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.