GLAM Workshop Recap: Teaching With Objects Across Disciplines

On February 28th, GLAM, in partnership with the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies, held its first faculty training workshop of the spring semester: Teaching With Objects Across Disciplines. Following a viewing of current exhibitions at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Lowery Stokes Sims, Ph.D., former curator at the Metropolitan Museum of New York and former executive director of the Studio Museum of Harlem, led a lively discussion on curricular engagement with museum objects. Sims discussed the practices of basket weaving and pottery throughout the African diaspora and the ways discussion of these kinds of material objects can be adapted for a variety of subjects.

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Lowery Stokes Sims discussing teaching with objects to GLAM Faculty Fellows, RWWL librarians and AUC students

 

Make sure not to miss our next workshop on March 18th, Teaching with Exhibitions, being held in the Archives Research Center at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.

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Faculty Fellows touring Spelman’s current exhibit before the workshop

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GLAM Faculty Fellow Spotlight: Dr. Charmayne Patterson

The GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning’s Faculty Fellows program aims to provide AUC faculty with training in object-based pedagogy and techniques. This month’s spotlight features GLAM Faculty Fellow, Dr. Charmayne E. Patterson. Dr. Patterson is a Clark Atlanta University professor in the department of African American Studies, Africana Women’s Studies, and History.

Dr. Charmayne Patterson

Last semester I collaborated with the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning to create assignments for several of my courses. I have been a long time proponent of libraries and regularly consult with library staff to aid in the development of course assignments. It is important that students are aware of the extensive resources and services available through the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library. Students are often unaware of the library’s holdings and unsure about how to effectively utilize those holdings for inclusion in their course work. Knowing all of this, the GLAM Center seemed to be the perfect place to identify innovative ways to promote both engagement with valuable yet underutilized resources and students’ visual literacy.

Student interaction with the GLAM Center varied by course. The United States History to 1865 class attended one library session where they were introduced to the concept of “visual literacy.” The group of mostly incoming freshmen seemed to really enjoy exercises where they analyzed images and made inferences based on visual cues. The session encouraged them to move beyond their initial presumptions and to ask questions about what they were viewing. What was it a picture of? When was the photograph taken? Why was the painting organized that way? By stressing the importance of both content and context for visual sources, the session proved to be a perfect complement to the written evaluations of primary sources that students completed later in the semester.

My History of Africa Since 1800 class participated in an object study session at Clark Atlanta University Art Museum Gallery. The assignment created for that class required students to critically assess individual works of art, including paintings and sculptures. The object study was literally a “hands-on” experience as students were allowed to touch, hold, and study select pieces from CAU’s permanent collection. The pieces selected by the GLAM staff helped to foster conversations during our unit on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as students compared the art to the human bodies that were taken from the continent, both as commodities. They also were able to see the art as reflective of the culture of the African Diaspora and identified similarities between the African art and some of the pieces by African American artists that were on exhibit in the gallery.

For my African American History to 1865 course, the GLAM staff and I collaborated to develop an assignment in which students would curate individual exhibits. The Center created a collection of about fifteen images; each student selected three images that were then placed in conversation with one another to tell a unique story. I was impressed by some of the final projects, as students sought to tell the story of enslavement and emancipation through the use of these images. Their visual displays provided powerful imagery to underscore what they were learning in the course and highlighted themes such as commodification, family, and resistance to slavery.

My experience with the GLAM Center was a positive one. Students came away from the courses with an additional skill set (the ability to critically engage visual, as well as written sources.) The assignments were distinctive and overall, enjoyable. This semester, I am looking forward to working with the PHENOMENAL GLAM team to find even more ways to enhance my teaching!

GLAM Workshop Recap: Creating Curriculum Inspired Online Exhibitions

Last week we held our final GLAM Faculty Development workshop of the fall semester, “Creating Curriculum Inspired Online Exhibitions.” Led by GLAM’s Museum Education Curator, Martina Dodd, and Digital Exhibitions Coordinator, Gayle Schechter, this workshop provided AUC faculty and Robert W. Woodruff Library staff with an overview of the resources available on the GLAM Center’s digital portal, including digitized archival collections and our assignment portal. GLAM staff then led a tutorial on how to create exhibits in Omeka, an open-source web platform designed for sharing digital collections.

