Settler Historical Consciousness in the Local History Museum

In what ways does America's settler colonial heritage shape how its citizens imagine the national past? I address this question through a study of county historical museums in rural Arizona, with a particular focus on the Navajo County Museum. This analysis suggests that we consider the "natural history" or "evolutionary" style of organizing collections as integrally tied to a foundational settler colonial logic. Conclusions are drawn about the ubiquity of this orientation to the national past and the difficulties curators may face in effectively challenging it.