Students, staff bring home the hardware from conferences
by Sara Sobota
Coastal Carolina University and the Horry County Museum won big at the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) held in Charleston on Oct. 21-23. Two exhibits rooted in CCU experiential learning, both currently on display at the Horry County Museum in Conway, earned silver awards at the professional conference, demonstrating how collaborative programming mutually benefits students, institutions, and the surrounding community.
“Rough Seas & Legacies: Stories of South Carolina Piracy,” produced by students and faculty in the Athenaeum Press, CCU’s student-driven publishing lab, won a 2019 Student Work in Museums (SWIM) award and silver in the Under $10,000 [overall budget] category. “Printing the Past: SC in 3D,” a product of a blended experiential learning class in history and anthropology, also won silver in the Under $10,000 category. Both multimedia exhibits feature artifacts, artwork, and interactive displays that tell compelling stories about area history.
Sixteen students from a variety of disciplines worked over two semesters to create “Rough Seas & Legacies,” an exhibit about the legacy of pirates along the coast of the Carolinas. Five of those students – Leah Alford, digital culture and design major; Abby Inman, graphic design major; James Pulley, graphic design major; Jordan Spirakis, English and visual arts major; and Sydney Watson, communication major – participated in a poster session and conference presentation as a component of the SWIM award. They were joined by Alli Crandell and Scott Mann, director and production manager of the Athenaeum Press, respectively, and Walter Hill, director of the Horry County Museum.
Crandell said the award offered important professional recognition for student work in the field of museum exhibition.
“It’s fabulous that the students were able to win an award for their work in partnership with the Horry County Museum,” said Crandell. “Students doing work for a public audience shows what they can do, what the Press can do, and how the process works in telling local stories. We’re really happy to have this opportunity.”
“Printing the Past: SC in 3D” was the product of two CCU experiential learning courses, both held in the Spring 2019 semester: Museums and Communities, taught by Katie Clary, assistant professor in the Department of History; and Cultural Resource Management, taught by Carolyn Dillian, chair and professor in the Department of Anthropology and Geography. The exhibit involved 3D replication of existing artifacts within the Horry County Museum in a fully sensory-accessible exhibit. Students conducted research, printed the artifacts, designed and installed the exhibit, and presented it to the public and members of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.
Clary and Dillian had the pleasure of informing students of the award.
“They were just over the moon,” said Clary. “It was exciting for them to see that the exhibit was being recognized by other museum professionals, and it’s also a great item for their resumes.”
Two students involved in the project, Victoria Peck, history and anthropology/geography major, and Morgan Condrey, history major, presented the exhibit that same week at the Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.
Hill said that collaborations between CCU and the museum have been taking place for about five years and expressed satisfaction that their quality is garnering regional attention.
“It’s very fulfilling to see that the projects and partnerships between the Horry County Museum and Coastal Carolina University, which we’ve been bragging about on state and regional levels, are now being recognized among this very diverse group of peers,” said Hill.
Hill added that this recognition confirms the mission of the museum and CCU in bringing people, learning, institutions, and the public together.
“It’s a mutual relationship,” said Hill, “in that the University is providing something to us, we’re providing something to the University, and in the long run, the community benefits from it.”
See “Printing the Past” from 2019 Tapestry