Welcome to the Spring 2021 term, everyone! We are thrilled to be back on campus, hard at work on new exhibits, programs, and collaborative projects. Already this month, we’ve been hard at work getting ready to open to the public and preparing collaborations with WKU faculty and students. Here’s a roundup of some recent happenings at the Kentucky Museum.
Taylor Conservation Assessment
On January 5 through 7, costume specialists Colleen Callahan and Newbold Richardson worked with us to undertake an assessment of the Mrs. A. H. Taylor Collection. We learned so much from them – helping assess conditions of the garments, but also verifying details about the types of fabric used, construction methods, and time periods of each garment. Callahan and Richardson also helped Sandy, Tiffany, and Dr. Carrie Cox select garments most suited for exhibition in the upcoming Styles &thegistofit (opening October 2021).
Finally, university photographer Clinton Lewis spent an afternoon with us to videotape Callahan and Richardson at work, which was later used in Dr. Cox’s costume conservation class to help students understand the importance of conserving historic garments.
We are still seeking Adopters for the Taylor collection, to help with sending garments out for conservation and restoration before the exhibition. Learn more here.
Spring Class Partnerships
Each term, we work with faculty to create applied learning experiences for students in a variety of classes. In Spring 2021, our partnerships include:
Tim Frandy’s Museum Practicum class is working with Sandy and Tiffany to research and create panels for Remembering Childhood, which looks at toys in our collection and how adults collect and play with toys, as well as what makes a toy become “classic.”
Dr. Shura Pollatsek’s Honors students in Theatre 323 will be creating a small exhibit on a specific period of interior and fashion design. The students will choose and research the period, then select objects and artworks from our collections and the Department of Library Special Collections that represent that period. Their selections and interpretations will be on display at the end of April.
Dr. Melissa Stewart’s students in advanced Spanish will be working with Christy Spurlock to translate select exhibits into Spanish language guides, which will be made available to visitors.
Preparing the Teaching Gallery
When we reopen in February, you may notice something different: A Star in Each Flag is closed. While we loved this Civil War exhibit, it was time for the artifacts to rest (i.e., be off display so as to ensure they do not get damage from light and air exposure). In its place, you’ll see our team is hard at work installing what will be our new Teaching Gallery – a space of exhibitions curated in partnership with WKU faculty and students.
Part of the gallery – Kentucky Women Rising and A Seat at the Table – is already on view.
Additional parts opening later in 2021 include an introduction to the functions of Teaching Galleries, the forthcoming Styles &thegistofit curated with Dr. Carrie Cox, and Dr. Tim Frandy’s student-produced Remembering Childhood exhibition.
The museum team is also discussing processes for soliciting exhibition ideas from WKU faculty who want to use these spaces as applied learning opportunities for students, either in classes or as part of Capstone projects. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon!
Opening February 4
Finally, we are thrilled to announce that the Kentucky Museum will open to the public on February 4, 2021. We will be open two days per week – Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a “soft trial” of our social distancing measures and to welcome our campus and community back to see all the great new things on view. We hope to return to greater hours of operation by this summer, pending COVID-19 guidelines.