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At Drayton Hall, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Charleston, South Carolina, a museum interpreter, about sixty-five years old, welcomed a group of elementary school students to the site. She summarized the history of the plantation and explained that construction of its main house had begun in 1738. When she paused for questions, a student politely raised her hand and asked, “Were you living here when the house was built?” Another story comes from the manager of the museum’s shop where Civil War caps from both armies are sold. About twice a month, adults ask the manager, “What’s the difference between the blue cap and the gray?” Such stories are told across the nation, but are not relegated to historic sites. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough tells of giving a lecture at a well-respected college in the Midwest. Afterwards, a bright student told him, “Until I heard your talk, I’d never realized the original thirteen colonies were all along the East Coast.”1

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