The Humanity of History: A look into the archives, and the lives of those who touched history

Curated by Kelly Grogg, Olson Graduate Assistant

January 8th-March 1st, 2016


Image of documents, photos, objects, and diaries from the exhibitionThe thing that completely captivates me about the archives is the glimpse into history that I get through the story of an individual person. 

In Anthony Platt’s book, Bloodlines: Recovering Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws, from Patton’s Trophy to Public Memorial, Platt states that a good archive is one that “…gets us to think of history as an argument rather than a received truth; that encourages us to grapple with the past as a process of disorientation and reorientation rather than a neatly packaged, sanitized parable…” (Platt 181). 

Through this exhibit I hope you will see that history is never simple.  Not all the soldiers in the Union were noble, not every woman in the 1800’s sat idly by and waited for her husband to come home, not every Heisman trophy winner is defined by his touchdown record, not every graduate gets the job they deserve, and not every American is content to  be silent on the things that matter most.    

However, every person featured in this exhibit has contributed to make the world a better place.  They may not have ever reached the level of recognition they deserved, but despite their humble beginnings and oncoming obstacles, they contributed to the world in a way that cannot be measured in a “neatly packaged, sanitized parable”.  These are the people who create history.