Film and history: An invitation


Photo credit: Tomás Fano

Photo credit: Tomás Fano

To moviemakers, history is an endless source of human drama.

To historians, movies are a powerful art form that can accurately represent the past, seriously distort it–or both.

As historians and other professionals concerned with presenting or preserving history, you have a perspective on the role of history in movies that is critically important.

Which is why Smithsonian magazine and the National Museum of American History are inviting you to take part in this survey. It is being conducted in conjunction with the “History Film Forum: Secrets of American History” festival at the museum November 19 to 22.

The goal of the survey is to gain a better understanding of the history community’s views of the often fraught relationship between history and movies. What do you think of the influence of feature films and documentary movies on Americans’ understanding of history? Has the impact been mostly positive? Or negative? What movies have done the best job of presenting history? The worst?

The questions are potentially limitless. Luckily, our survey is not. If you are going to participate–and we urge you to do so–you must complete the survey by Sunday, October 18 at 9 p.m. It’ll take less than five minutes.

And the results just might make history.

~ Terry Monmaney, Deputy Editor, Smithsonian magazine

1 comment
  1. Teresa van hoy says:

    My Public History initiatives put student-produced microdocumentary films at the core of our effort to move history into the “Streets&Squares.” I would love the chance to share our projects, and get more training so as to support my students better.

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