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Time Travel: Tourism and the Rise of the Living History Museum in…

by Alan Gordon

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In the 1960s, Canadians could step through time to eighteenth-century trading posts or nineteenth-century pioneer towns. These living history museums promised authentic reconstructions of the past but, as Time Travel shows, they revealed more about mid-twentieth-century interests and perceptions of history than they reflected historical fact. These museums became important components of post-war government economic growth and employment policies. Shaped by political pressures and the need to balance education and entertainment, they reflected Canadians' struggle to establish a pan-Canadian identity in the context of multiculturalism, competing nationalisms, First Nations resistance, and the growth of the state.… (more)
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In the 1960s, Canadians could step through time to eighteenth-century trading posts or nineteenth-century pioneer towns. These living history museums promised authentic reconstructions of the past but, as Time Travel shows, they revealed more about mid-twentieth-century interests and perceptions of history than they reflected historical fact. These museums became important components of post-war government economic growth and employment policies. Shaped by political pressures and the need to balance education and entertainment, they reflected Canadians' struggle to establish a pan-Canadian identity in the context of multiculturalism, competing nationalisms, First Nations resistance, and the growth of the state.

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