20 episodes

Conner Prairie's favorite research associates bring you the straight up facts of the history still affecting us today! We hold no punches getting straight down to the problems of the past and their ramifications. Come sit with us, and our guests, as we take a journey through problematic history!

This is Problematic‪!‬ Conner Prairie Museum

    • History
    • 4.4 • 14 Ratings

Conner Prairie's favorite research associates bring you the straight up facts of the history still affecting us today! We hold no punches getting straight down to the problems of the past and their ramifications. Come sit with us, and our guests, as we take a journey through problematic history!

    Which People's President? : Andrew Jackson's Populist Legacy

    Which People's President? : Andrew Jackson's Populist Legacy

    Our yearly take on the controversy-filled legacies of former presidents brings us to the infamous ‘Old Hickory’, Andrew Jackson. Curatorial research associate Dylan Rawles visits Zoe and Easton to unravel an often overlooked aspect of Jackson's legacy; Populism, along with its rise in the United States. Jackson prided himself as the “People’s president”, which made him the “voice of the people” who stood against the “untrustworthy higher-ups.” This mentality would grow and expand far beyond his death, taking on many elaborate shapes and identities. Populism’s role in U.S. politics both past and present, factors that enable such movements to take shape, the voices left out of the conversation, and the nearly impossible task of nailing down just who “the people” are and what they want- we explore it all today. As always, thank you for stopping by!

    36 Questions for Civic Love: https://www.nphm.org/civiclove
    Our sources:

    UC Santa Barbara. “Veto Message [of the Reauthorization of the Bank of the United States].” The American Presidency Project. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/veto-message-the-re-authorization-bank-the-united-states. 
    Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.
    Watson, Harry L. “Andrew Jackson’s Populism.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 3 (FALL 2017).
    Wilentz, Sean. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005.
    Further Reading/Viewing:
    Image of one of the “coffin hand bills” and a description from the Library of congress

    • 45 min
    Not so Great Equalizer: Horace Mann and K-12 Charter Schools with Andrew Collins

    Not so Great Equalizer: Horace Mann and K-12 Charter Schools with Andrew Collins

    Conner Prairie's Director of Business Intelligence, Andrew Collins, joins us to discuss funding and oversight for K-12 education. When common school trailblazer Horace Mann began his campaign to establish universal education in the United States, he saw it as the only way to overcome disparities plaguing the country and give every child an equal opportunity and access to quality educational opportunities. However, with public schools faltering on this promise, the recent rise of private charter schools have claimed to offer a similar opportunity as an alternative. Some charter schools succeed at providing this opportunity with an 'atypical' education in an honest way while some fail. Easton, Zoe, and Andrew Collins dive into just how deep the issue has become, who the true victims are, and how we can begin to re-center those who have always deserved a fair shot at achieving their dreams.
    Our sources:
    Baines, Lawrence. “Does Horace Mann Still Matter?” Educational Horizons, Vol. 84, No. 4 (Summer 2006).
    Burris and Cimarusti. “Chartered for Profit: The Hidden World of Charter Schools Operated for Financial Gain.” networkforpubliceducation.org (September 2020- February, 2021)
    Burris and Cimarusti. “Chartered for Profit II: Pandemic Profiteering.” networkforpubliceducation.org (2021)
    Cremin, Lawrence A.“Horace Mann.” Encyclopedia Britannica. (Jul 20, 1998).
    Jason, Zachary. “The Battle Over Charter Schools.” Harvard Graduate School of Education (May 20, 2017)
    Newton, Derek. “20,000 More Reasons To Never Go To A For-Profit School.” forbes.com (Dec 9, 2018)
    Smith, Casey “Charter schools win in proposed Indiana budget amid public advocacy campaign.” indianacapitalchronicle.com (MARCH 8, 2023)
    TBS Staff. “Guide to For-Profit Colleges: How to Avoid Predatory Schools.” thebestschools.org (September 2, 2022)

    Further Reading:

    • 43 min
    Owning the Past: Stewardship of modern museum collections

    Owning the Past: Stewardship of modern museum collections

    Our Prairie’s Collections Manager, Rebekah Furey, Collections Assistant, Rina Sim, and Educational Curriculum Specialist, Zoe Morgan join Easton to talk about museums (which we love!). Museums are beautiful places where stories can be told from across the globe and inspire curiosity in guests of all ages. However, when we look back at the history of museums, we find that many began as wonder shows for the wealthy to share their plunder from their respective “Ages of Exploration.” Museums today have a choice to decolonize their halls. Increasing diversity at all levels of museum employment, repatriation of objects to the Native American Nations who rightfully own them, ensuring exhibitions that explore history’s silenced voices are integrated and not segregated- we talk about it all on this journey! 
    More information about NAGPRA! 

