Monumental Conversations: What We Found When We Analyzed America’s Monuments
As part of the Mellon Foundation’s unprecedented new Monuments Project, Philadelphia-based nonprofit art and history studio Monument Lab undertook a comprehensive audit of our country’s commemorative landscape, scouring almost half a million records of historic properties to better understand the dynamics and trends that have shaped our nation’s monuments. Join Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Dr. Paul Farber, Director of Monument Lab for a discussion that will dive into Monument Lab’s findings, and explore what they mean for the future of our commemorative landscape.
The National Monument Audit, produced by Monument Lab in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, assesses the current monument landscape across the United States. Monument Lab’s research team spent a year scouring almost a half million records of historic properties created and maintained by federal, state, local, tribal, institutional, and publicly assembled sources. For our deepest investigations, we focused on a study set of approximately 50,000 conventional monuments representing data collected from every US state and territory. The National Monument Audit allows us to better understand the dynamics and trends that have shaped our monument landscape, to pose questions about common knowledge about monuments, and to debunk falsehoods and misperceptions within public memory. The National Monument Audit is meant to inform Mellon’s landmark Monuments Project, a $250 million investment designed to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces and ensure that future generations inherit a commemorative landscape that venerates and reflects the vast, rich complexity of the American story.”