Way back in my youthful days of last fall, I drafted a label for an exhibit as part of “Managing History” the introduction to Public History course at Temple University. I wrote about the process here on my blog, and then promptly forgot about it. A few weeks ago, I was reminded of that little label I’d written when I was invited to a sneak peek of the exhibit (“World War I: USS Olympia”) as it opened at the Independence Seaport Museum. While the label had gone through quite a bit of work since I’d been involved, I saw vestiges of my work in the final product.
Since the photo isn’t very clear, here’s the text on the left portion of the panel:
World War I was the first war to feature photography on the front lines. The photographs provided sailors with tangible evidence of their experiences of war.”
For comparison, here’s my second draft of the label with the sentences that (I think) most survive emphasized:
“World War I was the first war to feature cameras on the front lines. The Kodak Brownie (1900) had popularized snapshots, and the Vest Pocket Autographic (1914), also from Kodak, was even more portable. The photos that came back from battles were powerful. Many countries hired official photographers to show the heroic images they wanted their citizens to see and forbade soldiers and sailors to carry cameras. However, in remote parts of the war, soldiers and sailors often served as unofficial war photographers for their nations.”
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the exhibit and encourage you all to check it out! For more (better) photos of the exhibit, check out the Seaport Museum’s Facebook page!
Sources for my label: