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SVC’s Fred Rogers Institute presents new exhibit: The archives grow with increased student involvement

By Brianna Saylor, News Editor

Originally Published November 7, 2023

The Fred Rogers Institute at Saint Vincent College (SVC) continues to honor Mister Rogers’ legacy by inspiring and cultivating new generations of educators and students–committed to imagining how to inspire children to thrive as confident, competent, and caring human beings.

Emily Uhrin, Senior Archivist for the Fred Rogers Institute, and Sarah Goehring, Director of Projects for the Fred Rogers Institute, discussed the new Fred Rogers exhibit, which is displayed at the Latrobe Arts Center until Nov.17.

The theme of the exhibit is Noisy and Quiet–which was inspired by a week of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The project was sponsored by a Humanities Research for the Public Good grant from the Council of Independent Colleges. Most notably, this project represents the combined efforts of students from last semester and this semester, whose collaborative work produced a unique exposition.

Last semester a group of students studied the ideas of noise and quiet from relevant work available in Fred Rogers Archive.

The Fred Rogers Institute sometimes shows visual depictions of (SOURCE: FRED ROGERS INSTITUTE WEBSITE)

“They started with the ‘Noisy and Quiet’ week of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood programs, and then really dove into Fred’s ideology and used resources from the archive and created a poster for the academic conference,” said Uhrin.

They looked at ‘Noisy and Quiet’ through the lens of education, psychology, and theology and presented that research last spring at the academic conference.

Uhrin explained that this semester, students worked on creating the exhibit, which would be the public-facing side of the project, and students selected items from the archive. She noted that while she helps with the initial curation of the project, she then gives students complete creative discretion, which allows them to explore things they find interesting and bring their own ideas together.

“Whenever we do exhibits like this, I’m always excited to see the students kind of take ownership of it and to really make it their own,” said Goehring. “This is the third consecutive year we have done an exhibit–students are all working with the same archive, and a lot of the students are the same students from year to year, but the exhibit always looks completely different.”

Ideally, they hope students continue to curate these projects and take an active role in developing more exhibits. Additionally, because of the growing selection of student exhibits, which are printed out on posterboard, they have been able to produce smaller productions from this collection, which has already been implemented for the most recent induction of Fred Rogers Scholars. These pop-up exhibitions are now possible because of the resources they currently have readily available.

Uhrin and Goehring spoke to their hopes for these exhibits to be part of an ongoing project; the goal is to continue doing at least one exhibit a year, but if it is possible to do more, that is something they want to pursue. The more exhibits they do, the greater the community involvement is because people know about it. They had a good turnout for the spring exhibit, and they are eager to see more of the community as the current exhibit runs through Nov. 17.

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