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Museum Education Curator Martina Dodd gives an overview of the GLAM Center digital portal

A key component of the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning’s work is building thematic digital exhibitions, but it’s not just GLAM and Archives Research Center (ARC) staff creating those exhibits! We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on the use of digital exhibits in the classroom, whether in the form of instructional exhibits created in consultation with GLAM staff or exhibits created by students for a class assignment or an extracurricular project. The GLAM Center’s first student-created exhibits were made by Spelman professor Dr. Rosetta Ross’s religion course, Introduction to Christian Ethics: Archival Research and Black Women in U.S. Civil Rights. GLAM and ARC staff taught Dr. Ross’s class how to conduct archival research and how to build digital exhibits using our exhibit platform, Omeka. You can view the students’ final exhibits about former NAACP Southeastern Regional Director Ruby Hurley here.

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Digital Exhibitions Coordinator Gayle Schechter provides a tutorial on using Omeka

Be sure to keep an eye on our digital portal after winter break. We’ll have a new slate of faculty development workshops as well as new digital exhibits throughout the spring semester.

GLAM Center Featured Collection: Black Librarianship

Though Clark Atlanta University’s School of Library and Information Studies closed its doors in 2005, the Archives Research Center (ARC) at the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library houses several collections showcasing the contributions to the field of librarianship made by faculty and staff at the AUC as well as prominent black librarians outside the AUC. The first director of the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library (and namesake of the library’s Exhibitions Hall), Virginia Lacy Jones was the second African American to earn a doctorate in Library Science from the University of Chicago. Working alongside Jones at Atlanta University’s School of Library and Information Service was Hallie B. Brooks who taught at AU for 47 years.

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AU brochure, circa 1965

In addition to Jones’s and Brooks’s papers, the ARC also houses the records of the Atlanta University School of Library and Information Service, which opened its doors in 1941 after the Hampton Institute’s library school (the only library school for African Americans at that time) closed. AU’s library school later became known as the Atlanta University School of Library and Information Studies and then the Clark Atlanta University School of Library and Information Studies after Atlanta University merged with Clark College in 1989.

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AUSLIS Students and Faculty in Class, circa 1955

Other trailblazing black librarians are featured prominently throughout ARC collections. Portraits of Dorothy Porter, who decolonized library cataloging and built Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center into a world-class research institution, are found in the Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman Memorial Collection. Also found among the Cullen-Jackman collection are papers pertaining to Sadie Peterson Delaney, a pioneer in bibliotherapy who served as chief librarian of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskeegee, AL for 34 years, and Arna Wendell Bontemps, head librarian at Fisk University and noted Harlem Renaissance figure. ARC collections also feature materials from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as well as the library honor society, Beta Phi Mu.

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Dorothy Porter, May 1951, photograph by Carl Van Vechten

Check out the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning’s digital portal to see our featured collection on black librarianship, and stay tuned for our collaborative exhibit with the AUC Woodruff Library’s Archives Research Center on Clark Atlanta University’s School of Library and Information Studies this spring!

Black Architects in the Archives: The Oscar Harris Collection in the Archives Research Center of the AUC Woodruff Library

Guest post by Brittany Newberry, Processing Archivist at AUC Woodruff Library’s Archives Research Center

In August 2017, the Archives Research Center of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library received the Oscar Harris collection. Known for his designs that influenced the Atlanta skyline, Oscar Harris is a prominent and notable Black architect in Atlanta, GA. He is one of the first African American architects in the city to start a minority run architecture firm, Turner Associates Architects and Planners, Inc. His career includes projects such as the Olympic Look, Terminal E, the Atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and Underground Atlanta. The collection documents his career and the multitude of projects he worked on.

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Key to the city of Columbia, SC, Oscar Harris Collection, Archives Research Center Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

If you are interested in the work of Black architects in the South, this collection is for you. The materials highlight Harris’s major works and offers researchers the ability to look at major aspects of running an architecture firm from meetings, finances, blueprints, and marketing. Additionally, the collection showcases the talents of Harris and his experiences as an architect. It is currently being processed and will be available for research in the near future. Once the collection is open for research, people will be able to see a history of Harris’s projects and work in Atlanta and other cities.

