A new exhibit opens Friday at the DAR Museum in Washington that promises to make our early American ancestors far less interesting.
"People were shorter then." "This is a 'Chippendale,' chair, named after the furniture maker who designed it." "George Washington personally gave this set of china to this family." Chances are, if you have visited a museum or historic house, you have heard one of these statements or something very similar. The DAR Museum exhibition "Myth or Truth? Stories We've Heard About Early America," which runs from October 6, 2006 - March 31, 2007, examines these types of statements and the reliability of history through word-of-mouth.
Some early American myths prove to be so lasting that they even repeat themselves in the context of contemporary society. Marvel at the tiny waist of a 19th century corset and your guide may tell you "some women had their lowest ribs removed surgically to achieve the fashionably thin waist." It may almost sound believable to you because you "heard Cher did it!" [Link]