Meet the Cohort
Hello, and welcome to the first of many installments detailing our cohort’s journey to creating, advertising, fabricating, and installing an exhibit at the Historic Magnolia House in Greensboro, North Carolina. Our cohort has conceptualized this project since fall 2019; however, a global pandemic threw a small wrench in some plans we had made. Follow along as we navigate the world of virtual learning, zoom meetings, and the creation of an exhibition.
This post will not only introduce you to each member of the cohort but to each group and their responsibilities as well!
A three-member committee in charge of planning and scheduling event types revolving around said exhibit. In close contact with Melissa Knapp, Magnolia House Historic Site Curator, we brainstorm plans for upcoming events. We are currently planning two virtual events that will include a panel the week before the exhibit opening and an unveiling/opening reception.
Casey Landolf began museum work in February 2017, filling various roles, ranging from education to collections management. She is now employed at Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem, where she works as a tour guide and head creator of Moravian Mornings. This podcast details the history of Moravians who settled in the tract of land known as Wachovia, which covered most present-day Forsyth County, NC
Liz Torres Melendez previously interned at the Blue Ridge Parkway. She worked on several different projects, including regular exhibit maintenance, processing new donations, updating collection inventory, and assisting public scholar research, and digitizing records.
Sarah Maske recently finished an internship for the Greensboro History Museum. She created online learning packs and worked on virtual summer programming. She also completed an internship with UNCG’s University Archives and Special Collections, increasing her experience with archives. Currently, she is working on digitizing early twentieth century records for Temple Emanuel Archives.
Installation and Fabrication Committee
This committee is in charge of creating and installing the Magnolia House Exhibit panels, specifically editing and reviewing the panel text and pictures we prepared as a class last semester. To complete this, we must reach out to Spartan Printing regarding pricing, style options, and presentation layout for the panels. Once we create a cohesive design for the panels that we are satisfied with, our group will present the designs to our class to get approval. After making any changes suggested by the class, we will have the final designs printed by Spartan Printing and install the panels just in time to unveil the exhibit.
Maizie Plumley is from Huntington, West Virginia, where she received her BA in Anthropology from Marshall University. During her undergraduate career, Maizie participated in a study abroad program in Peru. She studied ancient Andean cultures, was an intern at the Huntington Museum of Art, and completed an ethnographic research capstone. During the summer of 2020, she was a B. Craighead Davidson intern with the Greensboro History Museum, focused on program evaluation and visitor studies. She is the graduate assistant for UNCG’s Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Office (URSCO) and a tour guide for Historic Bethabara Park, where she is co-hosting the podcast “Moravian Mornings.” She is also working on a digitization project with the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.
Kurtis Rogers is from Winston Salem, North Carolina. He received his BA in History with a certificate in Public History from Western Carolina University. His primary focus of study has been on the Antebellum South. Kurtis’s professional experience includes: interning at Jackson County Genealogical Society and participating in constructing a Smithsonian traveling exhibit “The Way We Worked.” He is currently assisting in research regarding Quakers and Freedom seekers in North Carolina. This research will contribute to the “No Longer Yours” digital project. That will provide a free digital textbook that will educate readers about the lives and conditions of people enslaved in North Carolina.
Evan Williams is from Arlington, Texas, and received a BA in History with a minor in Business Administration from McMurry University in Abilene, TX. During his undergraduate years, Evan worked with the McWhiney History Education Group, a non-profit on campus specifically focused on filming, editing, and arranging lecture series for various professors and schools, updating and managing multiple websites, and researching/cataloging many of the organization’s books and documents. He is currently working as a graduate assistant and lead on a project for the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee that will utilize several published works on the Greensboro Fire Department’s history to craft a digital timeline of GFD historical events for visitors of the GFHBC website.
Melissa Huggins and Summer Crews are working on the lesson plans for the Magnolia House exhibit. The lesson plans will focus on: the Shoebox Lunches, Green Book history, African American history in Greensboro, and the history of the house and its architecture. Summer has worked as an intern at the Bart-Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina and Patriot’s Point. Melissa has worked at Discovery Place Science in Charlotte, North Carolina, and on archaeological digs in Italy. Both Summer and Melissa have aspirations to become curators in museums in the future!
Budgeting, Marketing, and Blog Committee
The budgeting, marketing, and blog duo oversee the proper use of funds for the exhibit committees. Our marketing strategy will include creating advertisement materials both virtually and physically, including press releases for upcoming events and opening reception, social media relations, and informative ways to draw the public’s attention during the Covid-19 era. Lastly, we get to bring you this lovely and informative blog into the development, stress, and rewarding aspects of creating a museum exhibit.
Emily Senn is the first half of the budgeting, marketing, and blog dynamic duo. Her interests include all aspects of collections management as well as curatorial work. While living in Florida, she volunteered at the University of West Florida Historic Trust, where she assisted in creating an inventory for their collection. She also worked as a Museum Assistant at the Heritage Park and Cultural Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She has recently worked as a graduate assistant at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, under its head Registrar.
Matthew McCarthy, the other half of this duo, received his BA in History from NC State University. Beginning work with the Ava Gardner Museum in July 2016, his experience includes: accessioning, proper handling of museum artifacts, assisting in the creation and installation process for exhibits, and helping with the non-profit’s public relations. His most recent work is with UNCG’s PRIDE of the Community digital archive. There he creates secondary sources for common historical themes in the collection and collects oral histories for LGBTQ+ communities in Greensboro. A pop-up exhibit with a local museum is possible.
How COVID-19 impacts the Magnolia House exhibit
COVID-19 has altered the way our groups/committees will complete their tasks. As we would like to continue social distancing as much as possible, there are a few ways we have to adapt to finish this project while remaining safe and healthy.
We have been playing around with the idea of creating panels that are easily moveable to have flexibility with the installation process. One option for this is a pull-down panel and stand that can be easily moved. This will allow us to quickly install the panels and minimize contact with anyone at the Magnolia House and a more comfortable movement for the staff at the Magnolia or even for the use of a traveling exhibit. This could also open the doors towards the possibility of an outdoor exhibition where proper social distancing measures can be put into place.
As with most, if not all of our group members, we are all working remotely, and communication is critical for completing this exhibit without a hitch. Every member involved in the Magnolia House exhibit must communicate regularly and promptly. We are all part of the building block towards a smooth exhibit installation and opening.
Lastly, flexibility is our best friend during these uncertain times! In continuing forward with the exhibit process, we know the possibility exists that we may not install the panels ourselves. Anything can change in an instant during the Covid-19 era, but we all remain highly adaptable with our work. We are excited to have the opportunity to go through this process together, even with uncertainties, and complete an exhibit for the public.