The Incredible Legacy of Historical Ancient Women: Where are they in film? — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information.

By Lindsey Perritt

A question that I have currently asked myself is where is the representation of women from the ancient history in modern day films? We see films like Gladiator, Alexander the Great, and Troy. The issue I encounter is the missing representation of powerful women that ruled and bravely campaigned for their kingdoms.

As an historian in training I have researched many incredible subjects of interest. My focus in history is women in ancient Egypt, and my favorite area of study is the life and legacy of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut. My minor is women and gender studies (WGST) and I have learned so much in the last two years about powerful and influential women.

The women I search for in films are women that defied all the rules of the patriarchal system of their ancestors. Sure we have films like Elizabeth I or the new Mary Queen of Scotts (which personally I’m dying to see) but I feel that these films are produced simply because of the Tudor legacy that Henry VIII left behind. The scheming, the passion and of course the bloody executions have always intrigued the public and historians alike, myself included.

Women in films are always dependent on the male figures in their life, or have a romantic connection to a dashing male lead. What I am hoping for is a film that shows the biography of women such as Hatshepsut or Neferusobek, women who ruled powerful empires. Representation of women who set the foundation for a lasting legacy that historians, archeologists, and scholars alike scramble to understand and teach. Where are the proposals for a film of a woman who ruled a powerful empire? Where can the public discover such historical figures outside the classroom?

Whenever I discuss my major with the general public who inquiry what I study I say Hatshepsut’s name and I receive bewildered expressions. “Who?” they repeat and laugh, and I then proceed to rant and rave about an incredible, powerful woman in history. Public history has many intersectional aspects, and though films can be skewed or flawed, the impact is everlasting. Whenever I attend my ancient Rome classes, the Gladiator movie is constantly brought up and discussed. Whenever I speak of ancient Egypt I hear the consistently mentioned name of Tutankhamun. A whole three-day movie event premiered the television series for Tutankhamun, but he was merely a young man whose rule is only remembered by his intact tomb, not his actions or surviving building structures.

All I ask is for the acknowledgement of more women from the ancient world and to be remembered in a more public way.

via The Incredible Legacy of Historical Ancient Women: Where are they in film? — CCU Public History Fall 2018

Graffiti: Historic Art Form or Vandalism? — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information.

By Autumn McNutt

Graffiti is represented in the form of writings and drawings that are usually displayed on public walls and surfaces. Graffiti is created with art tools such as paint, spray paint, pens, chalk, or even debris for a more eclectic approach to art. The history of graffiti is very fascinating and tricky in its explanation.

Some people do not agree that the defacement of public property for ones creative interest can be considered an art form. In the modern era it was considered a crime and participants faced fines and vandalism charges for taking part in showcasing their art on public and private property. Graffiti can be used for various stances on political and social opinions. In Berlin, most of the graffiti has been preserved for the interest of historic, political commentary, criticism, and reflection that dates back to post World War II Germany. The East Side Gallery is one of the best examples that illustrate how graffiti is interpreted as a form of protest. There are one hundred and five from artists all over the world that have participated in this lively and visually fascinated gallery. It not only a form of protest but a rebellion against years of tyranny and oppression that has proven to provide an outlet desired for political change and personal freedom.

What many people aren’t aware of is that Graffiti has been popular since the ancient times. Some of the early evidence of Graffiti dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece. For example, an excavated street address written on a building in the Greek city of Ephesus is thought to have been an advertisement for a brothel. Other ancient graffiti found today is also personal in nature, and might involve messages regarding individual love and interest. Graffiti excavated in Pompeii contains examples of spells, slogans, and literary quotes, which has given historians a great deal of information about ancient life in Pompeii during its final days. For instance, the recent excavated Graffiti that has shed light on a possible re-interpretation of when Pompeii was destroyed.

Recently, graffiti can be associated with Hip-Hop and pop culture, particularly in the U.S. In countries like Brazil, graffiti has a more respectful connotation and reputation that haa allowed buildings to be commissioned. There are many groups and organizations that have advocated to legitimize and embrace graffiti art as an actual art form. However, many graffiti artists continue to be treated as criminals and vandals in the eyes of government officials and law enforcement. Because of the legal disputes of graffiti, many of these artists have learned to work quickly and efficiently, and a lot have to maneuver around certain times in the day to be able to showcase their art.

While these controversies inhibit certain work, many people who advocate for this form of art, have created galleries and exhibits that showcase graffiti and the history that it has endured for centuries.

Works Citied

via Graffiti: Historic Art Form or Vandalism? — CCU Public History Fall 2018

Community Involvement in Archaeology: Benefits, Obstacles, and Potential — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information.

