Holocaust Museum asks for help with new exhibit; Lincoln carriage on display; Alabama & “state’s rights” hypocrisy; oral history of our last open convention

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Like many instructors, in my US history classes I have long discussed the Holocaust in terms of what Americans knew about it, when they knew about it, and how they reacted to it. This has proven to be a good means of injecting the subject into a US history class (I also discuss the experience of our troops when encountering the camps). So I was interested to see that the amazing Holocaust Memorial Museum (which I am sure many would agree is perhaps the best museum in the country) has decided to add a new exhibit on what Americans knew about the Holocaust. It is set to open in 2018, and in the meantime, they are asking for our help and input.  Man, I can’t wait to see what they develop, because it is sure to be amazing.

And speaking of museums: You may recall that the Lincoln death bed was loaned out a few months ago by the Chicago Museum for a display in Springfield. Well, they have got it back in Chicago now (which is still a bummer, it SHOULD be at the Petersen House in DC, but I’ll resist the urge to bitch about that here). The interesting news, however, is that the Chicago Museum is creating a new display which will not only have the death bed, but also a carriage owned by the Lincoln family that he bought just before the 1860 inauguration. They have had it for a long time, but apparently has not been on full time display for about 30 years.

And speaking of new exhibits, the Rolling Stones have a large one going up in London’s Saatchi Gallery that has more than 500 items and sprawls over 20,000 square feet. Eventually the collection will go on an international tour. (Wait, aren’t the Stones themselves relics that go on world tours?  . . . Sorry, easy joke I had to make. I am actually a fan of the Stones).

And speaking of relics of a bygone age (haha): Yesterday I picked on Mississippi a little because of its Confederate Heritage Month, so it only fair that today I pick on my home state of Alabama. The legislature is considering a bill that would make it unlawful for local communities to rename or remove anything that celebrates/memorializes the Confederacy. As this editorial points out, that is pretty ironic considering that we hear so much from Confederate heritage groups about “state’s rights.” Of course this has always been the problem with the logic (localized control) behind the concept of state’s rights, (and anyone that has studied the Confederacy is well aware of the fact that to fight the war they violated the concept of state’s rights repeatedly). This is not the state’s only recent local rights hypocrisy, as just in the last month the legislature passed a bill disallowing the city of Birmingham from raising minimum wage (the governor signed it while meanwhile giving his cabinet a raise). As with most comment sections on the internet, do yourself a favor and don’t read the ones on this article, they will make your head explode.

With the Republican Party increasingly looking like they are headed for a contested convention, we’ve seen more and more stories about how these things have gone down in the past. Politico has one up today that provides an oral history from folks that were there wrangling it on the floor, and it makes for an interesting read.

 

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