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FT-270255-20

Seth C. Bruggeman
Temple University (Philadelphia, PA 19122-6003)
Lost on the Freedom Trail: The National Park Service and Urban Renewal in Postwar Boston

Research and writing of a book on the establishment of history parks on the model of Boston’s National Historical Park after World War II.

"Lost on the Freedom Trail" is a book project that examines the National Park Service's efforts after World War II to create history parks in American cities. At its core is the institutional history of Boston National Historic Park. Congress established this park in 1974. The NPS conceived of it as a template for all urban parks. This posed a problem, I argue, in that the template internalized the logic of Boston’s postwar urban renewal campaign, which mingled cultural heritage with profit, private investment, and racial erasure. My work demonstrates that, despite resistance from within the agency and among its stakeholders, decisions made over a half century ago in Boston about the role and purpose of history account in part for the unfortunate state of public history in the NPS today.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 8/31/2020