Taking elements from the history of Montes Claros, in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, as reference, we discuss the use of the concepts of representation, appropriation and practice (Chartier, 1990, 2001, 2002) and of social imagination (Baczko, 1985), in the context of cultural history. We make use of reports published in the Gazeta do Norte, a newspaper which adopted the mission of educating the population of Montes Claros, choosing the "Escola Normal" (Normal School) as a reference and inspiration for this undertaking. Taking into consideration its educational purpose and the contents published, this newspaper produced positive representations of the school and its practices, situating education as the axis of development and progress. Such representations, full of interest and meanings, are not reality but integrated the process of informing and forming public opinion and contributed to consolidate the Normal School and mobilize actions by the local population.
social imagination; representations and practices; appropriation; press