Date of Award
Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
More than Meets the Ear: The Culture behind the Music is a traveling exhibit that was designed and created over more than a year's time at Utah State University's museum of anthropology. As one member of a team of interns, I helped decide on an exhibit focus, its audience, content, and design. We started from the ground up as inexperienced undergraduates under the tutelage of the museum's curator, Lara Petersen, and the museum's director, Dr. Bonnie Pitblado.
As the project gradually progressed and was honed to the subject of ethnomusicology, I took on the responsibility of the educational aspect of the exhibit. We had decided as a team that our audience would be middle and high school students since they had the least opportunity to visit the museum; elementary students came often on field trips. As an anthropology major, I did not know anything about how to go about creating an exhibit that would actually appeal to and teach adolescents. I spent hours reading books about education and was able to conduct an interview with Victoria Rowe, the Nora Eccles Harrison Art Museum's director. Since students all over the valley visit the art museum, she had experience in teaching all age groups. With research and her help, I was able to direct the creation of the exhibit so that it would appeal to and teach its audience.
I also received input from Cache Valley teachers. I designed and mailed a front-end analysis to the valley's schools. Teachers were able to make suggestions about the exhibit content as well as additional resources that they would like to travel with the exhibit. All of them agreed that they wanted additional resources so that they could incorporate the exhibit into their classrooms rather than just visiting it at their media center. I set about collecting information that would be useful for a wide variety of teachers-from the social studies teacher to the music teacher to the arts and crafts teacher. It was a rather challenging and ambitious endeavor but well worth the effort.
When the exhibit was finally completed-after midnight trips to Lowe's and midnight work sessions on campus during finals week-we held an open house at the anthropology museum, allowing teachers to preview the exhibit. Professors, students, and many government officials also came to the event. Planning the open house was a lot of work in itself. Thankfully, it was a great success. We had local musicians playing different music from around the world and several journalists reporting on the exciting event.
The best part, however, was the exhibit itself. It was a huge success. The area's teachers and students loved it! It traveled far longer than we had planned because more and more teachers kept requesting that it come to their school. We even received thank-you letters from students and teachers. To top it off, the exhibit had the privilege of being displayed at the state capitol building.
Now the ethnomusicology exhibit sits proudly in the anthropology museum after its successful tour. I visited it not long ago and could not help but feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Maybe I am overly sentimental, but I must admit that some tears came to my eyes as I thought of all my hard work, what became of it, and how I was able to contribute in a small way to the valley.
In this binder, I have included copies of the invitations we sent for the open house, the open house program, the exhibit introduction, photos of the exhibit and open house, newspaper articles written about the exhibit, and a reproduction of the teachers' packet that accompanied the exhibit. Unfortunately, due to the nature of some of the resources in the teachers' packet, not everything can be included.
Sant, Anita, "More than Meets the Ear: The Culture Behind the Music" (2005). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 809.
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David F. Lancy
Departmental Honors Advisor
David F. Lancy