A 19th-Century Mindset How to think about the 19thCentury By Dan Schoeneberg, M.A. General Manager for Experience Resources Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Fishers, Ind.
Introduction • A mindset- What is it? • What do we as interpreters need to think about and be aware of? What shapes our mindset? • What is it that we do? • How do we look at the past? • Perspectives • Can we get it right? • Can we get it wrong?
From there we’re going to talk about: • The C word= CONTEXT! • What do we put into context? • How do we do it? • Examples and your own ideas? • So what’s it really all about? The secret to it all, and the meaning of life. • Questions? Comments? Discussion?
Mindset • A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations. • An inclination or a habit.
Modern mindset • Conner Prairie Interactive History Park • Mission: To inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana’s past by providing engaging, individualized, and unique experiences. • Interactive = how we do things • Park = where we do things • History= what we do.
Period mindset • Acting and behaving as someone living in the 19th century. • A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations. • An inclination or a habit.
In other words, we have to provide a quality experience by meeting the needs of our guests. We have to make them feel comfortable, at ease, engaged, entertained, AND do it in a way that provides a window into the past.
Opening Doors “Conner Prairie will set a new standard for living history interpretation. We will do this by establishing engagement as an essential component of good interpretation.”
Conner Prairie 2004 IMLS-funded Learning Study Transcript Monologue Style Interpretation 7/23 Dss330007 1:55:19 Child [to parent] is this a school? I1: … and continuity of learning even if its….I have to work here If I’m working 5th grade 2nd graders know their _____ 20 or 15 minutes for each group and then I rotate back that’s why you’ll see a subject then a subject repeated sometimes this starts with reading, reading again here [child talks in background] then arithmatic, arithmatic because by the time I get there I want to back to the subject they started independently so I can make sure they are advancing ___the concepts I’ve been teaching sometimes I have to backup sometimes I have to work with an individual uh sometimes the whole group has misunderstood and perhaps my directions weren’t very clear and____ sometimes the best lesson plans and I do have lesson plans in detail in my desk ____children, this is just really an outline, so I do have lesson plans for each of the grades so I’m here well before 9 and well after 4 For discipline if a child acts up I’ll talk to them first and remind that they are not the only ones in the classroom. If the act up the second time it could be one or two things an extra assignment given to them or they miss Adult: hum: I1 recess if they are going to have nonsense for 5 minutes on my time they’re going to give me 5 minutes of their recess time if it’s their third time then I’m going to walk home at the end of the day with that child and that child tells his or her parents how they behaved that child has the accountability and ownership for their behavior not me um different from what other teachers do some use the rod some use a switch or stand them in the corner I do not do that I think it is a embarrassment and that lowers self esteem what I want that child to do I want them to want to come but that they don’t have to come but there is no state law says that they have to come, you feel embarrassed or humiliated you are not going to want to be there so I want A2: women’s umm softly in background I1 achievement to be the cycle and that is what gives children the initiative to do more if they feel good about what the are learning some need more time on a subject some children need less time on a subject and that’s how we look at it and that’s how we do it it takes all different talents for a baseball game and it takes all different talents be inside this classroom and everybody have has different talents for different things so that’s my philosophy some think its progressive but I think it works so I enjoy teaching and I enjoy the teaching Several people: thank you [hear noises as if several people are leaving] I1 thank you you have a nice day you didn’t do that playing baseball did you A3 no I did not Data collected by Seig and Blankman-Hetrick on 7-23-05 Transcribed by Blankman-Hetrick
Conner Prairie 2004 IMLS-funded Learning Study Transcript Facilitated Dialogue Style Interpretation 6/8/04 DS33008 father and two daughters Father – Master degree Golden Eagle Inn Transcript Begins: walking up path to the Golden Eagle Inn by sign (( voices in the background)) c2 hey daddy, daddy can I have (inaudible [ C1: dad this is the inn/] A1: the golden eagle inn C1: yep A1: yes it is the Golden Eagle Inn C2: daddy can we w(inaudible)] [ I1: = good morning how are you or is it afternoon A1: oh we can call it afternoon. C1 we’ll call it afternoon. Il: we’ll come on in. are you looking to stay the night here in the inn (5) A1: uh yes, we are looking for a place to lodge I1: wonderful, well it’ll be 12 ½ cents for a spot on the bed A1: yea it’ll be12 ½ cent I1: pretty good price if you ask me A1: that’s that’s not too bad, it’s bout what we expected Il: you have (pause) paper money or are do you have coin? A1: we have coin and paper money both Il: both, well actually The coin that we use here is the spanish dollar A lot of voices C1 clare quit I1: if you cut that in half what do you half, How much money do you have? C1: 50 cents Il: Fifty cents right Take fifty cents, A1: uh uh Il: half of a dollar, C3 ( not in family group) that’s Fifty cents I1: yep 50 cents Other child’s voice – overlap you don’t mean that you can break that in half? A1; so you use spanish? I1: That’s right spanish coin A1: Well that’s a probl… C1: Then you take half of a dollar… A2: [ you take fifty cents Thats fifty cents C1: Then this is 25.. I1: And this is 25 exactly…half of 50 cents And then Half of 25 is how much? C2: Can I hold it? Can I hold it? C3: uh I would think a dime and…. A1: a spot on the bed. I1 exactly a spot on the bed. 12 ½ cents There it is a bit. .
