American Myths and Stories: A response to Immigration with Laura Chmieleski
Dr. Laura M. Chmielewski is an Associate Professor of History and Chair of the History and Museum Studies programs at the State University of New York at Purchase, where she teaches early American, Atlantic World, and public history. She received her Ph.D. from City University of New York. Laura is the author of The Spice of Popery: Converging Christianities on an Early American Frontier (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), The Atlantic Experience: People, Places, Ideas (with Catherine M. Armstrong: Palgrave McMillan, 2014), and Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet: Exploration, Encounter, and the French New World (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2017), as well as several book chapters and anthologized essays. She was a Historian-in-Residence at History Hudson Valley, a consortium of historic properties, and part of the team that created the award-winning, National Endowment for the Humanities-funded “People Not Property: Slavery in the North” web resource.
Her current scholarly project is a study of the intersections of early American religion and maritime commerce, an exploration of Colonial Williamsburg’s rhetorical uses, and a social history of Catholic people in colonial America. Laura’s presentation today focuses on the Colonial Revival movement of the late 19th – early 20th centuries and the ways its creators sought to recast – and in some cases rewrite completely – the nation’s colonial past. New interpretations of its buildings and artifacts were designed with the special goal of educating immigrants from eastern and southern Europe on what it meant to be an American. This was also a consumer movement meant to create new “markets” in historical materials, and its evidence can be seen in multiple aspects of American life ranging from furniture and home design to travel and theatrical experiences!