Creating a traveling exhibition for the noted Black historian: Carter G. Woodson.

Seats of Power

Creating a traveling exhibition for the noted Black historian: Carter G. Woodson.

OVERVIEWSOLUTIONSTRATEGYPROCESS
CONTEXT
DATE
TOOLS
Student Project
Aug 2018 - Dec 2018
Rhino 3D, Adobe Illustrator
TEAM
ROLE
SKILLS
Solo Project
Strategist, Exhibit Designer
Strategy, 3D Modeling, Exhibit Design, Fabrication
01
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OVERVIEW
BACKGROUND

For an architectural studio, my class created a traveling exhibition for the noted Black historian: Carter G. Woodson.

Each student designed and built an individual exhibit within the larger exhibition. The viewer was directed through the exhibition consisting of three parts: a history of Carter G. Woodson's life, a summary of his major points and contributions, and a vision for the future of racial equality.

My exhibit fell in the middle section, acting as a bridge between Carter G. Woodson's contributions and their future implications.

I created a space for reflection, as well as the opportunity to read sections of Woodson's book The Miseducation of the Negro. My exhibit is titled "Seats of Power."

CHALLENGE

Carter G. Woodson is considered the Father of Black History, yet few know his name.

How do we educate the public and make his legacy relevant to our present-day lives?

OPPORTUNITY

Create a traveling exhibition educating people on Woodson's life and purpose.

Our traveling exhibit "Blue//Black" aims to educate on the life and legacy of Carter G. Woodson. This exhibition invites visitors to explore different narratives and experiences of Woodson’s life. By doing so, "Blue//Black" acts as a platform to bring to light the racial politics and inferiority complexes inset in our society today.

02
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SOLUTION
PART ONE | THE DESIGN

Introducing Seats of Power

My individual exhibit highlights the importance of education as a means of empowerment. The visitor sees platforms that grow from stepping stones to a podium, underscoring that the growth of proper education frees Blacks from a system that enslaves and steps upon them to a system that empowers and enables them to advance and lead in society.

The visitor is invited to sit, read, and reflect on the words of Carter G. Woodson and other prominent Black leaders engraved on the sides of the boxes. Visitors are able to take sections of The Mis-Education of the Negro from the podium bookcase and read them. Lastly, the visitor is able to ask questions and share stories with other visitors in order to reflect on their own education.

Perspective drawing of final design

Introduction panel

Floor plan

Elevation

PART TWO | THE CONSTRUCTION

Building the exhibit

I built my final construction primarily with poplar wood and slate. Both materials are local to Buckingham County, the birthplace of Carter G. Woodson. I replicated the memorial stone at Woodson's birthplace for the top of the podium. I divided Woodson's book into its 18 sections and reproduced them to live within my exhibit.

My class ran the exhibit at the University of Virginia Architecture School, inviting guests from Buckingham County to join us. My personal exhibit is now on permanent display at the UVA Equity Center main office.


03
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STRATEGY
TARGET
REGIONS
INTERESTS
Ages 10+
Buckingham County, Other U.S. Sites
Carter G. Woodson, Education, Black History

KEY POINTS

The full exhibit takes the visitors on a journey featuring three key sections.

Section 1 - Who was Carter G. Woodson?

  1. The visitor will walk through CG Woodson’s history and learn about who he was, where he came from and his impact on the world today. The visitor will have the opportunity to take snippets of Woodson’s life with him/her. 
  2. Following the history timeline, the visitor will have the opportunity to step into the defining places and experiences (i.e. Philippines, coal mining.. etc) Woodson underwent in his life.
  3. The alternative next step will be resting in a pew that takes them to Buckingham County via audio-visual experience incorporating the voices of BC residents and an immersive image of his birth site. 

Section 2 - Why did Carter G. Woodson matter?

  1. Gives an overview of the major points/quotes from Mis-Education and creates opportunities for reflection on the text
  2. Written in 1933, Carter G. Woodson’s book The Mis-Education of the Negro discusses the unacceptable education of blacks since the beginning of time. This system of improper education was a means of further enslaving blacks by enslaving their minds. Blacks were conditioned to be dependent and inferior, which kept them in their low place in society. Their mis-education disabled them from improvement.

Section 3 - What is Carter G. Woodson's relevance to the world today?

  1. Introduces CGW’s ideas as part of larger framework of solutions for advancing racial equality, starting in the educational setting and expanding outwards.
  2. Rebuilding a vision of African American achievement in education, profession, and politics, as promoted by CGW (Ch 9, 10, & 11 of The Mis-Education of the Negro)
04
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PROCESS
LOOK & FEEL AND PRECEDENT STUDY
As a class, we decided upon visual design standards to create consistency throughout our exhibition.

Individually, I chose materials and design inspiration sources.

I drew inspiration in my individual exhibit from the "Against the Odds" exhibition for the American Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

STUDY MODELS
My study models demonstrate the increasing fidelity of my idea as it progressed over time.

Thank you!