The Lowell Experiment: Public History in a Postindustrial City
In the early nineteenth century, Lowell, Massachusetts, was widely studied and emulated as a model for capitalist industrial development. One of the first cities in the United States to experience the ravages of deindustrialization, it was also among the first places in the world to turn to its own industrial and ethnic history as a tool for reinventing itself in the emerg...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by University of Massachusetts Press
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I really loved this, a great examination of the 'rebirth' of Lowell as a museum of American Industry. Stanton gets into all kinds of interesting issues here: why did this seem to work in Lowell but not for other depressed industrial towns? Did it actually work in Lowell? Can a 'cultural' rebirth actually take the place of the industrial jobs that left? How do the public historians on the job at the Lowell park feel about their work? What does this all say about our relationship to industry? In w...more
I had high hopes...the material was certainly interesting...but this read more like a research project than a book and it kept referring to other chapters which I found confusing. My favorite part of the book was looking at the raw data in the appendix. My favorite chapter was Rituals of Reconnection which discussed people and their reactions and reflections at Lowell. I am interested in visiting this National Park.
Apr 05, 2011 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Stanton's analysis of the city of Lowell and its transition into becoming a living museum, is thorough and engaging. While certain aspects of the entire cultural economy and creative sector existence is problematic and inequitable, Stanton offers insight into how these issues and problems might be addressed or at least considered when conceiving of public history museums and projects.