A tale of two missions: Common pasts/divergent futures at transnational historic sites

Debora Ryan, Emily Stokes-Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is an examination of the use of Native content in two contrasting sites, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland, Ontario, and Skänoñh-Great Law of Peace Center in Syracuse, New York. These two sites share a common history, not only as early French settlements, but also as living history museums established in the twentieth century to memorialize and celebrate seventeenth-century Jesuit missions. Revisiting them today reveals their transformation into two very different museum models, incorporating very different methods of presenting indigenous knowledge. The authors consider how two distinct narratives have evolved in the twenty-first century, and how public memory continues to shape visitor expectations. The paper adds to the conversation about museums' continuing incorporation of diverse historical narratives into their interpretation and programming as well as a rethinking of the ways in which we produce history for public consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-39
Number of pages30
JournalPublic Historian
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Cultural centers
  • Haudenosaunee
  • Livinghistory
  • museums
  • Nativeinterpretation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • History
  • Museology

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