies without the pines. In what passes for arable land, the present lives on top of and alongside the past. Dig the foundation for a new building and the odds are that you will find the foundation of […]

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Counting The Fallen

June 23, 2015

The size of the armies and the number of the casualties in a given war, or even individual battle, is always a difficult discussion for historians. When dealing with pre-modern sources of any kind, historians are cautious about accepting contemporary estimates.* The assumption is that at best the writer of the source did not have […]

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If you can’t go to Waterloo….

June 12, 2015

  Let Waterloo come to you. You may have heard–June 18th is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.  Hundreds of thousands of history buffs, nerds, geeks and buggs* will gather in Belgium to watch 5000 enthusiasts and 300 bewildered horses reenact the battle.  My guess is that plenty of them are already there, […]

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History on Display–From Senegal to Seeger: Stories of the American Banjo

June 5, 2015

Recently My Own True Love and I had the chance to see Michael Miles’ most recent one-man musical documentary, From Senegal to Seeger: Stories of the American Banjo. It was a last-minute addition to a long-planned small-scale road trip.  It turned out to be one of the highlights. We both love the banjo. We’d seen […]

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History on Display: Project 1915

April 16, 2015

On April 24, 2015, Armenians around the world will commemorate the centennial of the Armenian genocide, generally considered the first large-scale genocide of the 20th century. Many of the remembrances will focus on the horror of the genocide itself. In Project 1915, Chicago-based Armenian-American artist Jackie Kazarian chooses instead to celebrate 3000 years of Armenian […]

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History on Display: Vikings

March 27, 2015

As those of you who hang out here in the Margins know, I’ve had my head down recently working on a big project. No new blog posts! No road trips! No museum visits.! No history just for the fun of it! As soon as I got a moment to breathe, My Own True Love and […]

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