Friday, February 21, 2014

Luce Center at New York Historical Society

ETA: I'd like everyone to take a look at the first comment thread and respond to my questions. Thank you to Bianka M. for introducing us to the source and starting an important conversation about authorship in research as we start to think about formal research for the upcoming essays. If you haven't commented on this post yet, please join the conversation!


"No Stamp Act Teapot" from the National Museum of American History. Breen discusses this item in his book The Marketplace of Revolution

In the essay by T. H. Breen we read in class, Breen argues that the consumption of European items by American colonists strengthened their British identities and solidified their bonds to the "mother country."

The "material culture" that colonists consumed can tell us a lot about the lives of colonists that we wouldn't otherwise know. Richard Bushman writes about ways we can understand the development of a distinctly American identity through objects  in his book, The Refinement of America.

The New-York Historical Society (on 77th street and Central Park West, just across the park from Hunter!) has a material culture collection that can tell us a great deal about what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries. Explore the contents of the Luce Center's collection (it would be great if you can visit the museum and do this in person, but it is not required for this assignment. Looking at the website will suffice), concentrating on objects from within the scope of this course. Choose one object that interests you, and write about it and what it tells you about the period it is from that you could not learn from the textbook. Keep an eye on the comments and avoid repeating an object someone else has posted. 

This post will be open to comments until March 4.