The Korean War Memory Tour: More Than Just A Public History Road Trip

Levi Fox (Ph.D. Student in Public History, Temple University)

The Korean War Memory Tour is a digital-hybrid project that I started in May of 2015 in preparation for a dissertation research trip. The centerpiece of the project is a WordPress blog that I’ve used to share my findings state-by-state on public memory of the so-called ‘forgotten war’ focusing on monuments, museum exhibits, and memorial infrastructure (including highways and bridges), but also covering topics such the oft-ignored Korean anti-war movement in early 1950s America and recent media depictions such as Mad Men or Oliver Stone’s Untold History. In addition, I’ve created two related digital elements: a Facebook page (now with over one-hundred followers ranging from public history colleagues to friends with family members who fought in Korea) that I’ve used to publicize updates on my project as well as news articles about Korean War memory, and a Kickstarter campaign (which failed though I later raised over $500 from friends and family) meant to moderate costs while generating greater interest among crowd-funders who are, in a sense, directly invested in the project. Moreover, my research itself depends upon contributions by anonymous partners who provide invaluable aid to my project without ever realizing it, through their posting about local Korean War monuments on crowdsourced websites including ‘Waymarking’ and the ‘Historical Marker Database’. Moving forward, I’m planning to use Flickr to make my future research more easily accessible. Finally, the blog has also helped me launch a collaborative public history venture (involving scholars, veterans, and politicians), the “South Jersey Korea Vets Project”.