Willimantic CT- Eastern Connecticut State University students in art Professor Elena Varshavskaya “Museums and Exhibitions” course explored the various aspects of curating the exhibition, “Our Generation.” The exhibition is a multi-component exhibit, which students invited the Eastern community to view in Shafer Hall 211 from Dec. 2–16. Audience members reflected together on the Millennials, their values, their doubts and beliefs, aspirations, hopes and expectations.
The exhibition showcased hard work from the students as they learned about the history of museums and the strategies behind how museums are organized and presented to the public. “There were many writing assignments, including a large hypothetical museum research paper, which came out to 18 pages,” said student Jamie Belden. “A lot of classes were spent taking notes and learning about how to put together an exhibit. Professor Varshavskaya had an obvious passion for the material which made the class enjoyable.”
Students explored the theme of generation, wrote an exhibition proposal and created display objects while introducing all the elements in a series of essays. The end goal was to create their own exhibit for audience members to view. The students began planning their exhibit in mid-September. “I believe this was an invaluable professional experience that took education beyond the classroom,” said Varshavskaya. “Additionally, this was a group effort, so all students demonstrated their ability to work as a collective of responsible and critically thinking individuals. I am very impressed and satisfied with this year’s exhibition.”
Varshavskaya recognizes deadlines and motivates her students to get things done. She has previous experience working in a museum setting, which helped give her students real-world experience. “I am a professional art historian with a Ph.D. For more than 20 years I worked as a researcher and educator at one of the world’s most renowned museums, the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg, Russia,” said Varshavskaya. “I have been teaching a curatorial course at Rhode Island School of Design for the past several years. This was my first experience in teaching this course at Eastern, and I’m ecstatic with the overall outcome.”
The inspiration and promise from the students created this exhibit for the Eastern audience. The projects created were a reflection on our generation’s evolution. “I made a record player of cardboard and I thought it could act as a bridge between the generations that are all alive today,” said student William Speno. “I thought it would represent the beginning of musical recording compared to the way we listen to music today. It’s important to show where our generation has come from culturally and this was a perfect medium to show that aspect in our lives.”
About Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 158 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 20 other states and 63 other countries. A residential campus offering 38 majors and 55 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 27th top public university in the North Region, by U.S. News and World Report in its 2016 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded “Green Campus” status by the U.S. Green Building Council six years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.