Holy Cross To Spend a Night at the Worcester Historical Museum

November 16th, 2016 by 

50 Objects exhibit
A program from the 1964 Holy Cross commencement, which features President Lyndon B. Johnson as the commencement speaker. Photo by: Stephanie Yuhl

On Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5:45 p.m., the College of the Holy Cross community will be celebrating “Holy Cross Night at the Museum” at Worcester Historical Museum. The event, which is a part of the museum’s “Worcester in 50 Objects” exhibit that opened on Oct. 27, 2016, is a private viewing of the exhibit for the Holy Cross community. The exhibit is sponsored by the Rockwell Foundation, the College of the Holy Cross, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

The “Worcester in 50 Objects” exhibit, on display in the museum’s Booth Gallery, features 50 items that tell Worcester’s many stories that celebrate the city’s collective past. Over several months, local residents contributed suggestions of objects or places that represented their particular Worcester story. A panel of community volunteers participated in selecting the final 50 objects for display.

Stephanie Yuhl, professor of history at the College, served as guest curator for the exhibit and chair of the community selection panel. Yuhl, a pubic historian who lives in Worcester, described the community-based exhibit process as “a way for Worcester’s diverse populations to see themselves in the city’s history.”

“It’s about ownership,” she said. “Ordinary people make history. Once you see yourself in the larger story, hopefully your sense of civic engagement grows.”

Gabby Grilla ’19, a history major, conducted research for the exhibit with support from the College’s Summer Research Program. Under Professor Yuhl’s mentorship, Grilla spent two months learning more about select objects and interviewing many of the individuals whose submissions were included in the final exhibit. Her goal was to gather community voices through in-depth personal narratives that explained why a given object held so much meaning to the person who submitted it.

Several of the displayed items have Holy Cross connections. John Vo ’09, who runs Nine Dot Gallery on Main Street in Worcester, loaned his varsity letter from his years of running track at North High School; Thomas Doughton, senior lecturer with the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at the College, submitted a regalia costume from the Nipmuc Nation that his grandfather wore; Patrick Diggins, the women’s rowing coach, shared an old wooden oar from rowing teams of years past that signifies the importance of Lake Quinsigamond in the city’s history. The exhibit also includes a ticket and program from the 1964 Holy Cross commencement that featured President Lyndon B. Johnson as speaker. Other objects in the exhibit include a replica of Robert Goddard’s first successful rocket launch in 1926, the key to the tomb of Revolutionary War-era printer Isaiah Thomas, the sign for Coney Island Hot Dogs, and Abby Kelley Foster’s Anti-Slavery Society medal.

“We were intentional about diversity when selecting items for the exhibit,” said Yuhl. “We wanted to capture the broadest snapshot of the many communities and stories that make up Worcester.”

The exhibit will be on display until March 17, 2017. Worcester Historical Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For additional information, please contact Jessica Kennedy at 508-793-2419.

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