Engaging With the Space

The UA Nursing Exhibit at The Gorgas House Museum.
The UA Nursing Exhibit at The Gorgas House Museum.

History shows us that change is constant. And this is true for historic spaces, the narratives they share, and the interpretations they develop. The built environment, including buildings, walkways, fountains, and landscaping, all change based on the needs and wants of the people of their time.

This is true for material culture, or artifacts such as furniture, tools, clothes, and a host of other objects as well. Museum exhibitions are no exception and exhibits change to showcase new and interesting avenues of research and educational opportunities for our patrons.

Last week we hinted at a new exhibit by a University student. The Gorgas House Museum fosters these student and non-museum department relationships for many reasons. They provide opportunities for students to develop museum-related skills such as research, public speaking, and marketing/advertising abilities that translate to other disciplines. They also show other academic departments and specialists how they can also engage with the space in fun and interesting ways. Last year’s exhibit with a now graduate of UA’s nursing school highlights this. Her exhibit on the history of medicine and nursing at the University brought patrons from departments such as nursing, biology, and several others that one might not typically associate with a history museum.

We only scheduled the nursing exhibit to run for three to four months, but its popularity and levels of engagement encouraged us to leave it installed for twice that time. But now we’re preparing to deinstall that exhibit for the new one on William C. Gorgas that will open in early August. So, while our change is constant, we will continue to work and offer fun and educational exhibitions that explore all the histories the museum has to offer.

– Written by Brandon Thompson, Director of the Gorgas House Museum