With the start of winter quarter, the Washington State History Museum brings a compelling and inspiring new exhibit to go along with it; “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.”
This exhibit, available until March 15, 2020, highlights the untold and suppressed stories of African American men throughout the past as well as the present. This exhibition offers separate displays to its audience to introduce these iconic figures through the use of quotes, excerpts, and photos while also presenting pieces of artwork in order to exemplify the impact these men have generated on the world around them.
The director of audience engagement at the Washington State Historical Society and History Museum, Mary Mikel Stump, provided details regarding this exhibition. Stump stated that “this exhibit was first brought to her attention all the way back in 2018 and this will be the only museum within the Pacific Northwest to house it”. The exhibit was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, also known as SITES. “[This exhibit] consisted of well over 50 advisors and an even larger scholar committee with the intention to bring men of inspiration from those before them and to ensure a display of history and a society constantly evolving,” Stump said. With an extensive past involving hundreds of African American men shaping our history lists of honorable mentions not incorporated in the exhibit, yet still just as important, line the walls of the exhibition.
The center of the exhibit, involving the quotes, excerpts and photographs shown on 132 light box panels, is comprised of the selected figures and utilized to educate its viewers and offer further knowledge of the men within a historical context. The section is made up of six categories: imagining, fathering, myth breakers, storytellers, catalysts, and community. Each one of these components demonstrate ways in which these individuals, extending from Spike Lee to Jordan Peele and Ralph Ellison to Kendrick Lamar, defied the odds against them in order to create their own histories and break through barriers created to hold them back throughout different aspects of their lives.
Aside from the central portion of the exhibit, the walls are lined with 24 works of art ranging from sculptures, paintings, short films, photographs, mixed media, as well as historical and personal objects. These works were created by a group of modern day artists and relay the personal effect these men had on them. Marketing and communications director of the Washington State Historical Society, Julianna Verboot, mentioned, “The idea of incorporating these works of art was employed so contemporary artists could continue the conversation these men started and sparked through their inspiration.”
Once again reiterating that the Washington State History Museum will be the only museum within the Pacific Northwest to acquire the exhibition, bring your Husky ID along with you to garner free admission and don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience it while you can.