Originally Published: March 15, 2017 6 a.m.
The photo “selfie” movement is likely to one day be considered a slice of life back in the mid-21st century — so how better to have someone capture the relevance of history than to pose with a “selfie“ stick in front of a frontier landmark.
The Sharlot Hall Museum on Wednesday, March 15, is joining with hundreds of historical museums and organizations nationwide to honor “History Relevance Day.
“This first-time effort is an attempt to inspire all to support the teaching and learning of history by capturing a self-made image of one’s self in front of something that reflects one’s local history: a monument of one’s forefather or mother; a frontier schoolhouse, a unique and famous spot, even a still-standing saloon, museum officials said.
All photo sharers should use the hashtag #HistoryRelevance.
Sharlot Hall Museum Executive Director Fred Veil welcomes any and all to come on Wednesday to visit the museum with their cell phones and selfie sticks. They can then pose in front of the very first governor’s mansion, or any of the other historic homes and properties that compose the downtown museum site. After they capture their place in history, Veil and other historic preservationists want people to post the pictures on their Facebook and social media pages, or send them to the historic organizations in their communities.
“When you experience history, you understand its importance,” Veil said in an interview on Tuesday.
Sharlot Hall opted to be part of this inaugural movement because Veil embraces the notion of finding new ways to engage one’s citizenry, the young and the mature, in history. Though he recognizes that some museum members may have never taken a “selfie” before, he urges them to give it a try; it’s easier than one might think.
“Quite simply, the study of the past links people to the present. By preserving the past, we spark inspiration for the future,” Veil said in a news release about the event. “It cultivates critical thinking and analytical skills, and lays the groundwork for empowered communities.”
Prescott has a rich history, from the historic courthouse plaza where people have gathered for more than century to launch political campaigns, celebrate national events and honor the artisans of the day. The Palace Saloon on Whiskey Row has welcomed such guests as The Earps and their gun slinging/hard gambling dentist friend “Doc” Holliday at its historic bar that was spared the big July fire of 1900 that burned down Whiskey Row. All around the plaza and downtown are bronze historic placards that tell the stories of merchants, community leaders and legends, and celebrate the hallowed ground and buildings where history unfolded.
Veil suggests any of these places are “selfie” worthy as the pursuit of history is key to modern identity and culture.
“If we don’t understand our past, we really don’t have any grounding on who we are,” Veil concluded.