Kanter, Jodi. Presidential Libraries and Performance, 1st ed., Signed
Kanter Takes a Close Look at the Mission of Presidential Libraries
Jodi Kanter, Presidential Libraries as Performance analyzes presidential libraries as performances that encourage visitors to think in particular ways about executive leadership and about their own roles in public life.
How do the funding, setting architecture, and exhibition of a presidential library shape our understanding of the president’s character? And how do diverse performances of the presidency create radically different opportunities for the practice of American citizenship?
Kanter considers the moments in the presidents’ lives the museums choose to interpret, and not to interpret, and how the libraries approach common subjects in the presidential museum narrative—the presidents’ early years in relation to cultural ideals, the libraries’ representations of presidential failures, personal and political, and the question of presidential legacy. Identifying the limited number of strategies the libraries currently use to represent the diversity of the American experience and American character, Kanter offers concrete suggestions for reinventing and reshaping the practices of museum professionals and visitors within the walls of these institutions.
Presidential museums can tell us important things about the relationships between performance and politics, entertainment and history, and leaders and the people they lead. Kanter demonstrates how the presidential libraries generate normative narratives about individual presidents, historical events, and what it means to be an American.
Kanter, Jodi. PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES AS PERFORMANCE: CREATING AMERICAN CHARACTER FROM HERBERT HOOVER TO GEORGE W. BUSH. Carbondale: (2016). 1st ed., 179p., illus., paperback.
Jodi joined us on A House Divided. Watch the Program Below: