The cultural phenomenon known as the Colonial Revival emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of intense and unsettling social and economic change in the United States. Many fields of endeavor felt its impact, from architecture and literature to politics and advertising. Nowhere was this more evident than within the museum community. Historic preservation and restoration, gallery installations, research and publication efforts all reflected in some element of the Colonial Revival aesthetic, which postulated an American "golden age" stretching from the Pilgrim's arrival at Plymouth Rock to the death of Thomas J. Jefferson. In Creating a Dignified Past a distinguished group of museum professionals assess the impact of the Colonial Revival on American museums. Included are general overviews of the movement and detailed examinations of museums as diverse as Colonial Williamsburg, Wadsworth-Longfellow House (Portland, Maine), Pennypacker Mills (Pennsylvania), and Historic Cherry Hill (Albany, New York). Together, these essays provide new insights into the ways successive generations have interpreted and reinterpreted America's past.