BRTC Student Samantha Forehand
PARAGOULD, AR April 7—The first exhibit in BRTC’s Mini Museum is now on display. Dr. Dianna Fraley’s history students, Kacey Johnson, Samantha Forehand, and Tasia Alvarez, designed the first exhibit called “Cabinet of Curiosities: The Habit of Collecting.”
The collection features a vinyl record of the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, a Russian Barbie doll, 1950s wheat pennies, arrowheads from Cache River in Lawrence County, Masonic Pennies from the 1800s and early 1900s, Hallmark Star Trek ornaments, a Blue Willow tea cup and saucer, and more. Dr. Fraley states, “The goal of the exhibit is to engage the audience about what they collect and have them relate to the artifacts personally.”
The students were responsible for choosing the topic of the exhibit, collecting the artifacts, creating condition reports on the artifacts collected, researching the topic, writing the narrative, and designing the exhibit. Dr. Fraley adds, “Designing mini-museum displays provides students an alternate experience with the study of history. Through this process students are exposed to multiple aspects of museum curation and exhibit installation. The goal of this project is to show students that a history degree can lead to different types of professional careers and opportunities.”
BRTC’s history department plans to change the exhibit three times a year–spring, summer, and fall semesters. At the beginning of each semester, participating students will decide on the theme of the exhibit and then go through the same process the first group of students followed this semester.
BRTC student Samantha Forehand who worked on the first display asserts, “I had such a wonderful time working on our Cabinet of Curiosities museum project. I loved the topic we chose because I am a collector of many things myself, and being able to showcase one of them was exciting. I liked that we actually inspected the pieces and documented each one, but the actual execution of the museum itself was my favorite. It felt like a big art project and when it was finished, I felt very proud of it.” Dr. Fraley echoes her student’s enthusiasm for the project stating, “”I really enjoyed working with these students on this project, they have an impressive work ethic and lots of creativity. They are an asset to the BRTC campus and will succeed in whatever educational endeavor they choose to pursue!”
The Mini-Museum is free and open to the public during campus hours. The student-led mini museum was made possible by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
For more information about enrolling in a history course at BRTC, contact Donna Statler, Dean of General Studies, by phone at (870) 248-4000, ext. 4183 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.blackrivertech.org/admission-registration-enrollment.