MuseLab to open new Literary Legends exhibit

Nick Boone

The School of Library and Information Science’s MuseLab will host a new exhibit, “(Non)Fiction: Literary Legends Unbound,” on Wednesday, April 15, with a reception for the opening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the third floor of the University Library.

This exhibit is focused around the lives of Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway and Ayn Rand. The idea came from Tobias Wolff’s book, “Old School,” which was featured in the 2015 National Endowment for the Arts’ “Big Read” project, according to a School of Library and Information Science press release.

“What’s really great about this exhibit is that almost everything is interactive and hands-on,” said Corina Iannaggi, MuseLab manager and grad appointee in the School of Library and Information Science.

Students in the Museum Studies Seminar class have been working on this exhibit during the spring semester, Iannaggi said. There will be interactive aspects in this exhibit such as a typewriter that attendees can work with and a scrapbook they can add to.

“Each scene is very unique to the author — it’s their workspace, not necessarily a desk,” Iannaggi said. “When you think of your traditional workspace, that’s not necessarily what you will see for each author.”

Iannaggi said the class was divided up into teams where they researched one of the authors and worked to personalize the workspaces. Most of the materials were purchased at antique shops to make the displays accurate to a specific time period.

The students in the class were also broken up into teams to complete the exhibit. The script team was responsible for drafting the exhibit in writing.

“We had to draft the whole exhibit in written format and make lots of charts and keep everything accountable,” said Andrea Wittmer, a graduate library and information science major and student in the seminar.

The fabrication and installation team was responsible for making a large schedule of what needed to be done from the beginning to the end, including what needed printed and installed, Iannaggi said.

The author teams made their own schedule, then the fabrication team worked with them to put together the larger timeline.

“In exhibits, there really aren’t any set deadlines, other than the opening deadline,” Iannaggi said. “We create a schedule to give us some focus so everything doesn’t get pushed to the last minute.”

The marketing and promotions team designed the logo and flyers and planned the opening night event, said Gretchen Quinn, graduate library and information science major in the seminar.

This team worked closely with the SLIS Public Relations department to write the press releases and to spread the word about the event, Quinn said.

“For our opening night event, there will be catered food, live actors and different movies playing,” Quinn said. “So in addition to people coming to look at our exhibit, there will be a lot of fun activities for them.”

The evaluation team developed surveys and interviewed people to get an idea of people’s prior knowledge of these authors, said Michelle Persons, a graduate library and information science major in the seminar.

“The front-end evaluation was what can we present to our audience,” Persons said. “Who is our audience, what are they interested in and what do they already know?”

Persons also said that most people they interviewed didn’t know the authors beyond the required readings they have done in prior schooling. The people they talked to wanted to see a more personal side of the authors.

Persons said the team will do an evaluation within the two weeks after opening night to find out if people understood the exhibit.

“It’s really cool to take theories you have learned throughout your whole graduate program and put it into action,” Quinn said.

Persons said there were a lot of challenges, but her experience in the class has been rewarding.

“If any student is considering doing this program, I highly recommend they take this class because they are not going to get this level of experience any other way,” Wittmer said.

Contact Nick Boone at [email protected].

Editor’s note: Due to a reporter’s error, the School of Library and Information Science’s MuseLab was originally identified as being part of the University Library, and the School of Library and Information Science was called a department. We have fixed those errors.