Installing History

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.

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