The North Won!

May 7th, 2013 by edewolfe

Ashley Green, Biochemistry 2015

It’s hard to believe that the John Haley’s Civil War museum exhibit is complete. It’s even more difficult to comprehend that a team of undergrad students, with excellent guidance, managed to pull it off. As far as I know, there weren’t any major snafus and I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with anything. That may be just the excitement and relief of being done talking but with the museum full of admiring eyes it sure felt pretty awesome.

Even as a part of the team creating this exhibition, there were still a couple surprises. I found the inscribed copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin to be a very cool addition. The ambrotype frame interactive was exquisite and created some cute memories. I hope that everyone gets a chance to visit and leaves with a better understanding of just how much Maine contributed to the resolution of one of the most tumultuous times in American history. I left with spray glue in my arm hair and paint on my favorite jeans. And of course, with the pride of what a lot of hard work accomplishes.

The End

May 4th, 2013 by edewolfe

Madeleine Cox, Aquarium Science and Aquaculture, 2015

Walking into the blank room, destined to be filled with the story of John Haley’s experience during the Civil War, was at first entirely intimidating. It wasn’t until artifacts from the museum’s archives slowly began to fill the walls and cases, did the museum seem to come together. The room that once seemed huge becomes filled with all of our hard work and research. Text panels full of our words show off our research, and artifacts give visuals to the knowledge. The room in fact seems to shrink. It seems it’s impossible we are going to be able to fit all of our information and artifacts into such a space. But somehow, everything finds its place and it finally begins to look like an exhibit.

However, as the process extends into the days before the opening, we begin to realize just how difficult it is to be the one who sets up the exhibit, and not just the one who views it! So much thought goes into each detail, down to the fabric that lays inside a display case. A new appreciation has developed amongst us for those behind the scenes, those who make sure the staples on the backdrop are colored with black sharpie, so they don’t shine through the black fabric. We couldn’t be more excited about the days to come, to show off what a semester of dedicated work and hard research has led us to. We can only hope our visitors are able to take in the experience of our exhibit and appreciate the words that John Haley left behind for us.

 

Installing History

April 26th, 2013 by edewolfe

Stephen Snyder, Liberal Studies ’13

There was palpable excitement and to a degree, nervousness I think in all of my classmates as we began the installation process for our museum exhibit.  While the class work and preparation we have diligently been undertaking throughout the whole semester was necessary, I at least would consider the installation process as the “meat and potatoes” section of this experience.

So much of the traditional, learned approach to history is memorization and if you’re lucky, heavy discussion in a classroom setting.  For me, this class, and more specifically the installing of an exhibit, is such a refreshing take on that learning experience.  Very few opportunities (at an undergraduate level) to design this type of experience in a historical setting for someone else seem available and as such make our work here so unique.  As daunting as this experience has been and will continue to be, I count myself lucky to be involved with such an enthusiastic group of people.

Once disassembling and rearranging of the removable walls in our floor plan began, there was a realization that we now are in the thick of things.  An excited focus brushed over the group, amidst the professional legitimacy offered by the presence of both a local newspaper photographer and our museum attaché Camille Smalley.  It solidified the sense that we are doing something important here at the Saco Museum, for the local community and historical admirers alike.  As our installation continues, I await the public reception of our efforts readily and hope we do John Haley and the Civil War experience justice.

Transcending John Haley

April 26th, 2013 by edewolfe

Katie Labbe, Political Science Major/ Women & Gender Studies Minor, 2014

Although it feels like the semester just began, we are quickly approaching opening night for our exhibit.  In a few short months, my classmates and I have become Civil War historians.  The amount of work and effort we have put into our research, design, and writing is increasingly evident as we begin to install our exhibit.  When the semester began, I quickly became overwhelmed with anxiety and uncertainty.  I was worried that I would not be able to adequately tell John Haley and his comrades’ stories.  The responsibility was daunting, and not one I took lightly.

Months have passed since my initial concern, and I am no longer feeling the stress of self-doubt.  The exhibit has shown me that I am capable of achieving my goals outside of a typical class structure.  My confidence as an independent worker has grown immensely.  The skills that my classmates and I have acquired at UNE are evident in the quality of our exhibit.  The hard work and dedication throughout the semester has not only resulted in an impressive exhibit, but also the reassurance that my classmates and I have the skills to succeed after graduation.

Two Weeks Away

April 26th, 2013 by edewolfe

Heather Duquette, Medical Biology Major/ History Minor, 2013

On May 3rd the Saco Museum will open its doors and welcome in the first visitors to the John Haley Civil War exhibit. This exhibit will open in two weeks, and stay up until November. I am starting to be able to see the museum exhibit in my mind’s eye. All those weeks ago we read the John Haley diary, and I couldn’t see the exhibit. Then we were placed into one of the four themes that would break up the exhibit, and still no vision was in my head. Afterwards we even wrote a research paper on subthemes of our choosing, and yet for some reason the exhibit did not seem to be real. We started writing our subtheme labels, captions, and interactive directives and a picture of the John Haley Civil War exhibit started to appear, albeit fuzzy, in my mind. This week, as a thematic group, we had to design the layout for our portion of the exhibit, placing the artifacts and the corresponding text. Then it hit me, next Wednesday we start the installation process. In two weeks, John Haley’s voice will be revealed to the public through our exhibit. I find myself hoping that we are successful in portraying Haley in a good light, along with preserving the Saco Museum’s distinguished reputation.