Learning about your heritage can be eye-opening. Hearing about the struggles, the victories, and the realities of generations of people who came before you can be a true source of pride.
Part of The Grace Museum’s mission is to preserve and share the history of people in our area. That means sharing people’s real stories – everyone’s stories. The museum wants its visitors to really enjoy learning about history and to be impacted by what they learn. Through exhibits and programs, the museum aims to facilitate ways for people with common cultures to feel a shared connection, and also to help people who come from different backgrounds understand one another better.
To help share these impactful stories, The Grace Museum decided to partner with history professors and history students from Abilene Christian University. During the spring semester, history professor and Director of Public History Dr. Amanda Biles challenged the students in her Introduction to Public History: Interpreting American Pasts course to research and write about various cultures. They had to design illustrative panels that would be publicly displayed in The Grace Museum’s history galleries.
The museum’s larger plan was to develop a full year’s worth of history exhibits. Eleven exhibits have been developed to highlight 12 different months of significance: International Holocaust Day, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Earth Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, Immigrant Heritage Month, Independence Day, National Back to School Month,
Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, and Universal Human Rights Month.
Each exhibit contains a history of cultural and social celebration in a broader global and American context. Each exhibit is also interwoven with narratives of individuals from Abilene and the surrounding areas to help tell the story of our diverse community.
“I applaud The Grace Museum’s effort to highlight Abilene’s communities of color, women, veterans, and other constituencies through this project,” said Dr. Kelly Elliott, chair of the Department of History and Global Studies at ACU, “and believe that the breadth of the proposed exhibition will draw a larger, more diverse cross-section of the Abilene and Big Country population.”
The Grace Museum would like to thank Dr. Amanda Biles, the students from ACU’s Public History course, Dr. Tracy Shilcutt, Maia Bell, Jane Tomlinson, Rev. Andrew Penns, the Curtis House Cultural Center, Mike Hernandez, and the Hispanic Heritage Display Committee for helping make this project a reality.
This program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Contributed By The Grace Museum