By Sydney James

This past June and July, I was lucky enough to attend the Koobi Fora Field School (KFFS), a paleoanthropological, research-intensive field school run by George Washington University and National Museums of Kenya. Our work took place in northern Kenya, on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana. While we moved camp numerous times over the course of our 6-week stay, one of the most fascinating was in Ileret, a town on the shore of Lake Turkana named after the nearby river.

During our time at Ileret, we were camped in the center of a Dassanach community. The Dassanach are a semi-nomadic, pastoral tribe native to east Turkana, and interaction with them was a typical part of our daily routine. We were able to learn much about their day-to-day life, language, and culture. KFFS has built up an excellent relationship with the people, making research within the area and of the community much easier. One of the biggest benefits of this relationship, however, has been what we have been able to learn about the archaeological record from what we observe in their culture. Many of the traditions and practices that the Dassanach have are similar to what we would expect to find in the more recent archaeological record, and as such, we have a better understanding of some of the findings.

This relationship, of course, works both ways. Much of the archaeology taking place in the region is focused on paleoanthropological work in a time period before ancestors of the Dassanach would have been in the area. There is, however, research being done on sites much more recent. In either of these scenarios, the heritage of the Dassanach is a topic of interest, whether it is directly related or related more to the origins of humanity as a whole. That being said, collaborative work with the Dassanach is beneficial for both the Dassanach themselves and the researchers. The field school has, in the past, hired Dassanach people for work both in the field and at the camp, and allows them the opportunity to explore some different aspects of their heritage that might not otherwise be available. In return, the Dassanach offer the researchers insight on culture and tradition that is extremely beneficial.

While the benefits to this relationship are readily apparent, there are some obstacles with it as well. For his final project, one student researched some of the issues that were preventing interaction of the Dassanach in the fieldwork. The biggest issue that he found? Because of a combination of a language barrier and access to education, many of the Dassanach still are unsure as to what we were researching. The question then becomes how we can find a solution to this problem so that the communities that our work is directly influencing can play an active role.

Of course, these benefits are not isolated to our work in northern Kenya with the Dassanach – and neither are the obstacles. There is so much potential in working with community groups on archaeological work, yet because of issues such as these, much of that potential is untapped. A step toward solving this is in research itself. By reaching out to communities and inquiring about interest and involvement, doors to new relationships and new information can be readily opened, with benefits for both parties waiting on the other side.

via Community Involvement in Archaeology: Benefits, Obstacles, and Potential — CCU Public History Fall 2018

The Fight for Accurate History in the Classroom — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information.

By Jessica Bradwell

My mother has been a special education teacher for students who are emotional disabled in South Carolina for almost 20 year now, a career she has always been very passionate about. Her aim is not only to uplift and encourage her students to learn, but also make sure the education they are receiving is accurate and honest. This is especially hard to do in South Carolina, which has always seemed to rank almost dead last in education in the country every single year.

A couple years ago she realized the history book assigned for that year’s curriculum was completely inaccurate and seemed to only focus on a certain point of view. She discovered this was especially noticeable in the chapter covering the Civil War. The chapter had about two paragraphs on African-American’s role during the Civil War. Along with that, it seemed to have only a brief paragraph on women’s role in the Civil War. The rest of the chapter seemed to be focused on the role of white men during the war.

After critically analyzing the book she decided that in order to fully educate her students on the subject she was not going to use the book. Instead she decided to use an alternate text that focused strictly on African-American’s role in the Civil War and another that focused on women’s roles. She wanted to her students to fully understand just how big the role of African Americans and women had in the Civil War. She would still be covering all the points in her curriculum just in a different way.

One day she was called in the principal’s office where she met with one of her student’s parents. The parent was concerned because the student had not brought home his textbook in a while. My mom explained that the book’s chapter on the Civil War was not giving well rounded overview of the war and everyone’s role. She went on to explain how the whole book was written by white males and just how biased the book seemed to be, especially in the chapter. She retrieved the book from her classroom and went on to show proof throughout the entire textbook.

The parent, who also happened to be an upper-class white female still could not grasp at the idea of this even being remotely true. She was insisting her child use the textbook. My mom continued to debate the subject but was told to come to some kind of agreement with the parent. My mom accepted the truce but still had a trick up her sleeve. She decided that her students would no longer have homework and would be doing all work in class. The students continued to do work without the textbook and the parent had no homework to complain about.

Although this was a small fight towards change in terms of race and gender bias in history books, it was a victory. Without my mom these students would not fully understand the importance that African-Americans had in this war and the important role women had as well.

via The Fight for Accurate History in the Classroom — CCU Public History Fall 2018

Just for Kids? In Defense of Science Museums — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information. 

By Joseph Breault

Do me a favor; I want you to take a minute to think about a science museum. Unless you’re a parent, you probably haven’t been to one since you were a kid yourself. What do you remember about them? The interactive displays? All the flashy exhibit pieces drawing your attention all over the building?  If you were to stop into one again today, you’d probably find it exactly as you remember; including full of children.

