EIU’s Historical Administration Class of 2016-2017 Exhibit: A Question of History: Public History in Illinois

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From the desk of HA Class of 2016-2017:

Throughout the history of Illinois, the prominence of public history has ebbed and flowed, from communities coming together to save historic sites, to last years’ nine-month closing of the Illinois State Museum. Amidst the statewide budget crisis this closure has brought the topic of public history to the forefront of a national conversation. In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of public history, Eastern Illinois University’s (EIU) 2016-2017 Historical Administration class is planning the exhibit A Question of History: Public History in Illinois. This exhibit traces the role of the public and the historical institutions of Illinois to show how history was and continues to be vital to our cultural heritage and identity. The exhibit results from a partnership with the accredited Booth Library at EIU and utilizes the collections and expertise of historical institutions around the state. These include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Illinois State Museum, and the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum.

The Historical Administration graduate class develops an exhibit every year as part of their graduate coursework, often in partnership with institutions such as the Booth Library. The Historical Administration Class of 2017 includes: Aaron Martin, Amanda Roberts, Brock Stafford, Cayla Wagner, Claire Eagle, Elizabeth Papp, Hailey Paige, Jessica Craig, Meagan Patterson, and Sara Mercado.

You can track our progress on Facebook, Instagram, and our Website.


2014-2015 Historical Administration Class Awarded at Illinois Association of Museums Conference

From the desk of M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska

On Friday, September 25th, at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) held this year in Springfield, Illinois, the 2014-2015 Historical Administration class received an Award of Merit for their permanent exhibit: Mission, Method, Memory: The Lab School at EIU, which was created during my two-semester course, History Exhibits I and II. Students worked with Dean Diane Jackman and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower from the College of Education and Professional Studies to create an exhibit about the history of the Laboratory School at Eastern.

This exhibition is the inaugural exhibit of the Lab School Museum and is located in Buzzard Hall, home to the Buzzard Lab School. Mission, Method, Memory explores the long and vibrant history of teacher training at Eastern. Between 1899 and 1957, Eastern student-teachers participated in an on-campus “Model School,” where local students attended first grade through high school. In 1958, Eastern President Robert Guy Buzzard inaugurated the Buzzard Laboratory School, which remained open until 1974.

Historical Administration students researched the history of the Lab School, collected artifacts and memories from Lab School alumni living in the Charleston area and beyond, and designed, built, and programmed the exhibit, which opened in April of 2015.

H.A. students on opening night.

H.A. students on opening night.

Dean Jackman and Ms. Bower traveled to the awards dinner, and were on hand as H.A. student Brian Failing accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

The exhibit is located at Buzzard Hall and is open daily. You can also check out the website here.

Historical Administration Graduate Program Exhibit Begins April 12



“This generation is just too busy to pay much attention to family. Perhaps that’s why I am working to complete genealogies so they will at least know each other on paper… and who knows what the threads of fate will do in making paths cross.”

Eastern’s third presidential family is back in a new textile exhibition entitled Text and Textiles: Crafting the Lives of Guy and Irene Buzzard. From April 12th to June 29th, 2014 the exhibit will be in the e-Gallery at the Tarble Arts Center. This exhibit is produced by the Tarble Arts Center in connection with the 2014 EIU Historical Administration program and graduate students.

Texts and Textiles focuses on the lives of Robert Guy Buzzard and Irene Couchman Buzzard, exploring the ways in which they crafted their lives together for over fifty years. Irene and Guy Buzzard shared a passion for handicrafts and textile arts. The objects they collected and produced also reflect many of the great changes of the twentieth century. The exhibit highlights both the text and textile aspects of this remarkable family, drawing on materials from the Buzzard Textile Collection within the Tarble Arts Center and from the EIU Archives in Booth Library. Follow the exhibit’s progress at the following:
Website: http://www.eiu.edu/ha/exhibits/2014/home.html
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Textandtextiles2014
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/buzzard2014
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/textandtextiles/
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtWOFohjb8IrKGlpBGhoXlg

Historical Administration Graduate Students Work on Textile Exhibition

Dr. Malgorzata J. Rymsza-Pawlowska teaches a two-semester course in the Historical Administration graduate program entitled History Museum Exhibits. Over the course of the academic year, students learn about the history, theory, and best practices of exhibition work. They then apply this knowledge to their own history exhibit. This year, the class has been working with the Tarble Arts Center on an exhibition showcasing the Tarble’s Buzzard Textiles Collection—handicrafts collected and made by Irene and Guy Buzzard, Eastern’s third President and his wife. The Buzzard collection was donated to Eastern over thirty years ago, but has never before been exhibited.

