Module C: Smithsonian Website Analysis

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Analysis: September 11: Bearing Witness to History
The date of September 11, 2001 is a date that possesses great significance globally. To most, it is remembered as one of the greatest tragedies of Western Civilisation. The Smithsonian Museum and their representation of the tragedy, 9/11, makes apparent how one’s personal experience to a particular situation, fabricates what is considered ‘history’. On the home page, colouring is used in ‘September 11’ in which red is the predominant colour, connotating to bloodshed and suffering. This technique is implemented to shape a saddened response, even to those unaffected by the event. Furthermore, in ‘objects on view: World Trade Centre’, the inclusion of the fire fighter doll, starkly juxtaposing with the other objects on show, heavily evokes empathy through its connotations to a young child, suffering. The empathy drawn from such an object is what is most wholly remembered by those who respond to the site, materializing that individuals understanding of ‘factual history’. Again, one’s interpretation of history is formulated through the ‘Missing Persons Material’. The image constructs a more intimate relationship with the man, and is supplemented by emotive language describing how ‘sadly, Jeff was never found alive’. The emotive language further deepens the respondent’s sense of empathy felt for those affected by ‘9/11’, and generates a deplored perception of what is believed to be history. Finally, one’s personal belief of the history of ‘9/11’ is concreted through the photo of ‘Lorraine Bay’s’ log book in ‘objects on view: Shanksville’. Again, red colouring is strategically implemented by the Smithsonian Museum to evoke feelings of fear, further portraying the agonizing circumstances of the day. The log book provides stronger insight into ‘Lorraine’s’ personal life, strengthening the audiences connection with the individual and engendering the feelings of compassion. It is this evocative presentation of the...
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