This post descries my observations after visiting several Charlotte area museums with Virginia, Jackson, Safwan, Elias, Caroline, and Eva.
As the group of fellow humsters and I strolled through the Levine Museum of the New South and the Mint Art Museum, I noticed a theme that I didn’t expect to find in a museum: the integration of the present day into the displays. My pondering began with the exhibits on John Belk’s department stores and James Duke’s energy grid. I talked with Virginia about how frequently we encounter those names at Davidson and in our lives in general. The last exhibit in the museum was a modern, “living” exhibit with the stories of real people currently living in Charlotte. This exhibit showcased the many sides of Charlotte and the modern iterations of historical housing policy, zoning, and segregation. This was a unique and informative representation of how the past has molded the present, and one that I did not expect to encounter. Later in the Mint Art museum, there was an exhibit on ceramics. The exhibit hosted ceramics that are hundreds of years old as well as ceramics made by North Carolina artists a few years ago. The exhibit was titled “Asian Influence of North Carolina Pottery.” Even in this art museum, the past is colliding with the present to create the future. We typically think of museums as places of history where we marvel upon the events of the past. But, history and museums are not isolated to the past. The events and artifacts they hold have shaped our present and still permeate through society today. Our history is our future.