Julie Hawks, Doctoral Student, American University

Proposal Type


  •  Seeking Additional Presenters
Related Topics
  • Material Culture
  • Memory
  • Museums/Exhibits

History museums that portray war tend to focus on brave soldiers and technology without problematizing battle scenarios or revealing how people and environments are adversely affected. Words such as “freedom,” “honor,” “sacred,” and “liberty” frame the displays’ meaning, which act more like recruitment tools than educational venues.

Increasingly, museums rely on corporate sponsorships. While these contributions may make sense from a financial perspective, exhibits funded by defense contrators or members of the military-industrial-complex should be scrutinized. These exhibits might be better understood as paid advertisements than educational venues. How much power do these companies wield over how American wars are portrayed in museums.


I am looking for several panelists who would like to present their research on how American war narratives are portrayed in museums, memorials, or parades or other public rituals, and how funding by particular entities, or lack thereof, has affected those displays.

I am open to suggestions for ways to frame these presentations / this panel.

If you have a direct offer of assistance, sensitive criticism, or wish to pass along someone’s contact information confidentially, please get in contact directly: Julie Hawks, [email protected]

If you have general ideas or feedback to share, please feel free to use the comments feature below.

All feedback and offers of assistance should be submitted by July 2, 2017.


  1. Mike Dove says:

    Liking this topic Julie! I would certainly be interested in attending such a session. I wonder if you might consider opening it up to war narratives in general, perhaps taking a comparative perspective with the inclusion of other nations’ experiences.

    1. Julie Hawks says:

      Thanks Mike! I would love to include other nation’s experiences. We are still working on the proposal, so I will pass your idea on to the others.

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