Mirror, Mirror for Us All: Disney Parks and the American Narrative / Experience

April 28, 2023 – March 2024
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“I can’t imagine that only a decade before this quintessential American photo was taken, my family was incarcerated at Poston Concentration Camp.” Courtesy of Willie Funakoshi, photographer, and Joanne Funakoshi Maclaren.

National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor, East Wing, Albert Small Documents Gallery

See on Map Floor Plan

(Espejito, Espejito: Reflectiones de Estados Unidos en los parques Disney)

This documents gallery exhibit explores how Disney theme parks serve as locations of public memory, their relationship to stories of American history, and how the parks and the public are both adapting to new understandings of the American experience by complicating historical narratives. Our understanding of American history doesn’t just come from the classroom. The places we visit, the media we consume, and the experts we listen to all tell their own stories about history. The Walt Disney Company has been telling historical stories for decades, and as time and values have changed, Disney theme parks have changed in response. As important locations for American public memory, the narrative presented at the Disney theme parks both represents and shapes larger conversations about the American experience. Through objects, images, maps and more, this exhibit looks at how Disney and the public are in conversation to create the national narrative of today and the future.