On the Road: Rethinking “Cast in Bronze”

At my first stop at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, I was faced with a historical marker at the entrance to the parking lot. A unexpected location but far more accessible than on the side of a busy highway. All of the recent conversations about decolonization has me always take a closer look at these markers but more interestingly, I’ve encountered several different types of markers so far on my road trip that have me thinking more about their value, veracity, authenticity, and permanence by being “cast in bronze”.

As you’ll see, location matters as much as the text. Some are intentional efforts to deceive, some are not. Some are historical, some artistic, some a bit of both. They are all designed to be inspirational, some more deeply than others. Do any of them matter? Do they have any impact? What do you think?

“Great Indian Warrior/Trading Path,” Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland.
“Eddie Taylor, Mayor of 7th and Wabash,” Terre Haute, Indiana.

“History of Springfield Public Square,” Springfield, Missouri.

1 thought on “On the Road: Rethinking “Cast in Bronze”

  1. thehistorylist

    Max, I’ve always liked these public historical markers. Each describes a historical event from the perspective of the time in which the plaque was placed. They raise awareness of a historical event for passersby. And, while this may not be a message that the community wants to send, when I see a plaque that hasn’t been maintained, I know that the community has much less interest in history than earlier generations.

    For people interested in historical markers, this is an outstanding database, with contributions from people around the world: https://www.hmdb.org.

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