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Cover of notebook, “The House,” 1990, Oscar Harris Collection, Archives Research Center Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

While processing the collection, I have come across several hidden gems that may be of interest to researchers. Not only can one find blueprints, correspondence, and notes for the various projects, but they will discover photographs, sketchbooks, journals, memorabilia, and artifacts. Of note is a container of dirt from a groundbreaking, the key to the city of Columbia, SC, and photographs of projects and Oscar Harris with major Atlanta figures, such as Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson.

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Page of notebook, Oscar Harris Collection, Archives Research Center Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

Of particular interest to me are the notebooks of Oscar Harris, dating as far back as 1987. These journals and sketch books give a glimpse into the career of Oscar Harris and his day to day work. With over forty books in the collection, they encompass the major projects his firm worked on.  His sketches outlined  the projects and ideas he had at the time. Including sketches of his house that he designed and places, such as the lake shore of Chicago, IL. I even found sketches of Halloween costumes and one of the escalators to the atrium of the Atlanta airport.

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Sketch of the Chicago lake shore, June 10, 2004, Oscar Harris Collection, Archives Research Center Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

The collection covers a significant time period in the development of Atlanta from the 1980s to early 2000s. I invite researchers and those curious about Atlanta history and the changing landscape of the Atlanta neighborhoods to explore the collection.  It complements the vast holdings of the Archives Research Center. Related collections include the Grace Towns Hamilton papers, which contains maps of Atlanta neighborhoods and districts, the Atlanta Urban League papers and the John Hope records that have several files on various architects, and the Maynard Jackson Mayoral Administrative records. Be on the lookout for the announcement of the opening of the collection and the link for the finding aid. In the meantime, visit www.auctr.edu/archives for more information about the Archives and our holdings and contact us at archives@auctr.edu with any questions you may have.

GLAM Workshop Recap: Navigating AUC Digital Commons

Like many institutions, the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library has been spending time digitizing archival resources and scholarly publications in order to increase online access to our resources. This month, the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning’s faculty workshop focused on how to navigate and access these newly digitized AUC collections and our institutional repository. Led by Christine Wiseman, head of AUC Woodruff’s Digital Services Department (DSD), faculty and staff learned about the resources and services DSD provides and how to navigate AUC Woodruff’s online repository, hosted on Digital Commons.

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Digital Service Department head Christine Wiseman speaking about AUC Woodruff Library’s institutional repository.

In addition to hosting digitized archival materials (including audio and video recordings), Digital Commons also hosts research authored by AUC faculty, staff, and students in addition to digital humanities projects. Currently AUC’s institutional repository hosts 35 digitized archival collections and over 13,000 other publicly accessible items, with over 270,000 downloads recorded this year. The Digital Services Department also hosts several open access journals published by AUC institutions, including Spelman’s Continuum, Morehouse’s Challenge, Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, and CAU’s Endarch. DSD staff is more than happy to work with you on hosting your content in AUC Woodruff’s institutional repository.

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AUC faculty and library staff learn about Digital Commons.

New to AUC Woodruff’s Digital Commons repository is “Our Story: Photographs and Publications of the Atlanta University Center”. With funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), “Our Story” is the result of a two and a half year collaboration between the AUC Woodruff Library, the Spelman College Archives, and the Digital Library of Georgia. The goal of the collaboration was to broaden access to unique publications, periodicals, theses, dissertations and photographs that document the history of the various institutions which make up the Atlanta University Center. You can find out more about “Our Story” in the webinar, “Revealing Hidden Collections: The Our Story Digitization Project at the Atlanta University Center”.

GLAM Museum Education Curator Attends DLF Forum

Martina Dodd, AUC GLAM Museum Education Curator, received a Digital Library Federation HBCU Fellowship to attend this year’s DLF Forum!  She wrote about her experience for the DLF blog:

“Through a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the AUC established the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning last year to introduce faculty to object-based pedagogical models and visual thinking strategies to stimulate cross disciplinary teaching and learning.  A major part of this initiative has been to increase visibility, discoverability, and usage of the archival materials and artworks from Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, and the AUC Archives Research Center, through the creation of our digital portal (which launched earlier this year). Hearing about the creation of a digital platform for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum which allows students to actively engage with artifacts and original historical documents related to the Holocaust has inspired me to think even more creatively in how the GLAM Center Digital portal (http://glam.auctr.edu/) can act as a digital teaching and learning tool.”

To read more of her reflections head to the DLF blog, https://www.diglib.org/fellow-reflection-martina-dodd/.

