August 21, 2019 – Westport Historical Society

“Place in History”

Looking at the past to understand the present. Yeah of course. Looking at the past to better understand it, as it illuminates the lives of past societies and communities, and how they impact and shape the present, yeah better.

The task of preserving knowledge about past ways of life, customs, how science developed, how technology evolved to meet the needs of emerging societies is fundamental to keep alive and explain the growing human imprint. From tools to spoons, to early ads, to powerful photographs – these products of history, representing a moment in time and place, convey but only a sliver of that one moment among many moments of people’s past. Objects tell us a story, the story we dare imagine of those times. What kind of people were they? Whose objects are the ones preserved? Whose objects were lost, and, along with with them, their stories? Are the stories of the surviving objects similar to those whose objects are gone?

Old photographs bring, for me, compelling stories as they show the people in their clothes of the era, their face and body expressions, the streets and houses of the era, the instruments of the era, the transport of the era, the other characters who complement that scene. All converging at that time, in that place, through that photograph…