Fakelore from the National Archives

You were probably wondering how Joe Hooker became the all-knowing, all-seeing master of the battlefield that he was.

Or perhaps not.
Sorry to report that the National Archives has caught the spirit of public history/edutainment. This piece of nonsense is way too lighthearted for an archives blog and although it links to a source, the source is as preposterous as the story. The final touch, a nice piece of public history indeed, is the spurious picture caption: "It's possible Dabney contributed details to this map, completed in the days before the Battle of Chancellorsville."

It's possible Paul Bunyan contributed as well.

If the record itself does not offer enough drama and excitement, the public historian is free to just make stuff up, using artifacts as props to help legitimize fictional points. If just one child becomes interested in history as a result of this professional misbehavior, it will all have been worth it!

Public history is posing a real problem to our culture.