This was a session at the AASLH Conference in Oklahoma City last week. The point was that the emotionally charged questions and those questions that require a complex, nuanced answer are precisely the kinds of questions that bring people to visit historical organizations. Although these may make tour guides cringe, these kinds of questions bring out passion and curiosity, and inspire dialog and learning. We ought to embrace these questions, relish the opportunity to discuss them, and welcome people to ask them.
On the horizon, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 anniversary may prompt some of these kinds of questions.
What questions do you hope no one will ask? What are you doing to prepare docents and tour guides to answer difficult questions?