Historical exhibits play an important role in the dissemination of historical knowledge. They are often viewed by diverse audiences. They also serve as memorials to tragedies and injustices. Curators make judgments about what constitutes historical content and how to best present that information. Attempts to censor or suppress the content of an exhibit should be discouraged.
Exhibitions can engage visitors in a new way by utilizing creative visual storytelling. Unlike the traditional essay, these exhibitions engage the visitor by creating drama and letting them experience history as an event. They also tend to focus on people who were directly involved in events. These stories, if done properly, should complicate and contextualize history. The content should also be accessible enough to allow for easy interpretation without making it feel like a book on the wall.
A number of social and economic trends have contributed to the proliferation of historical exhibits across the United States. As the marketability of local heritage and a national dialogue about identity have increased, so has the number of historical exhibits. While scholarship on the historical exhibition medium has tended to focus on large, highly professional museums, the development of traveling exhibits has become an increasingly common mode of presentation.
Public exhibits in courthouses are another option for viewing historical exhibits. These exhibits are located at 55 Pleasant Street in Concord. They are open to the public during court hours. Visitors may also view exhibits in the conference room, which is available to the public when the courthouse is not in session.
For a more interactive experience, the Ska*nonh Museum, an Iroquois heritage center, explores topics such as creation, European contact, and The Great Law of Peace. Exhibits include the “Thanksgiving Address,” “Saint Marie Mission Site Museum,” and “Continuity and Contributions.” Admission is free for children nine years and younger.
The American Historical Association’s executive council, the National Council on Public History, and the Organization of American Historians have all adopted policies on how to handle historical exhibits. The Society for History in the Federal Government adopted their policy on January 8, 1997. On April 2, 2001, the American Historical Association and Medical Museums Associations adopted similar policies.