That’s because children are the primary demographic for many science museums, something that can be seen from just looking at one of those institutions’ websites. Because of this, they can often be considered the red-headed step-child of museum disciplines; a flashy gimmick to draw in kids for a few hours with no real significance towards education.

But why should we be so quick to dismiss them, or worse, delegate them to children’s entertainment?  I argue that in the modern world, where many pressing topics in science and society are becoming subjects of controversy, people could use more science.  For many adults, natural history museums fill a similar interest in science while providing a more “dignified” setting.  This is a bit of a false comparison however, for one reason in particular.  While natural history museums often explain “what,” science museums ask “why” and encourage patrons to discover that for themselves.

A 2015 study by the University of Chicago found that students—college-level students, not children—who physically experienced scientific concepts understood them more thoroughly than those who simply observed them.

This result should be no surprise to those in the public history field; isn’t that deeper understanding why so many “adult” museums and institutions include interactive components? Not only did the students who received hands-on experience with difficult scientific concepts obtain a more detailed understanding, but they also retained that understanding for weeks afterwards.

The students who performed hands-on experimentation with the two bicycle wheels in the study learned topics including angular momentum and torque.  This is an example of what can be possible when we take a common feature of science museums, that is the abundance of interactive learning, and apply it into a space geared towards more “adult” learning spaces.

Not just exploring what something is or when it occurred, but how it happens and why.

Science museums could be important institutions looking at the key topics today, alongside general scientific information.  Climate change and human involvement in it, vaccinations, and even whether the Earth is flat or not are among the most bitterly debated scientific topics today.

A 2011 discussion put out by the Association of Science-Technology Centers asked whether science centers and museums have a role in developing or hosting exhibitions on controversial topics.  The response, from members of science museums and other institutions around the world were an overwhelming yes.Combine this with the results of the University of Chicago’s study, and the result is a more educated society of youths and adults on the most pressing issues of our time.

Why, then, do the combined percentage of Natural History/Natural Science Museums and Science & Technology Museums constitute a smaller distribution of museums than botanical gardens?

An official government estimate of museums in 2014 found that there were roughly 35,000 active in the United States.  Although it shouldn’t be a surprise that historic sites, societies, and preservations are the highest percentage of museum types, the fact that there were only about 385 science museums active as recently as 2014 is quite frankly shocking.

Perhaps a remedy to the conflicts with science in the present day is to both increase the number of scientific museums in the country, and to reduce the stigma that science museums should only be for kids.


Allen, Sue. Designs for Learning: Studying Science Museum Exhibits That Do More Than Entertain. April 7, 2004. doi: 10.1002/sce.20016.

Association of Science-Technology Centers. “Do You Think Science Centers and Museums Have A Role In Developing or Hosting Exhibitions on Controversial Topics? Why or Why Not?” Accessed November 9, 2018.

Ingmire, Jann. “Learning by doing helps students perform better in science.” UChicago News, April 29, 2015. Accessed November 9, 2018.

Institute of Museum and Library Services. “Government Doubles Official Estimate: There are 35,000 Active Museums in the U.S.” Accessed November 9, 2018.

via Just for Kids? In Defense of Science Museums — CCU Public History Fall 2018

White Washing in Movies — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information. 

By Summer Berry

Every day we see different movies being announced and released for a wide market. However, we all see certain movies made that are based form Greek and Egyptian Mythology that casts a white majority cast: Gods of Egypt, and Clash/Wrath of the Titans are two examples.

Though I am personally a fan of Greek Mythology and the attention to detail that was put into the Clash of the Titan films, most of the cast is either American or British. I’m a big fan of movies like this but it truly gets on my nerves that films that are created in the Mediterranean or even somewhere in the middle east would cast of mostly white actors to be in the film,

There are also a lot of Asian movies that have been white washed as well though not being as popular in the states as movies like Gods of Egypt. Movies that center around religion aren’t safe from this practice either. They are set in the Middle East and none of their actors are from there. Who’s the main lead inNoah? Russell Crowe. Then you’ve got The Passion of the Christ, not only depicting the treatment of Jesus from the bible but also the way people may have lived during the time he had lived. Though most of the cast was not Middle Eastern as it should have been to maintain a perfect representation of the culture.

The Lone Ranger comes under major criticism as well since Johnny Depp played Tonto, the Native American character, in the film. Like many people Depp is a very talented actor, but he is not a Native American and his portrayal may be offensive to Native Americans that see the film. Though at the time that the original Lone Ranger TV show was made, I highly doubt that anyone was concerned about having the race or ethnicity of the characters perfect, however we have the chance now to change that. To take the idea of all of us being separated by the way we look: our hair color, skin color, ethnic background.

