Welcome to Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature a Beinecke Library Exhibition & Public Humanities Experiment
This website documents a Spring 2021 public humanities workshop considering this unusual situation: your cultural institution plans a major exhibition from its permanent collections but there is a public health crisis that prevents you from welcoming visitors into the building. How do you make the most of the exhibition within necessary limits?
The workshop will take as its subject Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature, an exhibition I curated and organized from the Yale Collection of American Literature, and Imaginary Voyages, a small companion exhibition curated by Tim Young, Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts. Both exhibitions were scheduled to open in May of 2020 but were cancelled due to the COVID 19 campus closure. In the form of labels, lists, reference photos, and image galleries, this site includes all the available text and objects that were to have made up the in-person exhibition. Assembled in this way, these resources reveal the extraordinary collaborative effort involved in all Beinecke library public exhibitions.
In this space, using these resources and with the help of Beinecke Library curators, exhibitions specialists, and communications experts, a team of Yale graduate students will remake, reimagine, and expand Road Show. Participants will work with writing and research previously prepared for the in-person exhibition and planning tools created by Beinecke exhibitions staff; independently and in collaboration, they will conduct additional research, select new collection objects, create new texts, and organize new “micro exhibitions.”
This website, then, is a real-time experiment in pandemic-era public exhibitions. Visitors to these pages are invited to explore our work as it develops in the months ahead and to celebrate our work with us when participants make public presentations in the Mondays at Beinecke series on April 12 & 19.
Curator of Poetry, Yale Collection of American Literature
January 29, 2021
Shipboard photograph of Margaret Anderson, Louise Davidson, Madame Georgette LeBlanc, undated, Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson (YCAL MSS 265 box19 folder 340)
Participants in Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature – a Beinecke Library Exhibition & Public Humanities Experiment will be working with writing and research previously prepared by the curator of the in-person exhibition, collaborating with other members of the workshop on additional texts, and conducting their own new research. We will identify the work of contributors in various ways, honoring the contributions of individuals and the dynamic nature of collaborative projects. Guidelines for attribution and documentation for our projects can be found here: Road Show: Authorship Guidelines.