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GLAM Workshop Recap: Partnering With the Archives at the AUC

The Atlanta University Center is fortunate to be home to both the Spelman College Archives and the Robert W. Woodruff Library (RWWL) Archives Research Center. Earlier in October, GLAM held our third Faculty Development Workshop of the fall semester on partnering with the archives at the AUC. Spelman College Archivist Holly Smith and RWWL’s Public Services Archivist Tiffany Atwater Lee led an informative discussion on collections held by each institutions and ideas for incorporating archival materials into coursework at the AUC.

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Holly Smith and Tiffany Atwater Lee explain the importance of incorporating archives into the curriculum.

Participants learned about the history and collections of Spelman and RWWL’s Archives in addition to the special services that each institution offers to faculty. To illustrate the dynamic ways archival materials can be brought into the classroom, Ms. Smith and Ms. Atwater Lee discussed assignments prepared in consultation with AUC faculty as well as past collaborations with institutions outside of the AUC. Spelman has collaborated with Emory University on the course, Writing Themselves Into Existence, which focused on black women writers and both Spelman and RWWL have collaborated with Georgia State University on the course Going Steady: Documenting the History of Dating in American Culture, 1940-1990.

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Faculty and RWWL librarians learn about using archival materials in the classroom.

If you’re an AUC faculty member interested in incorporating archival materials into your classroom, reach out to us for a consultation. To collaborate with RWWL’s Archives Research Center, contact Tiffany Atwater Lee at tatwater@auctr.edu or GLAM’s Museum Education Curator at mdodd@auctr.edu. For more information on the Spelman College Archives, contact Holly Smith at hsmith12@spelman.edu.

Recap of Object Based Learning Workshop with Clark Atlanta University Art Museum

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Workshop participants get an up-close view of artwork from the CAU Art Museum collection

We kicked off this semester’s first GLAM Faculty Development Workshop in Clark Atlanta University Art Museum’s object study classroom on August 20th.  The museum’s newly created object study classroom is the perfect setting for close study of art works from the permanent collection that are rarely seen or exhibited.  Dr. Maurita Poole, Director of Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, facilitated an insightful discussion on the creative process of two artists represented in their permanent collection. AUC faculty from multiple disciplines closely examined Roy DeCarava’s Pickets alongside Atlanta-based photographer Shelia Pree Bright’s photographs of protests in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to consider how artists record and depict important current and historical events.   Although DeCarava is most widely known as a photographer, the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum’s collection holds one of his earlier works on paper – a seriograph of two men walking a picket line.

“Eyes on the Prize”, other documentaries available for streaming through AUC Woodruff Library

If you’re eagerly anticipating poring over the sources listed in the LibGuide companion to our upcoming voting rights exhibit, an excellent resource to hold you over is the award-winning PBS documentary series, “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement”. Originally aired in 1986, the 14 part series is narrated by the late Julian Bond and features a treasure trove of archival footage and interviews with the leaders of the Civil Rights movement, including John Lewis, Andrew Young, Coretta Scott King, and many more. The emotionally-charged series traces the Civil Rights movement from its early days of the Montgomery bus boycott and the national reaction to the murder of Emmett Till to the election of Chicago’s first black mayor in the 1980s. Documentary films can make excellent sources for your research papers, and the heavy reliance on primary source material in “Eyes on the Prize” makes it a superior resource on understanding the Civil Rights movement in America.

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GLAM Center staff is always on the lookout for great resources, and while conducting research for our upcoming voting rights exhibit, we were thrilled to find that this documentary series was made available through the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library’s Kanopy database. Kanopy is an on-demand streaming platform offering a large collection of award-winning films and documentaries. In addition to documentaries on a wide variety of subjects, Kanopy also streams a great selection of classic and modern films in genres ranging from comedy to horror, making it a great option for when you’ve managed to watch everything on your Netflix queue! The best part of all is that Kanopy is 100% free of charge; you only need to sign in with your Woodruff Library login to access hundreds of great videos!

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Once you’ve watched all the great documentaries Kanopy has to offer on the struggle for voting rights in America, stay tuned for the opening of our voting rights exhibit at the Woodruff’s Archives Research Center (and its digital companion at http://glam.auctr.edu/) in early October!

-written by Gayle Schechter, GLAM Digital Exhibitions Coordinator