How might we help redefine how newly-(re)discovered identity and heritage are incorporated or (re)introduced into existing histories?
Cultural heritage represents a community’s sense of cultural identity, tradition, and history. Preservation has, however, privileged certain communities over others, and the latter of which have often been deliberately displaced and erased. In attempts to re-create more conclusive historic representations, many cities in the US have turned to the built environment, such as heritage museums, that aim at providing a “journey to the past” for the visitors. However, due to the lack of documented, written materials, these constructed spaces may often be more symbolic than authentic. While written histories have been prioritized, there is no reason why other forms of history should be disregarded. When we begin to uncover these hidden histories, how might our understanding of existing histories change? When we have forgotten about these stories for so long, how might we rediscover ways to celebrate them?
Looking at identity and heritage in the history and imagining a way to restore their places in the future, this Tiger Challenge team of Princeton students will work closely with the township of Montgomery, where the future Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum will be built. Not limiting to African Americans, this team will focus on creating an innovative way to rediscover, reintroduce, and reincorporate hidden stories into the existing history of the township.
Sadaf Jaffer, Mayor of Montgomery, one of the first South Asian women to serve as Mayor in the US