Gull Life

SU adds to Smithsonian exhibit for Downtown art gallery

Gull Life


Gull Life Editor

The Smithsonian Traveling exhibition, “The Way We Worked,” made its way to the city of Salisbury, and SU’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture added a localized component at the University’s new art gallery in Downtown Salisbury.

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The exhibit as a whole focuses on the role of labor in American society, and how a strong work ethic has held strong throughout American history. The Nabb Center’s portion focuses on the local industries of the Eastern Shore, specifically dealing with manufacturing, lumber, agriculture and water.

“We met early on to decide what the basic material we wanted to cover was and that was when the real work began after that with the research, development and design,” said Dr. Creston Long, director of the Nabb Center.

Janie Kreines, the Exhibits and Artifacts Curator for the Nabb Research Center, spent a lot of time digging through the archives to pull information, artifacts and photographs to enrich the exhibit.

“It was really cool when I was going through the archival collections to look for pictures and things to go along with the content,” Kreines said. “I think there is a lot that we have in the collection that really, with the context behind it that we brought in for this exhibit, makes it even more exciting and appealing.”

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Kreines did not do the work alone, but had help from sophomore Jaclyn Laman, the curatorial assistant for the center.  Laman worked with Kreines on the project during the summer by researching the topic and creating the text displayed on the panels at the exhibit.

“I compiled all of the information and eventually wrote all of what you see on the panels,” Laman said. “I was in charge of all the sections except the introductory panel and one of the panels for manufacturing, which Dr. Long wrote.”

As with many research projects over a long period of time, complications arose.

“It was hard to find information for some topics, especially for the time period I was working in, and to find pictures and objects to go with it,” Laman said.

The complications were overcome and the exhibit opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and opening reception during the Third Friday celebration on Sept. 15, which drew in a large crowd.

Dr. James Buss, dean of the Honors College, was one of many SU community members in attendance.

“It showcases the talented students, faculty and staff of SU because part was made by the professionals of Smithsonian and part by students and faculty,” Dr. Buss said. “You couldn’t tell the difference between the two and that speaks volumes.”

The Publications Office helped the Nabb Center design a similar appearance of the panels to closely match the Smithsonian’s portion, according to Kreines.

“The colors matched up pretty well, but also the local part was serious and had a good selection of photographs and texts and that made it look a lot like the Smithsonian work,” Dr. Long said.

The exhibit focuses on critical aspects of the Eastern Shore that many people who are not locals of the area are not aware of.

“One of things at the opening was that a lot of people were walking around and saying, ‘I never realized how much industry was in this area,’ and I think that’s something that is kind of exciting to show people something that is no longer around but can be seen in a lot of buildings that are still around and have been repurposed,” Kreines said. “I think that was kind of neat to allow people to learn more about this landscape and where they live and how it used to be used.”

The Maryland Humanities Grant funded the transfer of the Smithsonian exhibit throughout Md. and the promotion of it, according to Dr. Long.

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A convenient time for students and other members of the SU community to tour the entire exhibit is during Third Friday on Oct. 20, but it will be up at the gallery until Nov. 3.

When the Smithsonian Traveling portion leaves in Nov., the Nabb Center will bring their panels back to SU for further display.

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