    Our sources:
    Shoenberger, Elisa. “What does it mean to decolonize a museum?” MuseumNext (2023). 

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Chief Straw, False Monuments, and Native Misremembrance with David Heighway and Sara Schumacher

    Chief Straw, False Monuments, and Native Misremembrance with David Heighway and Sara Schumacher

    Guess Who’s back? David Heighway; joined alongside Curatorial’s very own Curator of Native American History and Life, Sara Schumacher. Chief Straw is an entity that has been on our minds for close to a year now- and we’re going to talk about him- beyond Strawtown’s namesake story. The Native American nations and their histories have long been misunderstood in the United States. It’s hard to piece the truth together, but “hard” doesn't mean “impossible.” If you’ve ever wanted to know what the info-gathering process is like for Historians in the museum field, you’ll love this in-depth look into the process. Join us as we break down the story, analyze the documents, and place the spotlight on the “actors” that make up the messy web surrounding Chief Straw. 
    Our sources:
    David Heighway. “A Mysterious Murder along the Frontier.” The Indiana History Blog (2016).
    Eiler, Kayla J. The Lenape on the Wapahani River. Muncie, IN. Ball State University, 2014.
    Erderame, Jyoti A. (2021) “Strawtown.” Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (2021).
    Ryan, Jordan. “White River History: Strawtown.” Discover White River (2021).
    “Strawtown Koteewi Park History.” Hamilton County, IN.
    The Hoosier History Live! team. “Lenape (Delaware) Indian heritage in Indiana.” Hoosier History Live! (2014)

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Prairie Little Liars: The myths of the Frontier/Pioneer

    Prairie Little Liars: The myths of the Frontier/Pioneer

    David Heighway is back once again to explore the intricacies of our country’s constructed memory! It finds its way into nearly every American home; lingering memories of a sparsely populated frontier and the rugged pioneer. Many family histories have followed this line of thinking for generations. It even shows up at our own “Pioneer museum” of Conner Prairie. And yet, while not necessarily fabricated, we can use new information to see what the world would have truly looked like. As historians ourselves-just like David, that’s the best we can hope to share!
    Show Notes:
    Guest: David Heighway- Hamilton County Historian at the Hamilton East Public Library.
    Library Website website: 
    He has written a book regarding strange local lore/ historical topics much akin to what we talk about in this episode- Hidden History of Hamilton County, Indiana
    Linked Here: https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-History-Hamilton-County-Indiana/dp/1467150177#:~:text=all%202%20images-,Hidden%20History%20of%20Hamilton%20County%2C%20Indiana,-Paperback%20%E2%80%93%20August%209 
    Also, Special thanks to Dylan Rawles- Our Conner Prairie Curatorial Assistant, for giving us the gift of reveling in the presence of his great historical skills.
    Our sources:
    A Pageant In/At Hamilton County: Stage setting for all episodes (Noblesville Southeastern Public Library 1923.
    Hamilton County’s first Centennial Celebration held at Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana, on October 3 and 4, 1923 (Source Library (Noblesville Southeastern Public Library, 1923)
    Rogers, Carol O. “Black and White in Indiana.” Indiana Business Review, Vol. 80, No. 2 (Summer 2005).

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Season 1 Blooper Reel

    Season 1 Blooper Reel

    We are forever thankful for the power of editing and the privilege to remove our less-than-perfect moments. However, we have to laugh at ourselves every now and then. We invite you to laugh with us, as we've lined up some goofs, jokes, and random singing from the entirety of Season 1 as well as a few audio-related side-projects!
    Thank you so much for sticking with us thusfar, here's to another season of generating food for thought surrounding our collective problematic history.
    Trust us, there will be more of these to come. Enjoy!

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Mike in SD ,

Excellent historical podcast

As a professional journalist and Indianapolis native living in California, I really enjoy the depth of the conversations and topics. I am learning so much about my homeland. More importantly, the theme of the podcast is so relevant to today: examining how traditional history has been documented, whose stories are told and by whom, and the challenges of uncovering the history and culture of those supplanted by colonialism and bigotry. The shows are comprehensive, conversational, erudite and nuanced. Even getting a glimpse of how living museums and history centers fulfill their missions and change with the times is interesting. As well, the production value is top notch, as I would expect from such a renowned institution like Conner Prairie. Kudos.


Great content and hosts!

I really enjoy the topics and Hannah and Easton have great chemistry behind the mics. Their guests are knowledgeable and engaging and I have enjoyed learning more about Indiana history and problematic issues.

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