Avenue of American History
The Intrinsic Challenge
- Who will decide what messages and what objects are preserved in the Halls of History? Will the rich speak or the poor? The majority or the minority? The powerful or the weak? The idealists or realists? The Northerners or Southerners? Those on the East Coast, the West Coast, or the Plains States? Conservatives or Liberals? Democrats, Independents, or Republicans?
- At different times in history, different strata of society had a stronger voice than others. To some degree, present-day American society reflects a struggle to find a voice that includes all citizens. The aforementioned questions about "Whose Voice?" are at the heart of the Avenue of American History project; this question represents the project's ultimate significance and will provide its perennial challenge.
- However, given human nature, what will be presented in all the Halls of History will, to varying degrees, be incomplete and biased images whose message will very much be dictated by the value system of each quarter century.
- Different from what one finds in a typical museum, the main exhibit spaces in the retrospective Halls of History will not represent what some of the best historians looking back might choose to say but rather what the best historians believe the people of that time period would have chosen to say (given their time-anchored view of events).
- No generation's presentation will go unchallenged. There will always be an invitation for future generations to present another point of view in the special spaces provided in all of the Halls of History. It is this feature that makes the Avenue of American History value-building and self-correcting.