Teaching Museum kicks off Carleton's 150th anniversary with Independence of Thought exhibition

September 5, 2016

Next month, Carleton College will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding. In honor of the College’s sesquicentennial, the Perlman Teaching Museum will feature a new student-curated exhibition, Independence of Thought: An Unfolding Story, 1866-2016, highlighting key periods in the College’s history. Independence of Thought opens September 23 in the Braucher Gallery, with a special reception hosted by the student curators on October 14 in the Weitz Center for Creativity Commons.

In the spring of 2016, fourteen students enrolled in “The Art of Exhibitions,” a class led by Gary Vikan ’67, Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art History and former director of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, were charged with the task of curating an exhibition that reflected how Carleton students lived, grew, and expressed themselves over time.  With an alumni audience in mind, students drew material from college archives. Their goal was to shape the exhibition as an immersive, personalized experience, giving life to real students of the past.

The result is Independence of Thought, which centers around the years 1890, 1918, 1942, 1971, and 2001; each era defining a space, filled with period objects, photographs, texts, and voices from the past 150 years of the College’s history. The exhibit culminates with a six-minute video encompassing the voices of the Carleton experience.

Additionally, students in history professor William North’s spring term class, “Carleton in the Archives,” produced an accompanying series of infographics informing viewers of Carleton’s history and culture through the years.

As part of Carleton College’s Sesquicentennial Celebration (October 14-16, 2016), the College will host a special opening reception for Independence of Thought on Friday, Oct. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Commons and on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. in Olin Hall 141, Gary Vikan ’67 will present “The Making of a Sesquicentennial Exhibition.” A complete list of event taking place during the celebration weekend can be found on the Carleton Sesquicentennial website.

Independence of Thought: An Unfolding Story, 1866-2016 runs through November 16 in the Braucher Gallery of the Perlman Teaching Museum. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday-Friday; and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday. Admission is free. The Perlman Teaching Museum is located in the Weitz Center for Creativity, located at Third and College Streets in Northfield. For more information, call 507-222-4342 or visit go.carleton.edu/museum.