In this lyrical volume Robert R. Archibald explores a growing crisis of modern America: the dissolution of place that leads to a dangerous rupture of community. Community-born historically within the collective space of the town square where citizens come together to share stories and make meaning of their common histories-is dissipating as Americans are increasingly isolated from that shared space and are being submerged into an individualistic consumer monoculture with disregard for the common good. This volume examines how public history museums and historians can help restore community by offering a source of identity for people and their places, becoming a wellspring of community and an incubator of democracy, a consciousness of connection with a responsibility to those in our past and future. The New Town Square offers its readers a space to understand and celebrate the shared space of community, and is a vital resource for public historians and those interested in restoring the meaning of community.
Since 1988 Robert R. Archibald has been president and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, Missouri. An active member of many professional and community organizations and author of A Place to Remember: Using History to Build Community (AltaMira 1999), he writes and speaks on numerous topics from history and historical practice to community building and environmental responsibility.
1 Acknowledgments 2 Introduction: The Past as Context 3 Chapter 1: Creating a Place 4 Chapter 2: The Power of Place 5 Chapter 3: Sharing the Story 6 Chapter 4: Making Connections 7 Chapter 5: Contemplating Change 8 Chapter 6: The Call of Wildness 9 Chapter 7: Sustaining the Future 10 Chapter 8: Touring a Culture 11 Chapter 9: A Wonderful Place 12 Chapter 10: Under Construction 13 Index 14 About the Author