Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
98. Smithsonian Curator Bethanee Bemis on How Disney Impacts American Culture

98. Smithsonian Curator Bethanee Bemis on How Disney Impacts American Culture

Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!

Today’s episode features a conversation with Bethanee Bemis, a museum specialist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the curator of the new exhibit Mirror, Mirror: Reflections of America in Disney Parks. She’s also the author of the book Disney Theme Parks and America’s National Narratives, Mirror Mirror For Us All.

Considering American identity has been a theme on the podcast for the last three years. It’s also something that’s been on my mind since my time producing Ask This Old House, where I was always conscious of how we appreciated regional diversity while also considering what it is that unites us as a whole. Over the last several years, that latter piece has felt harder to find.

Bethanee makes the argument in her book that the way that we feel about our country comes not only from civics classes, but also from our popular culture. We have an interesting discussion about how Disney has reflected and impacted American culture from the time of the first Mickey Mouse cartoon 95 years ago. She also talks about how the themed areas of Disney Parks such as Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Main Street U.S.A. can alter our sense of shared history by creating false memories of real places.

Related Episodes:

Listening Tip:

You can stream this episode on the go using the Substack app.

Read Willoughby Hills in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

You can also click “Listen On” in the player at the top of this post to load this episode on your favorite podcast app, or search “Willoughby Hills” in your favorite podcast app too.

Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
Quarantine Creatives is now Willoughby Hills. Join TV producer/director Heath Racela as he chats with interesting guests with unique perspectives on our ever evolving relationships to work, home, community, culture, food, the environment, and more.