The only films that aren’t white washed would be those that deal primarily with the kings and queens of Europe. Films like Elizabethand Shakespeare In Love, having the queen being depicted as accurately as possible for the time that those films should be set in. This would be culturally accurate and most of the rulers from both France and England were white. However, we do not usually see them having any servants or handmaids that are colored, Indian or what other. We have the power now to make films that could accurately reflect what may have happened in certain time periods. Not only with the stories that they can tell but also with those we hire to portray such people. Be it a woman to play an Amazonian warrior, or a man from the Mediterranean to portray Zeus in the next Clash of the Titans movie. We can make this change, but I ask you, why haven’t we?


via White Washing in Movies — CCU Public History Fall 2018

Meet MMM: Trish Biers — Mors Mortis Museum

More about Mors Mortis Museum this week! Read more about my amazing co-conspirator in all things death, museums, and human remains – Dr. Trish Biers!

I remember the night so vividly, my father and I stood behind a burgundy velvet rope waiting to go into the cinema. I didn’t know what to expect, it was quite a grown-up movie for me and the excitement around opening night was a big deal for a little girl. Seeing Raiders of the Lost […]

via Meet MMM: Trish Biers — Mors Mortis Museum

Video Games as Public History — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information. 

By Sean Butler

It has recently been through modern movies, television, art, music and the Internet that has lead society to create an expanding narrative for telling history and that is through video games. Video games have over the years become so ingrained in society that journalist Martha Irvine wrote in 2008, “in a survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project ninety-seven percent of young respondents play video games.”[1]


Those numbers would be even higher today as many age groups have become more exposed to video games in the case of Fortnite: Battle Royale played by nearly 80 million people in the month of August alone in 2018.[2]

While, history is not a primary concern in Fortnite what is does start to signify is culturally younger groups are looking to new ways to socialize and become interacted with other cultures around the world. These shifting interests is what has led to a constant battling among developers to create newer more interactive video games.

A newer generation of video games is focused on the open-world concept letting players create and experience environments at their own pace. The best way to see this new open-world concept is in the latest Assassins Creed: Odyssey video game. Inside the game a player can experience the visually stunning landscape and hypothetical story of King Leonidas’s grandchildren and immerse themselves into a more historically accurate game based during the Peloponnesian War 431 to 404 B.C.E.[3]Audiences for this game have a greater opportunity to see what life was like in the ancient world and to learn through interactive gameplay the history of places, people, events and religious ideologies in Ancient Greece . What also, sets this game apart in a historical context from the rest is through the game it is the first time in this franchise’s history that you can experience the same story, but through either the perspectives of a man or woman. This is a scenario in which traditional history telling has fallen short as women throughout time have not been given a clear and equal voice.

While video games are becoming more historically relevant to general audiences. The next step is being able to teach history in a classroom setting through video games where culturally outside so many minds have already been immersed into video game life. This is a concept being taught by A. Martin Wainwright in his article, “Teaching Historical Theory through Video Games,” in which, he talks about portraying many issues in history through the lenses of historical video games like Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. [4]Fundamentally video games are enjoyed by millions and has the potential to reenergize the boorish methods for teaching history.

[1]Martha Irvine, “Survey: Nearly Every American Kid Plays Video Games,” ABC News, September 17, 2008,

[2]Ben Gilbert, “‘Fortnite’ Just Had Its Biggest Month Ever, with Nearly 80 Million People Playing in August,” Business Insider, September 21, 2018,

[3]Paul Tassi, “Here’s Why There Are No Assassins In ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey,’” Forbes, June 12, 2018,

[4]A. Martin Wainwright, “Teaching Historical Theory through Video Games,” The History Teacher47, no. 4 (2014): 579–612.

via Video Games as Public History — CCU Public History Fall 2018

Meet MMM: Katie Clary — Mors Mortis Museum

Hey, it’s me! Read more about my work with Trish Biers and Mors Mortis Museum here. How did I get into death studies? What are my research goals? Maybe this blog will answer some of those questions. MMM has some great things coming up, and we are excited to get together again in the UK this fall at the Association for Death and Society conference at University of Bath.

This post introduces MMM co-founder Dr. Katie Clary and her entry into death studies as a museum professional. Be on the lookout for more blogs from Dr. Clary and Dr. Biers this summer! In 2015 I was on the job market after leaving a position of Executive Director of a Historic House Museum in Tennessee, USA. […]

via Meet MMM: Katie Clary — Mors Mortis Museum

A History Nerd Changes a Non-Believer in Charleston, South Carolina — CCU Public History Fall 2018

This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website,, for more information. 

By Triona Fihaley

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 was a day unlike any other: this was a day that I went to Charleston, South Carolina with a mission. That mission in question was to turn my roommate, who finds history to be one the most boring subjects, into a woman who finds it interesting.

Read more via A History Nerd Changes a Non-Believer in Charleston, South Carolina — CCU Public History Fall 2018