Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Trapped in History or Freed for Discovery?

Why do we study history? Perhaps because we do not want to repeat the horrid events. Or maybe we long to hold onto and honor the beneficial.

I read recently how new records of history will forever be different than those of the past. Gone are the days when the victors declared what occurred, controlling the narrative. Now, most individuals possess a handheld device to record and share events in real time. Can people twist the information for agenda. Absolutely. Could these same individuals display one side without showing all facets? Yep. Is there a likelihood the truth will prevail due to the sheer volume of accounts? We can hope so.

Having said all of that, how do we preserve what happened before these social times? What can we do to impart wisdom and spark curiosity in future generations? These are a few random thoughts on how different occupations and generations share.
  • Show don’t tell - A concept fiction writers learn and put into practice. When an author shows, they engage the reader. Yes, this is a tool. Yet, it brought about the consideration of the way new worlds and areas of study open for people to explore as they read.
  • Show and Tell - Students bring an item to share with the class. They explain what it is and the meaning for the individual or family.
  • On show to tell – Relics provide history via placards or with the help of docents in museums.
For me this is all about connections. It is nifty when scattered thoughts combine to deliver coherence and clarity. Seeing the big picture brings new awareness.

If you have been here a while, you might have read about my love for trees in prior posts. One of my fascinations is that they stood watching while history unfolded. When I see an old sentinel, I wonder what they observed. 

I was excited to see this display. Take a gander at the notations on this tree slice. Here are a few of the dates on the markers starting from the center.

"In 1348 this tree sprouted" 
"1492 Columbus arrives in America" 
"1620 Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock"
"1775 Revolutionary War Begins"
"1789 George Washington becomes President"

You get the idea. How incredible is that? This tree was here before the birth of the US. The last entry states "1959 Willis Carey Museum opens. Now named the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village."

This exhibit is on the property of The Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village. On a clear, crisp day, we toured outbuildings and cabins depicting daily life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibits inside gave a more detailed view. 

After reflecting on this visit and perusing the photos, I realized what neat connections lie between museums and literature. Much like the show and tell bits above, this is an example of how we share our history and invite others to experience our stories. Often in books I read about an item I have not seen. While the authors may share enough information to allow my imagination to fill in the blanks, it is still a neat opportunity to stumble across the actual item. I thought you might enjoy a few aha moments as well.

My favorite genre is Christian Historical Fiction. I wish I could remember the exact book where I learned this term. My guess is in one of Lori Benton’s Path Finders books, The Woods Edge, or A Flight of Arrows. Have you ever read of a parfleche? Here is an example below. It served as a sack or bag to protect Bibles, journals, and other items.

I am not sure if it was in William Henry is a FineName by Cathy Gohlke or in A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist. I remember reading about tobacco pouches and tobacco twists.

It could have been in any number of books, but perhaps in Stephanie Grace Whitson’s Dakota Moons or Prairie Winds series, a headdress adorned with eagle feathers. Did you know that each eagle feather in a headdress represents an act of bravery?

In all the accounts I read of Native Americans riding horses, I do not think I found one in which they used saddles on their horses. This is one used by the Blackfoot with a hook for a papoose board. Also, the most elaborate papoose board I have ever seen. 

In multiple novels, trappers’ cabins and trappers’ lines existed. Here is a reproduction of a room inside a cabin. These are authentic items owned and donated by Howard Balsdon, the last working trapper in the vicinity of the Cashmere Museum.

The next time you are enjoying the pages of a book and read a new term for an item you have not seen, consider searching for a photo online. Consult museum archives or look for a book on the topic in your local library. History will live on in your thoughts and maybe you will share what you learn with another.

Are there any unfamiliar items you can think of that caused you to pause while reading? Is there a book you read that you connected to an item in person at a later date?

As a child, Rebecca loved to write. She nurtured this skill as an educator and later as an editor for an
online magazine. Rebecca then joined the Cru Ministry - NBS2GO/Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO, at its inception. She serves as the YouVersion Content Creator, with over 110 Plans on the app.

Rebecca lives near the mountains with her husband and a rescued dog named Ranger. If it were up to her, she would be traveling - right now. As a member of ACFW and FHLCW, Rebecca learns the craft of fiction while networking with a host of generous writers. Connect with Rebecca: Facebook Goodreads Instagram Pinterest Twitter


  1. Thank you for posting today. I often look up events or terms from these posts to find out more information. I love that!!

  2. I very much enjoyed this post - especially about the tree and its history.