Codi Riley, Business Administration/History, 2013
After having class at the Saco Museum last week we were given an idea of the actual space we had to fill, and it is HUGE! I think we all realized the scope of the project we had undertaken. This week in class we talked about the layout of our exhibit and what artifacts we want to incorporate in each of our sections. We also each gave a mini synopsis of what we are researching. During the mini synopsis each person gave, I realized how much information we are covering. Our subjects range from pre-civil war technology and transportation; pre-war life including Haley’; men, women, and children during the war; life of a soldier; medicine; memorials and keepsakes from the war, and the list continues.
This really made me think about why we are in this class. Not everyone in the class is a history major or minor. Our class is made up of a mix of majors from Business, to Medical Biology, History, English, and the Marine Sciences. So I was thinking about what drew people to this class, and what curiosities draw people to history. For this class each person was able to find a subject that they were interested in and would allow them to explore their interest. For each person, history means something different. In turn we can apply these drives to study history to our exhibit. Each of us found something interesting or intriguing to study, and that is what fuels our curiosity for history. As we work to assemble this exhibit, we will explore and expand on our curiosities and hopefully spark the community to explore their curiosities of history also .
Kristel Lee, Aquaculture/Aquarium Sciences, 2015
After visiting the Saco Museum and visualizing the space our exhibit will consume, ideas began to flood into my mind. With all the information from all four themes still fresh in my mind, I was eager to get started with how John Haley was going to be represented in our exhibit. Ideas of different artifacts and interactives that could be included in our exhibit were beginning to place themselves around the room. I am a visual learner, so my ideas were more visually inclined. I thought of things that would help me learn and take something from this exhibit if I walked in as someone who knew nothing about the Civil War. Because John Haley acts as our guide from the past, I really want to be able to bring out his voice. I think it would be cool if when people walked into this back room, they felt as if they time traveled back into the Civil War with the specific artifacts we will exhibit. For someone who wouldn’t necessarily go to a museum on her free time, I am determined to create an exhibit that would draw in more people like me. My personal goal is to attract all types of people to this particular exhibit and for everyone to enjoy what our museum team creates!
Constance Glynn, English/History, 2013
A couple of days ago, my class traveled to the Saco Museum to get our first real glimpse at our gallery space. Saco Museum’s gallery space is one of the largest in Maine and soon John Haley’s Civil War will drape its walls and crowd its floor.
We first toured the museum, astonished at how much space we had to tell our story. Yet, when we started looking at floor plans, it became evident that this story and the many years that make up the story could easily take up four of these galleries. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, but my class seems willing and eager.
We sketched out how we wanted the floor to be set up; we placed moveable walls and large pieces of furniture in our plans to help add a sense of direction. Floor plans are critical in museums because the movement of our audience needs to make sense and help embellish the story we’re trying to tell. And it is just that: a story. Who was John Haley? What is his connection to Maine? What is Maine’s connection to the Civil War? All of these answers need to be contained in this red-carpeted and dimly lit room for May 5th.
On our second visit to the museum this week, we toured the archives of the Saco Museum and Dyer Library. At times it felt like we had been transported back to the 1920s and found ourselves in a clerk’s office. The yellowed documents and gold-embellished gilt-edged books practically fall off their shelves. The sight is overwhelming (but eye-pleasing and heart-warming to book nerds and history buffs) so we were all in our element. We made our way through the maze of artifacts and archives, musing over substantially large vaults and little trinkets along the way.
After we had our tour, we had to break up into groups to decide what we wanted to use for artifacts in our exhibit. This is another crucial part of our story. The artifacts are tangible evidence of the past. They give a sense of history and time to our audience, provoking notions of being present in the past. The art of bringing together the present and the past is something we will master in the next couple of months, all to tell this story we have all come to know and love.
Sarah Hoover, Undeclared, 2016
Yesterday, we mixed things up a little and held class at theBrick Store Museum in Kennebunk,Maine. Professor De Wolfe provided us with a sheet to help us take notes on the Civil War exhibit. I really enjoyed this exhibit because it had tons of interactive displays and visual aids. There were three major themes that are very similar to the ones we will create. The first theme was Preparing for War, which displayed fashion clothes, including paper cut-outs of clothes which showed guests the many different layers women wore. On the wall there were volunteer enlistment forms which could be filled out, and “Did You Know?” posts, which provided interesting facts about the war and the soldiers fighting. The next theme was Kennebunk at War, which included artifacts such as bullets, swords, and saddles. There was a ten pound sack that illustrates how heavy the average musket was. Guests are encouraged to try and pack food, plates, and other materials into a knapsack. Information on disease and death tolls were also displayed. The last major theme was Kennebunk Women During War, which included what women did to help with the war effort, as well as their every day life, and how it changed because of the war. One table persuaded guests to write letters to troops stationed over seas. I thought this museum exhibit was great, and I hope our class strives to work up to the Brick Store’s interactive displays. This visit taught me a lot about how to please guests, and gave me some great ideas and inspiration to look forward to continuing building our own exhibition!