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Excavating History

Excavating History as a project unfolds and liberates from dust the stories of our past so they can vibrate in the present moment. The practice that Rebecca Keller, her students, and affiliated artists are together refining and developing -- that of interpreting the interpretations -- creates a double hinge that opens out into imaginative and fictional spaces, even as the artists choose to navigate the material constraints of sanctioned historic sites. This book provides a crucial link between these projects, each one intense and specific.

--A. Laurie Palmer, artist & Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Excavating History challenges revered assumptions about the role of history in contemporary life and how its public value is created. Through compelling case studies that embody the concept of excavating as both metaphor and methodology, Keller shows that artists unique training in visual culture allows them to illuminate and interpret the multiple layers of evidence that historic sites often ignore, hide, or simply don't see. Excavating History is not only an insightful meditation on the intersection of art and history but also a clear call for archivists, historians, and curators to partner with artists to harness the power of history.

--Russell Lewis, Executive Vice President & Chief Historian, Chicago History Museum

Throughout these essays, there is a moral passion that ignites our collective imaginations about truth in history and the history of truth. For anyone who cares about whose stories get told and whose are left out and censored read his book -- you will be left reeling, provoked, intellectually challenged and inspired.

--Lisa Yun Lee, Director of Jane Addams Hull-House Museum