CSUEB students create historical exhibit
January 29, 2015
An exhibit depicting the influence of war in the East Bay is on display at the Hayward Area Historical Society through Feb. 1, following a 10-week collaboration between California State University, East Bay students and the museum.
The exhibit, “Brought to You By… The Homefront Since World War II and the Media That Sponsored It,” shows four main displays in the HAHS special gallery.
Each section reveals the impact of war on the homefront in the East Bay during the ‘50s-era Cold War, the wars throughout Southeast Asia, Reagan’s Cold War, and the War on Terror.
The students from the introduction to public history course, taught by Professor Linda Ivey during fall 2014, created the exhibit as their course project. Ivey described the project as the ultimate experience for students to produce history for a public audience.
Ivey explained that although the students covered a variety of topics in their research, one theme emerged: the role of media shaping the public’s opinion during times of war.
“Projects like this should remind us that so many of our contemporary issues have historical roots worth examining,” Ivey said.“Are revolutions spreading with the help of Facebook or Twitter? Is this how we learn about ISIS, or Paris, or Nigeria? What happens when media brings the raw story into hands of concerned citizens?”
In spring 2014, Hayward Area Historical Society’s Senior Gallery Curator and CSUEB alum Diane Curry approached Ivey with the idea of collaborating on an exhibit.
“She was very enthusiastic about the idea, so during the summer we designed what the class would look like and how we’d get a fully installed exhibition completely developed, installed and open to the public in 10 weeks,” said Curry.
With a non-existent budget, the students had to use a combination of materials. They borrowed pieces from the HAHS collection, items from local second hand stores, and borrowed items from friends, families, neighbors, and anyone else they could think to ask.
The class turned to Media and Academic Technology services in the campus library to help create the posters hung in the exhibits.
“The hardest part of the project is understanding that realistically, we can not say everything,” said Alexander Martinez-Harris, a student from Ivey’s fall course. “There was not nearly enough [supplies and time] to incorporate nearly twenty years of U.S. history, so our group had to take a hard look at what was absolutely essential, and what needed to be scrapped.”
The exhibit features four main displays; each representing the homefront in the East Bay during different wars.
The 1950s Cold War display presents what a family’s home office would look like with artifacts such as a typewriter, a rotary dial telephone and a set of 1950s Encyclopedias.
One of the larger parts of the exhibit is the display on Reagan’s Cold War. The display depicts an ‘80s bedroom complete with a record player, vinyls, Michael Jackson “Bad” posters, People magazines from the ‘80s, and a purple velvet beanbag.
The “Brought to You By…” exhibit also features interactive displays. In the War on Terrorism display, exhibit attendees answer the question, “Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?” and hang their answer alongside other attendees responses, furthering the exhibit.
“It was an intense ten weeks, but the experience of watching the exhibit grow was priceless,” said Melissa Murphy, a student from Ivey’s fall class.
“Knowing that you created something from your own thoughts and hands for the public to see and enjoy was really prideful.”
The exhibit is on display at the Hayward Area Historical Society, off of Foothill Boulevard, until the first of February. HAHS is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the gallery is $5 or $3 with a student ID.