Monumental Myths unveils the perpetuated myths told at several American monuments and historic sites. Carved in rock or cast in bronze, America’s monuments are intended—by those who commission them—to impart a sense of authority and an unquestionable truth about the people and events they commemorate. Director Tom Trinley traveled across the country in a borrowed 1965 Airstream trailer and visited several sites to provide the untold, alternative viewpoint of those whose experiences have been left out of history and the landscape. Among others, he visited Fort Pillow in Tennessee, The Purchase of Manhattan monument in New York City, Lincoln’s Birthplace Log Cabin in Kentucky, the Christopher Columbus statue on Chicago’s lakefront and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Along the way Tom interviewed local residents, tour guides, park rangers and tourists to better understand their perspective of American history and to find out who protects America’s myths and why.
The idea for the film was inspired by the book, Lies Across America, written by best-selling author and sociologist Dr. James W. Loewen. Dr. Loewen was the project’s content advisor and appears on-camera to provide information relevant to each site. Other on-camera experts include Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States and Lonnie Bunch, President of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History.