“Time Travels to our Recent Pasts”

“Time Travels to our Recent Pasts”
Prof Jon Hunner, New Mexico State University, USA Ebbe Westergren, Kalmar Läns Museum, Sweden 

The last years Time Travels have been organized to recent times, early or even late 20th century. The reactions and emotions in these Time Travels have been quite strong, making a big impact on the participants. In New Mexico Time Travels to two periods in the 20th century illustrates how the past continues to live in the present. In turning to the years of 1912 and 1937, we see that themes that surface from the past are still current today, like equality, poverty, conflict and controversy. By using the past to look at the present, students gain a better understanding of history and of our human conditions.

In March 2009 Kalmar Läns Museum organized Time Travels in Nicaragua and also in South Africa to recent times.  In Nicaragua the Time Travel was part of a workshop in the small mountain town La Dalia. The Time Travel took place at the coffee farm La Estrella and the year was 1980, one year after the Sandinista revolution. Focus in the Time Travel was a literacy campaign that started 23 March 1980. People discussed how to build up the country after the revolution and each person’s contribution. The 60 people that took part were very engaged and they used their own knowledge of the time in the discussions and the singing. The place for the Time Travel back to 1986 in South Africa was the AME church in the township of Ikageng, Potchefstroom. The Time Travel focused on an illegal meeting with the Ikageng Civic Organisation in one of the darkest years of apartheid. The participants wrote protest placards, discussed boycotts and marches, sang songs and shouted slogans from the time. It was a fantastic engagement and the people from Ikageng took over the Time Travel completely and made it a full experience for everyone, also with indications to the situation in the country in 2009. ConclusionsTime Travels to the recent past with controversial issues              

  •  Raises a lot of emotions and engagement
  •  The past is still present. The past and today mix together
  •  Creates meaning for the participants
  •  The conflicts continue or is it a way towards reconciliation? 

It’s fascinating to make Time Travels to a time that many of the participants have strong memories from. Try it yourself!