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.

Design, Edit, Design!

April 13th, 2013 by edewolfe

Codi Riley, Business Administration Major/History Minor, 2013

Our exhibit planning is well under way! We are continually writing and revising our introduction panels, sub-theme panels and captions for our various themes. This has been, by far, the hardest part of the class. Whittling down our papers into a couple of paragraphs is incredibly difficult, especially when you want to include ALL the information. We have to pick and choose what information will be most beneficial to the museum visitors and their understanding of the exhibit. As a class, we also have to determine what is the best way to display our information, either in panels, captions, graphics or interactive components.

Along with developing our panels and interactives, next week we have our section design presentations. For this we are each building a diorama of our museum section. This will help us figure out the best flow and placement of items in our part of the exhibit along with getting an idea of how the entire exhibit will flow together. Finally getting to this part of the project is incredibly exciting because it means we are that much closer to the actual installation of the exhibit. The next couple of weeks are going to fly by as we busily continue to develop and plan our exhibit and prepare for the opening!

Less Than A Month

April 13th, 2013 by edewolfe

Kristel Lee, Aquaculture and Aquarium Science Major, 2015

We’re getting closer to that time! Less than a month and we open the exhibit! We are finalizing drafts of text panels, captions, getting together artifacts, and the designing each section. I can’t wait until we can start creating and doing the hands-on installing. Surprisingly, I am excited for the workshop to learn how to use tools and smart tips to help us successfully create this exhibit. There are so many ideas running through my mind that I have to jot down my thoughts on paper so I don’t forget how I want to design the Homefront theme. Talking about the different interactives and artifacts each group has makes it seem so surreal. I still can’t believe I was fortunate enough to have this experience as a sophomore in college. I’m so grateful that I am able to be included in this amazing opportunity with such great people. It will be such a huge accomplishment for me, and also the entire class. Hard work will hopefully pay off when we see the positive and happy expressions on the faces of our audience on opening day. Being able to see the outcome of the exhibit and our audience’s responses will be the most rewarding part of this process. I can’t wait!