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Interpreting Naval History at Museums and Historic Sites

Benjamin J. Hruska

Interpreting Naval History at Museums and Historic Sites demonstrates the broad appeal of naval themed commemoration, centering on military aspects from both times of war and peace.

Transcending place and time, naval history is shaped into public forums for modern day consumption. These occurrences are not limited to just recent history, as can be seen in the celebration of man’s long history of transforming bodies of water from barriers into opportunities. In addition, with the modern day nation-state naval history is not just limited to areas near large bodies of water, as seen with landlocked states in the United States sharing in a proud naval tradition. Examples of this included in the book are USS Arizona, BB-39, and USS Missouri, BB-63.) Naval history is just one avenue, with sites marking the history of immigration, engineering technology, and architecture.. Naval history also extends into lighthouses and port facility construction which are the background of a host of U.S. Generals in the U.S. Army with the Army Corps of Engineers, which includes the Robert E. Lee.

Using an international approach, the book illustrates the intersection of the historical understanding of one’s place and naval traditions. Locating the boundaries, one finds both the depth and breath of the topics linking (and dividing) water and man.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / AASLH
Pages: 164Size: 7 3/8 x 10 1/4
978-1-4422-6367-3 • Hardback • August 2016 • $75.00 • (£49.95)
978-1-4422-6368-0 • Paperback • August 2016 • $30.00 • (£19.95)
978-1-4422-6369-7 • eBook • August 2016 • $28.00 • (£18.95)
Dr. Benjamin Hruska is a history instructor at Basis International School in Shenzhen, China. Before this he served as the court historian for the Department of Defense’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. He completed his PhD in Public History at Arizona State University in 2012 and his dissertation focused on the actions of self-commemoration by U.S. Navy veterans in World War II. Before graduate school he served as the Executive Director of a small maritime museum, the Block Island Historical Society on Block Island, Rhode Island. He earned an M.A. in Public History from Wichita State University in 2004 and a B.A. in History from Pittsburg State University in 2000.










At war with the dispersing seas of time, Benjamin Hruska provides a rich example-filled and exploratory guide to thinking and commemorating contemporary maritime history. His audience encompasses not just museum keepers and exhibition designers, politicians and historians, but individual sailors, families, friends and companions who seek to remember, honor, and narrate their heroes and dead. Keenly aware how fragile the threading kick of memory and the very vessels, objects, and agencies of remembrance sailors, ships, navies, and nations themselvesHruska passionately seeks the objects, mediums, and agencies that furnish platforms for remembering maritime lives, events, and fates. He draws his examples of successful display not just from preeminent contemporary maritime powers like Great Britain and the United States but other nations and groups that have reason to remember, honor, and narrate wars, commerce, and adventures that risked life and fortunes in the swells of water and time.
Joseph A. Amato, Professor Emeritus, Southwest Minnesota State University and Author of Everyday Life: How the Ordinary Became Extraordinary

Public historians engaged in presenting and interpreting naval history should have this book on their shelves for both information and inspiration. And other individuals with just a general interest in the art and craft of interpreting the American past will also find this book surprisingly relevant. Narratives of salt and fresh water history and the places that interpret them, Ben Hruska shows, have significance for us all in ways we have never imagined.
Dennis A. O'Toole, Ph.D., Co-founder, Cañada Alamosa Institute