Exploring the History of Rural New Hampshire Towns

Courtesy of Bethlehem Heritage Society

Hay Fever’s Heyday: Finding Fresh Air and Freedom in Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Students from two upper-level history classes worked with the Museum of the White Mountains (MWM), the Bethlehem Heritage Society, and Bethlehem professionals to create an exhibit and resource website to detail the history of Bethlehem’s rise and fall. This project from the Exploration & Discovery cluster linked Health & Illness in American History and Public History, while broadening connections with the North Country. The exhibit will be at the MWM through June and then moved to the Bethlehem Heritage Society for the summer and fall of 2017.  The project successfully integrated medical developments, tourism, and community to produce an exhibit that educates and engages the public.

The student researchers created links between the exhibit and a corresponding website using QR codes to direct museum-goers online to learn more about Bethlehem, NH history as a favored destination for people suffering from seasonal allergies. By working with the Bethlehem community, students learned about a unique town in our North Country region.  Some students discovered a shared history and a link to long-forgotten family members while others recognized that religious tensions are not new but deeply rooted in America’s past. Moreover, the demise of Bethlehem as a tourist haven occurred not because of changes in medication but because of misleading media reports. These and other issues inform our understanding of many of the tensions shaping our world today.

Learn more about this project in this article by InDepthNH or at the full exhibit website.

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