The art of public mourning
The Christian Science Monitor - 05/20/2014
Memorial Day in the United States was established not long after the Civil War as a way for the nation to honor members of the military who lost their lives in service. Amid other traditions that have sprung out of the holiday – parades, picnics, and concerts on the lawn – people still pay solemn respects at war memorials, sometimes leaving an ephemeral offering such as flowers.
But more often these offerings are substantial and lasting. Photographs, teddy bears, drawings, shoes, handwritten notes are just some of the tokens left at memorial sites. These present something of a curatorial problem: What should happen to all the stuff?
“This has become the way that Americans memorialize,” says Rainey Tisdale, a curator for “Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial,” an exhibit created for the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings using items left at the memorial site.