My Journey on the Piscataqua

by guest columnist Amanda Breen

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

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My experience sailing on the Piscataqua, a traditional reproduction of the flat-bottom gundalow barges that were once prevalent along the local waterways of the Piscataqua River Region, sparked my interest in the photograph Fanny M., which was the last gundalow to operate commercially in the area. The gundalow, not especially handsome, was a practical working vessel perfectly adapted to the environment. One or two farmers could construct the utilitarian design of the gundalow over the course of the winter season. Uncaulked and unpainted, the vessels were given little care, yet the communities were entirely dependent on these vessels to transport necessary goods throughout the Piscataqua River region up until the twentieth century.

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Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Barbara Palmer

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

By now, you’ve probably heard that this year’s Exhibition Planning course is trying something new. Instead of curating an exhibition as a group with a set collection as in previous years, each class member is developing a proposal for an individual exhibition, with one object from a shared collection as a touchstone.

As my exhibition idea, titled, “Open Water: Women’s Swimwear and the Fight to Compete,” has grown throughout the semester, I’ve realized that developing ideas on your own can lead to feeling stuck in your own silo (or, “column of excellence,” an alternative moniker I’ve heard lately lately). Developing an entire exhibit solo not only lends a powerful feeling of freedom in making decisions without compromise or consequence, but can alternatively leave one feeling a bit alone in the planning too. In our future museum careers, the process of exhibit design collaboration in which we may be participating won’t come without a team in some way, shape, or form, so I’ve appreciated the opportunities both given and sought out to collaborate with others.

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Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Sarah McDonough

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

The research process for this class has really shown just how much untapped history there is out there that most people aren’t aware of. While reading for my exhibit, A Little House on Deck: The Curious Journeys of Whaling Wives and Children at Sea, I discovered dozens of surviving diaries of women and girls who sailed as passengers on whaling ships. Reading through accounts of their adventures, it’s frustrating that so many of these people would not be remembered except for their writing, or the snippets of stories remembered about them. Here’s a particularly interesting one:

In 1846 the whaling ship Powhattan set out of Martha’s Vineyard for a hunt off the coast of New Zealand, on what appeared to be a cursed voyage. Continue reading

Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Catherine Shortliffe

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

This past week, as part of my research for my exhibition, Shipwreck: The Shoreline experience, and in an effort to connect with the subjects of my exhibition, I headed south to the shore to visit the Hull Lifesaving Museum in Hull, Massachusetts. I set out with hopes of learning more about the lifesaving teams that make up about a third of my complete exhibition plan, and discovering artifacts that would help round out my otherwise two dimensional exhibition. I am happy to report that both of these goals were achieved and the trip was a great success!

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It’s All About Image

by guest blogger Emma Mällinen

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

I am in the midst of planning an exhibition titled, “How We Describe the Wild: American Encounters with Nature,” an exhibition that celebrates the past and present of American writers who shaped the way we view our natural environment. From revisiting classics by Thoreau and Emerson to dissecting the controversial works of Edward Abbey and Rachel Carson, the exhibition highlights the milestones of American ecocriticism and nature appreciation.

Now, that sounds pretty text-based and potentially dry. How can you engage people in long texts in an energetic exhibition? This is the primary obstacle I’ve come up against, but one I’ve found some great solutions for.

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