When we were first approached by the Colleton Museum about its new museum project, our client asked simply for a few interpretative banners and several photographs enlarged to tell the story of catholic schools educating African-American students in the 1950s and early 60s. When I visited the exhibit opening, I saw how powerful and empowering a relatively simple exhibit can be.
We designed and printed two double-sided interpretative banners that hung from the ceiling and the “You Can Go Anywhere in Life from Here” title banner. The interpretative banners share the recollection of Charles Williams, a former student, who donated the exhibit. We printed no more than 10 photographs of images of the Gruber Street Kindergarten and Saint Joseph’s Catholic School. By exhibit standards, a relatively small project.
Simple Exhibit Prompts Conversations
The story of Colleton County catholic schools educating African-American students in the 1950s and early 60s is a surprising one, a good one. The “You Can Go Anywhere in Life from Here” exhibit shares the recollection of Charles Williams who attended the schools from 1952-1963. And his memories are good ones of the education he received, the people who supported him and his classmates, and the friendships he made. From what I heard at the opening reception night from other former students, their stories too are good ones.
And the conversations that followed that night were facilitated by the simple exhibit design. The exhibit is truly interactive without technology. Visitors were touching and turning the banners pointing out classmates. They were talking to each other, sharing stories, empowering ones—ones that reflected the exhibit title, “You Can Go Anywhere in Life from Here.” Sometimes simple is better.