Tales of the Valley

History is often thought of as undeniable fact. A sentiment that is expressed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by the character Professor Binns: "My subject is History of Magic. I deal with facts, not myths and legends. We will return, if you please, to history, to solid, believable, verifiable fact!”

The reality is historians cannot 100% verify something to be true, as professor Binns insinuates. As history is reliant on people’s memory, details can be easily misremembered or forgotten and therefore is more fluid and debatable. We can know that something happened, for example, a car accident. Nevertheless, we do not know how it happened, we must rely on people. Historians can make the story more reliable by finding multiple perspectives on the story. As, the person in the car is going to remember it differently than a witness from the street or another car. Together, those voices make a fuller story. Perspectives not only verify other people’s accounts but they add details that complete the story. However, perspectives don’t always work in such unison. Over the years, memories can morph and fade until they are in conflict with one another and both people are certain that they are correct. In those cases we may never know exactly what happened but we can still be fascinated by the stories.

The stories in this exhibit are some of the most intriguing stories that we have collected so far, told by the storyteller! Let’s explore these stories and their perspectives!