Welcome to the first post in out Curator's Corner blog series!
At the heart of any exhibition is a story. Told through words, pictures, and material culture, each story is unique as are the individuals who interpret those stories. From history to art, the exhibitions in the Baker libraries represent often forgotten moments in the collective memory of Dartmouth College. Many of the exhibitions are inspired by artifacts found in the College's collections. Many of the curators are Dartmouth staff, faculty, or students. Stepping into the curator's role can be an exciting, rewarding, and challenging experience, but don't take my word for it. With each new exhibition's debut, we will interview one of the curators who tirelessly worked to create the narrative, select the images, and secure the artifacts. Today, we are interviewing Peter Carini, College Archivist, about his recent experience co-curating the "On Solid Ground" exhibition.
On Solid Ground explores the myth of the never changing Dartmouth. Even though we all know that Dartmouth has changed over time, there is a perception that it has always been here and will always be here. The exhibit looks at how the physical College, it's traditions, and intellectual pursuits have shifted and changed over time.
In many peoples minds, Dartmouth is based on never changing traditions. Many people bemoan the passing of the traditions they experienced and loved, but when you look at the whole of Dartmouth's history it, like the rest of the World, is a ever changing continuum. This exhibit allowed me to show this and celebrate the changes.
While I'm very familiar with the materials that went into this exhibit, as many of them have been used in class session here in Rauner, this exhibit allowed me to reconnect with the items in a new context.
While I have deep attachments to all of the items, I really like the manuscript of David Bradley's book on ski jumping. The item itself is fascinating in that you can see how it was assembled, but also the fine, but amateurish drawings give it a very personal feel. Finally, it speaks to how integral Dartmouth was in the development of skiing as a sport.
I hope that those who spend time looking at this exhibit will walk away with a sense of how solidly grounded Dartmouth is, but also with a sense of how that solidity is also a mirage that hides how much it has changed over the course of it's 250 years.
"On Solid Ground" was curated by Jay Satterfield and Peter Carini. Dennis Grady designed and installed the exhibition. "On Solid Ground" will be on display in Baker Main hall from January 2 until March 21, 2019.
The exhibit can also be viewed online.