America is still something of an experiment in many people’s eye. For the last three and a half years, Brooklyn resident Peter Robyn has been constructing “History Strips,” according to reports from the NY Times Local Blog (1). “People don’t even know when World War II was,” Robyn told the Times, “I think it’s disgraceful.”
So just what are these history strips? According to historystrips.com (2) they are “high-quality timelines depicting American history. Printed on a durable paper with an aqueous coating, History Strips are decorative as well as informative.” While I don’t know if these strips would fit into my wife’s Martha Stewart/Williams Sonoma decorating style, the History Strips that I saw definitely could make a good presentation on any young child’s wall.
While that may have to be the endgame for Peter Robyn, if anything, it seems as though his aims are far loftier. “My mission is to get this displayed wherever I can,” Robyn told the Times, “The whole intention is to help people learn about our country. You have to have knowledge to have a free society.”
While those who don’t learn from history may well indeed be doomed to repeat it, Robyn’s epic undertaking does ignore one stark reality, his black and white retelling (actually, there is some color there too) is vastly colored by the tone of the telling and the foreknowledge of the reader.
Still, Robyn can be found trolling around Clinton Hill and Fort Green with his huge project. He says to say hello if you see him, but be prepared for a pop quiz!