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History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Great History Websites

SAFE Tours


Guided by journalists, art historians, archaeologists and museum specialists, SAFE tours provide an “insider's look” at museum collections. These tours are conducted in intimate groups, with up to six people at a time. We also customize tours to suit participants' specific interests. Tours last about an hour-and-a-half.

SAFE Tours are $30 per person, plus group admission to the museums. All SAFE members enjoy 20% off for all tours, Donors receive one complimentary SAFE Tour per year.

The Lost Museum


In 1841 the showman Phineas Taylor Barnum opened his American Museum in NewYork City. Dominating lower Broadway at Park Row, in no time Barnum'sAmerican Museum became the"most visited place in America."

For more than twenty years, for six days a week, fifteen hours a day, city slickers and country folk alike flocked to the five-story building to marvel at and mock its myriad of changing attractions.A cornucopia of exhibitions offered visitors, in no particular order, information and entertainment, scientific knowledge and trumped-up fantasy, moral lessons and cruel voyeurism, the sacred and the profane.

Shortly after twelve noon on Thursday, July 13, 1865, in one of the most spectacular fires in New York's history, Barnum's American Museum was destroyed.

Dreaming of Freedom: The Intellectual Journey of Dr. John Hope Franklin


As Duke University celebrates the 90th birthday of Dr. John Hope Franklin, Perkins library is proud to host an online and physical exhibit celebrating Dr. Franklin’s intellectual and professional journey. The exhibit includes photographs, correspondence, and other materials included in the papers of John Hope Franklin, which will be open to the public beginning February 2005. The exhibit highlights Dr. Franklin’s passage from Rentiesville, Oklahoma, to Fisk University, and through the halls of academia and public service.

Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century


Librarian Matthew White is behind this website, which features an astonishing array of demographic and political data in the form of a series of detailed and colorful maps.

HNN's Jonathan Dresner reports that the site has"some interesting alternate histories, as well, including the 'what if all the separtists won?' map, the 'what if Australia had been colonized by Muslims like Indonesia?' map, and the '20c Middle Earth' map (including the Hobbits' Autonomous Socialist Republic of the Shire)."

Experience Acceleration Support Environment


Welcome to EASE History, an Experience Acceleration Support Environment that supports historical understanding and brainstorming.

EASE History Campaign Ads is an interactive learning environment where presidential campaign ads are entry points to learn about campaign issues and their historical context, as well as the persuasive techniques and strategies that are part of political campaigns.

More generally, the environment can be used to learn about history, from a beginner or a more advanced perspective, using video clips of historical events.

Myths Textbooks Pass Along

Rate Your Textbook (From the homepage of Ray Raphael)

Real people, not paper heroes, make history. That’s why people’s history is so important — but the process of myth-making, masquerading as history, has kept common people from assuming center stage.

How do you know your text is telling the truth?

I have examined a wide assortment of recent and widely used textbooks at the elementary, middle school, and secondary levels. Many were featured at the annual convention for the National Council for the Social Studies in November, 2002. The rest are currently approved for use in California, which has among the strictest selection criteria in the nation.

Click on the title of a textbook, and you will see a page-by-page breakdown of the “founding myths” it perpetuates. If your text is not featured here, and you would like to see it critiqued, please contact me. If you send me a copy, I will critique it, post the results on this webpage, and return your book.

Gulf of Tonkin

National Security Archive: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 40 Years Later ... Flawed Intelligence and the Decision for War in Vietnam

Forty years ago, President Johnson and top U.S. officials chose to believe that North Vietnam had just attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, even though the highly classified signals intercepts they cited to each other actually described a naval clash two days earlier (a battle prompted by covert U.S. attacks on North Vietnam), according to the declassified intercepts, Johnson White House tapes, and related documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Compiled by Archive senior fellow and Vietnam expert John Prados, today's 40th anniversary electronic briefing book includes Dr. Prados's detailed analysis of the intercepts - only declassified in 2003 - together with audio files and transcripts of the key Tonkin Gulf conversations between President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. The latter are excerpted from Dr. Prados's book, The White House Tapes (New York: The New Press, 2003). The posting also contains photographs and charts from the Tonkin Gulf incident courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center, a detailed documentary chronology compiled by the State Department's Office of the Historian for the Foreign Relations of the United States series, a CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate on possible North Vietnamese responses to U.S. actions from May 1964 (just declassified in June 2004), and links to previous and upcoming Archive publications on Vietnam.

Sullivan/Clinton Campaign, 1779-2004


This year, NY State is commemorating the 225th Anniversary of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, one of the most significant and off-the-radar events in US history. Amidst the American Revolution, George Washington ordered 6200 men of the Army not merely to overrun, but to destroy" the lands of the Iroquois Six Nations. They did, and the Iroquois have never been the same. It was the largest operation ever before undertaken against the native peoples of North America, and the second largest such expedition in US history. The website changes weekly and closely ties hard-hitting period and contemporary texts and images, including photos, flash movies, and coming soon, an interactive map (in multiple scenes) of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign. It also has an artists page where world-class artists like Ousmane Sow and Peter Jemison have contributed their images. These are devoted to a world freed of the Sullivan-Clinton legacy.

Kansas History Online


Just in time for the sesquicentennial of Kansas Territory and the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition ... a dynamic new Web site focused on Kansas history. Called KansasHistoryOnline, and accessible at www.kansashistoryonline.org, the project was conceived and developed by many of the same people who created This Week In KU History, which went live in November 2002 and is located at www.kuhistory.com. As with This Week In KU History, KansasHistoryOnline combines scholarly methodology with magazine-style journalism to provide site visitors with highly readable content that reflects academic standards. KansasHistoryOnline is a project of the Hall Center for the Humanities and the Kansas State Historical Society.



George Washington University's National Security Archive, in partnership with Brown University's Watson Institute for International Affairs, generated worldwide headlines by gathering U.S., Russian and Cuban veterans of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis for two days of discussions in Havana on October 11-12, 2002, followed by a tour of the last surviving remnants of the missile emplacements on the island. Cuban President Fidel Castro hosted the 40th anniversary conference and participated fully in both days' deliberations. The conference featured extraordinary discussions and new revelations from archival documents from 10 countries -- including memoranda of conversation between Cuban and Soviet leaders, detailed information on Cuban-Soviet military ties, recently declassified U.S. intelligence analyses, and new information about nuclear dangers arising from the crisis that have been unknown until now.

ATOMIC SECRETS: This Letter Will Constitute Your Authority ... The Eisenhower 10


"You may recall that in late May, I wrote advising of the existence of classified letters from President Eisenhower to ten private citizens throughout the country giving them authority over various parts of the economy and total society in the event of a declaration of a national emergency..."— Excerpt from August 19, 1961 memorandum to National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy from Presidential Assistant Frederick G. Dutton

It is something of a tradition in Washington for staffers from a Presidential administration exiting office to leave a few surprises for the incoming administration of the opposing party. In 2001, for example, Democratic White House office workers removed the letter"W" from computer keyboards in an effort to annoy President-elect Bush's people.

Of course, the"W" prank sounds pretty innocuous when compared to the ten letters President Eisenhower issued to (mostly) private citizens in 1958 and 1959 granting them unprecedented power in the event of a"national emergency" (read: A-Bomb attack). What no doubt caught the eye of Mr. Dutton (as quoted above) is the fact that these extraordinary missives had no expiration dates on them. One can only imagine President Kennedy's reaction to this news in light of the fact that he was also dealing with other surprises left for him by those irrepressible Dulles brothers.