Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Art and Art History

First Advisor

Dora Apel


Living history museums are a prevalent form of history museum in which periods in history are portrayed through the use of artifacts and structures from the era, as well through the use of interpreters, which demonstrate processes from the past or discuss events with visitors. These sites have been scrutinized in the last few decades due to their constructed nature that often downplays negative aspects of the past. Since history is multi-faceted, it is impossible to present a clear recreation of history, and therefore, the creators of these sites have considerable leeway in how they choose to depict aspects of the past. It is through this license that current issues are often projected onto these sites and therefore the past. I argue this statement by looking at several living history museums created throughout the twentieth-century, specifically Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan and Crossroads Village in Flint, Michigan, which outwardly depict the same theme, but through their construction make statements about the eras in which they were created.