During the first semester, ten H.A. students worked in three committees: Audience/Design, Curatorial, and Artifact. The class spent the semester surveying the exhibit’s potential audience, identifying key exhibit themes, selecting objects from the Tarble’s collection, and doing research on the lives of the Buzzards. At Eastern’s Booth Archives, they found a wonderful scrapbook made by Dr. Buzzard, detailing their lives together.  The scrapbook and the handicrafts will be at the center of the exhibition, which will be on view in the Tarble’s E-Gallery from April 12th to June 29th.

For the Spring semester, students are working in thee new committees: Exhibit, Publicity/Marketing, and Education. They will finalize design plans, fabricate exhibition elements and props, develop marketing and programming, and install the exhibition. They are currently planning a digital database of artifacts, an exhibit blog and website, posters and brochures, and several interactive elements including an audiotour and a weaving activity. Stay tuned to this space for more links and information!

HA - Tarble


Memories of the Charleston Riot Featured in Exhibit

Students at Eastern Illinois University have worked during the fall semester to produce an exhibit that focuses on memories of the Charleston Riot. Amy Wywialowski, history major and journalism minor, completed requirements for an independent study with this project. She worked with other students enrolled in HIS 4930: Public History: Meaning & Method who had the responsibility of research on the ways individuals associated with the event remembered (and forgot) the event over time, how veterans remembered the event, and how others not involved made it part of Charleston economic development. These students included Alex Gillespie and Michael Ludwinski, both graduate students in the history department, and Alex Scalise, an undergraduate student majoring in history with teacher certification and minoring in anthropology.

Credit: Amy Wywialowski

Credit: Amy Wywialowski

The Coles County Historical Society sponsored the exhibit which will open Dec. 4, Wednesday, 4:00-5:15 pm. Stay tuned for an announcement about where the general public can see this exhibit between early December and the public events planned for the 150th riot anniversary event (March 27-29, 2014).

Swing Jazz History

Newton Key will introduce two film selections on Swing Jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, and then moderate discussion, Thursday, 7 February 2013, 7-9 p.m., in Buzzard Hall Auditorium. The films, each about 25 minutes, are a selection from Ken Burns’ Jazz: Episode 6, Swing, the Velocity of Celebration; and International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The brief introduction attempts to contextualize the Swing rebellion and to link sounds and events then with those of the 1970s and beyond. This free presentation is open to the public and connected with the America’s Music exhibit at Booth Library.

20th-century U.S. History Undergraduates Explore Ethno-musicology

Songcatcher. Students in HIS 5350: Twentieth Century U.S. Cultural and Social History presented a public program on January 22, 2013 as part of the series, America’s Music: A Film History of our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway, on display at EIU’s Booth Library, January 11-April 6, 2013. Music history requires interdisciplinary research that draws on history, anthropology, sociology and musicology. It all comes together during field work. This program explored the process that ethno-musicologists engaged in during the early twentieth century to document folk music, through the feature-length film, Songcatcher (2001). Students considered how musicologists established a research agenda and conducted their field work, how technological limitations and innovations affected it, and how insiders related to and interacted with outsiders in folk music collecting. Molly Brown, Logan Bruce, Felicia Comacho, Danielle DiGiacomo, Joshua Jordan, Daniel Lund, Anna Mullen, Clarissa Thompson, Daniel Tomar, Katherine Unruh, and Susan Voskuil participated, with Debra A. Reid, Professor.

Building a Brotherhood: Freemasonry Freely Displayed

Undergraduate students in EIU’s HIS 4930: Public History, Meaning & Method, researched, designed, and installed the exhibit “Building a Brotherhood: Freemasons in Central Illinois since World War II.” Students–Alyse Bennett, Nicholas Collins, Chase Driskell, Alexander Hamilton, Bailee Julick, Marisela Luna, Lashanna McGahee, Stephanie Templin, Emily Scarbrough; Mark Stanford, Amy Wywialowski–worked with Professors Debra A. Reid and Michael Shirley (Curator). It was on display in Booth Library, November 28, 2012 through January 18, 2013. Reid received an Integrative Learning Award from EIU for 2012 to offset exhibit expenses, and the Booth Library staff helped with production and installation.

Sound Envisioned: America’s Music Exhibit

EIU MA in History graduate students Philip Mohr and Patrick Vonesh have curated the America’s Music exhibit currently in Booth Library. (Philip is also a graduate of the MA in Historical Administration.) Library Dean Allen Lanham brought them on to curate the exhibit to go along with America’s Music, a film and lecture series funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit encourages the EIU community to explore different music styles as social, cultural, and historical phenomena.