Adding hands-on and minds-on components
We engage, demonstrate, interpret and show the past, but inherently through modern eyes, and through our own experiences, ideas, and attitudes. The past however, often has ideas, and attitudes that are entirely different than that of modern society. Therefore it is often helpful as interpreters to gain an understanding of the past not through our own eyes, but through the eyes of the generation that lived it. We need to be able to look at the past through the ideas and attitudes of the time, and then make connections to our own experiences, ideas, and attitudes.
How do we do this? • As interpreters we have to get inside the head of someone living in the nineteenth century, but then we do much more- we make it accessible, engaging, entertaining, and available to our guests. We help to understand the past. • We help make meaning and create meaningful experiences of the past with our guests.
“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley, 1953.
What shapes a mindset? • Cultural influencers- where you are born, when you are born. • Technology- how you interact with the world. • Education- how you interact with the world. • Social Status • Economic Status • Current Events
Social Norms A set of behavioral models and rules that are assimilated in a society. What is expected of a society. Ultimately these are what tie communities together. Some of these norms change (i.e. dress codes, attitudes on race, gender and social equality) many of them do not, such as providing for a better environment for our children and the future.
Because we have our own perceptions, we can however intentionally, and unintentionally make the wrong meanings of the past. Sometimes we can misread things.
Sometimes we can make presumptions about events. Mind our own biases.
Take a guess: • Hardliners • Outrage • Radical • Militants • Murder • Symbolic Sacrifice • Communist • Socialist • Anarchist
[They ] could not well complain if the law was stretched a trifle in such a time of tumult as the present to aid justice and conserve the public safety.”
McCormick Reaper Works in Chicago, Illinois. May 1 Started with strikes and demonstrations as part of a nation wide rally for an 8 hour work day for industrial workers. May 3 Police arrive to disperse crowds. Clashes between workers and police. Police fire into the crowd, killing several workers. May 4, 1886- Workers again gather to protest police brutality. Police arrive to try and disperse the peaceable crowd. An unknown assailant throws a bomb. The resulting explosion kills both protesters and policemen. Eight anarchists, supposed ringleaders of the bombing plot, are rounded up and quickly tried. Of the eight, seven are actually sentenced to death. One is given life imprisonment. Of the seven sentenced to be executed, one commits suicide, two are given a reprieve and sentenced to life in prison, and four are executed on November 11, 1886. The three remaining anarchists are eventually pardoned by Illinois Governor John Altgeld in 1893. 123 years later we now look at this event as an obvious tragedy, and the trial with hindsight as a grave miscarriage of justice. We look upon the workers with sympathy.
HOWEVER… All of those terms except “symbolic sacrifice” was used to describe the 8 “anarchists” who were accused of throwing the bomb and inciting the workers at Haymarket. At the time a there was a powerful backlash against the workers. Widespread public outrage across the nation. Extreme paranoia swept the nation over the influence of anarchists, socialists, and “foreign born elements” within factories. Popular newspapers and conservative politicians blamed the attack on “foreign born anarchists and socialists.” Couple this with the rampant nativism occurring in 1886. Viewed as people who would undermine the safety and security of the peaceful existence of the United States. Because of these, popular support of an 8 hour work day for industry quickly waned, as popular belief held that the policemen were killed for simply upholding the peace.
“THAT DEADLY BOMB” “Officer Timothy Flavin died at the County Hospital yesterday at 4:30 p.m. This makes four police officers who have lost their lives as a result of Tuesday evening’s outrage, and two others are liable to die at any moment.” Chicago Tribune. May 6, 1886.
“Judge Rogers said that he must take cognizance of and give much weight to what the prosecutor for the people had said on oath. The court understood from some reports of speeches of Anarchists that they did not recognize the law at all. Anarchists then could not well complain if the law was stretched a trifle in such a time of tumult as the present to aid justice and conserve the public safety.” (Emphasis added.) Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1886.
If a guest wanted to talk about the Haymarket Affair- how would you discuss it with them? Events define the generations that lived through them, and each needs to be looked at through the lens of that generation and how it impacts us today. However what connections could you make about these events to the lives of our guests?
Making connections- Quiz time! Were there other times in history where there were attacks, or threats of attack, either perceived or real?
“Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War…[whenever he] deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he… may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions [he] may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the [said authorities], and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order.” Executive Order 9066 President Franklin D. Roosevelt February 19, 1942
"With my signature, this law will give intelligence and law enforcement officials important new tools to fight a present danger." George W. Bush at the signing of the Patriot Act. October 26, 2001
INTERMISSION Let’s go out to the lobby!
CONTEXT The parts of discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning. The interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs.
Attitudes, ideas, perspectives. • Material Culture • Livestock- attitudes and norms about animals. • Environment
Material culture or the stuff produced and used by society. Objects are simply objects, once they are placed into environment, then they have meaning.