Journeying with Journey Stories

The process of creating Journey Stories has been a journey in itself. The traveling exhibit, in development since October 2006, will hit the road in 2009 in Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. OEC is producing this exhibition for Museum on Main Street (MoMS), a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Journey Stories focuses on the mobile elements of American society. Regardless of their cultural backgrounds, all Americans have a story to tell of their own personal journeys or of their ancestors. The exhibition tells the story of migrations (both voluntary and forced) into and throughout the United States, the tenacity and creativity of transportation workers, and of development of the methods of transportation that our desire to explore demanded. The exhibit highlights people’s stories about picking up and moving somewhere else and of fun and frolic on the open road. Methods of transportation may have changed from the wagon to the train to the car, but Americans keep on moving.

OEC editor Angela Roberts and OEC designer Tina Lynch have been involved with the exhibit from the very beginning of the project. William Withuhn, curator of Transportation History at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) and curator for this exhibit, is writing the script, while the team from OEC and MoMS works to customize this content-rich exhibit for the needs of cultural organizations in rural communities. Our “journey stories” are told through audio and text quotes, compelling historic photographs and artwork, and reproduction objects and maps.  MoMS staff have been researching and gathering the components, as well as obtaining rights and permissions to use photographs from collections around the country.

Designer Lynch has converted several of the black and white photographs into colored duotones. This change from the original image gives visitors a new way to look at something familiar. Several of the photos used in the design, Lynch obtained using connections through friends of friends, which was a pleasant surprise in the design process. OEC graphics specialist Theresa Keefe works with Lynch to prepare the final high resolution images for printing.  Using Photoshop, she cleans up the images and makes corrections in the final color output.

OEC mountmaker Howard Clemenko is hard at work bracketing objects, and our crating specialist, Harry Adams, has made the necessary calculations to safely ship the entire show within strict shipping parameters.  Other modelmakers are experimenting with methods for encapsulating or replicating different materials, such as barbed wire and tobacco twists.

OEC has a long history with MoMS.  We’ve designed and produced all of their exhibits since 1994, starting with Produce for Victory and its award-winning design. 

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