From 2019 into 2021, eight current and former CCP students worked collaboratively with two professional exhibitors, a project videographer, and three PHS staff members to reveal parts of the PHS archive that meant the most to them. The exhibit team’s work occurred against a backdrop of historic events that archives like PHS will document for decades to come: Covid-19 and the nationwide protests for racial justice.
**May 2021: Outdoor installations are open at 425 Lombard Street, Monday to Friday, 8:30-4:30. View all installations online at BKBBphilly.org/exhibit**
Impacted and compelled by the news, the exhibitors connected with more than archival collections, art, and spaces--the legacies of what they found when they began their research and exhibit visits. Their installations and storytelling link the history resources at PHS to what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now,” suggesting ways for PHS and other institutions to explore history that speaks to students today.
What new possibilities for research and creativity do archival spaces, collections, databases, and staffs hold for students? And how might archives become the welcoming and community-oriented institutions they want to be--for the many, not just the few?
The BKBB exhibitors, through their work, show us that students can lead the way.