Friday, September 9, 2011

[201] greensboro historical museum exhibits

                    the voices, pottery, the "gate city", the traveling exhibition "down home"

The main voices exhibit opened up into first a circular shaped gray room with portraits highlighted along the walls.  The form was very tall and opened and dark, but there was a lighting affect on the walls that enhanced the works of art displayed. I think this room gives a feeling that what is in there is important. Underneath the pictures displayed there are captions written about each person and there are other people involved surrounding each section. The section begins with the Buffalo Presbyterian church in 1776, then to the Declaration of Independence (1776), through when Greensboro was founded in 1808 and then continues on through the Albright farm, Spanish-American War through the attacks on 9/11 in 2001. The entire middle of the space is void which attracts attention to the photographs on the wall and makes the space seem grander and more important as a whole. As you go into the next part of the voices, it is a green room inspired by nature and moves around in different directions mimicking the feel of nature. This area then goes into a room with the same structure that is painted in red. These two rooms identify the events that took place during the foundation of Greensboro. The first space starts with early Greensboro residents who used carved stones as weapons, clay pots, and stone bowls for grinding seeds. Through the second section, there are displays representing the beginning for businesses in Greensboro. The first example I came across was the Guilford Nurseries traveling agent who sold plant stock to fruit farmers by showing them samples from a specimen book.  Then, Henry Humphrey receives supplies of dried goods and groceries for his business.  The first room, painted green represents the early survival through nature by residents, and then moves through the red room where towns became more civilized and began opening businesses and found ways of trading products or using money.

The next room was the pottery room and the interior designs. The entire room is a large circular section but the walls, similar to most of the exhibits are not curved; instead there are many different planes and directions within the walls. On both sides of the room there are display cases displaying the pottery. Internal lighting within the glass cases lights up the pottery. The room is all white walls with light wood trim and light blue floor that corresponds to the orange and blue colors of the pottery. In the middle of the floor there is another display of pottery and there is written information about how it started here. It appears that the glass cases of pottery on either sides of the room are most important because they are lit up so these displays first caught my eye when I walked I the door. After walking into the space I noticed the interior displays of interiors of the homes in Greensboro, but there was not much description about what it was about.  This area has a larger sense of natural light than any of the other displays in the museum. This exhibit talks about the history of pottery; Jacques and Juliana purchased it for resale utilitarian forms. Jacques and Juliana felt that the traditional art form of pottery was fading out so they opened Greenwich Village, NY teashop. Active participants were a part of this process to help bring back the classical forms that made Jungtown famous.

the gate city represents the set up of greensboro after the city became profitable. when you first walk into the exhibit there is a brick wall hotel established by william f. clegg in 1884. the beginning of accommodations for travelers also began and restaurants were added as a part of the hotel. The steam fire engine company began in 1888. this gave the town a sense of security because they had the ability to fight fires and protect their homes. this exhibit is also in brick reflecting the building material used of the time. this part of the exhibit was sectioned off from the rest of the museum because each wall was a different material and told a different story about greensboro's history. on one wall there is a school building made of wood siding. the side of the building that displays the pharmacy is mostly made of wood and has glass windows. there is little repetition in this exhibit from the rest of the museum and it is entirely a separate place. The hierarchy of this exhibit was the overall idea of greensboro as a city improving economically and coming up with new and better solutions to problems.

The growing city of greensboro changes as jewish life becomes more prevalent. wilmington's temple of israel was brought to life in 1876 by rabbi dr henry hochheimer. the bnai israel synagogue was established in 1897 and the tarboro's synagogue was a queen anne style building to relate to the rest of the neighborhood. Jewish camps began forming during the summer for kids and then were able to begin applying to universities in the 1900s. this was an opportunity for many jewish families to make money because most jewish immigrants to america came very poor and had not previously been able to receive an education although they had strong tradition in education. This exhibit was also separate from the rest of the museum and did not flow well. the lighting was very bright in the center of the room where nothing was displayed but the art and displays around the sides of the room made it difficult to read what exhibit was to be looked at next.

The museum as a whole was very much like a maze. it was winding but the walls were choppy and there were many different planes coming at you in all directions at one time overwhelming you with information. The Voices exhibit was the easiest to follow because it first began with a dark room with lighting surrounding important pictures telling a story of the history of greensboro from when the first people contributed to the land up until recent history. then, the displays after this repeat the overview that was seen in the first room. first beginning with the early history, moving to the development of businesses and then to the later success of the economy. when i fist walked into the lobby before visiting any of the exhibits i had no idea that there was anything else past the lobby in the museum. there is nothing that leads you to believe that there is something behind the walls of the lobby. the whole entrance has a natural lighting color but it is very dull and the walls are dark green covering the whole space from ceiling to floor. After you go through the first room on the second floor of the exhibit, you realize that you are being led into more enclosed rooms with warmer lighting and very colorful sectioned off spaces containing the exhibits. the further you go into the exhibit, the more you get lost in the space and discover the themes being represented. after going through the entire museum you finally come out back into the lobby that is a completely different style and lighting color than the museum. it is at first surprising to come into the lobby because you have been enclosed in these spaces that are so different from the outside lobby. the whole museum is many different worlds separated from the museum so when you leave the space back to where you started you feel that you are not in the same building anymore.

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