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Before We Were Us, We Were Them: Curating Controversy

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Prompted by the passage of Alabama House Bill 56, I organized the museum studies course I taught for Auburn University at Montgomery in the 2013 spring semester around an exhibition on immigration. The course offered the opportunity to engage students, faculty, and the community in discussion of an important, timely, and controversial topic.

Collaborating with an upper-level communications course and funded by a School of Liberal Arts Community Outreach Grant, the class designed and curated “Before We Were Us, We Were Them: Immigration and Alabama,” which was exhibited on campus to coincide with AUM’s Diversity Week, 22–26 April 2013. This article outlines the successes and failures of the project, including issues associated with teaching and presenting a controversial topic, working within a limited budget to curate historical objects, collaborating with others, and engaging the community.

You can download the guide here.