From Litho Stone to Pentium Chip:
Exhibition Project for Gender Studies 103 (Spring ’98)
Interpreting Gender in U.S. World War I Posters
Description | Exhibition
Length, and Formatting of Text Panels
to Address in Your Text Panels
An exhibition entitled From Litho Stone to Pentium Chip: Interpreting
Gender in U.S. WWI Posters is presented in the Richard F. Brush Art
Gallery at St. Lawrence University from April 28 through June 8, 1998.
As part of the Gender Studies 103 class, each student wrote an exhibition
text panel to accompany one or more of the approximately 40 posters on
display in the hallway gallery and for a concurrent on-line exhibition.
This project is the first of its kind for the gallery in that students
were able to use the Web to access digital color reproductions of original
WWI posters that are part of the St. Lawrence University's permanent collection.
From there, they were also be able to refer to other digital and print
resources to help with their research.
The following was addressed to students in Gender Studies 103
as they were preparing their text panels, but others may find it useful
Exhibition Text Panels
An exhibition text panel shapes the way a gallery visitor understands
and relates to a work of art. We have already shaped the exhibition
to a certain extent, in that we are asking you to interpret the posters
by focussing on aspects of gender, though issues of race, ethnicity, and
class should also be addressed. A good text panel appears to have
been written effortlessly, yet undoubtedly it has been very well researched
and has gone through several revisions before it is installed on a gallery
wall. Your job is to prioritize and communicate a dense amount of
information (everything you think the viewer/reader "needs to know") clearly
and concisely. Be specific.
A good text panel also takes into account its audience; you want to
sound knowledgeable about your subject, but not write above or below the
level of your readers. We don't expect that you'll be able to address
all of the areas suggested below. You may choose to write about one
poster or compare and contrast two or more posters.
Title, Length, and Formatting of Text Panels
You must give your text panel a title (not the name of the poster)
and include your name(s) as author(s). Each panel should be 200-250
words. Cite your sources using MLA style. You can submit your
final text panel to Cathy Tedford electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gallery staff will format your text panels and mount them on foam-cor
for the exhibition.
Areas to Address in Your Text Panels
1. What are the main themes?
2. What is/are the message(s), both explicit and implicit?
3. Who is the intended audience?
4. What symbols and/or images are used to get the message(s) across?
Why have these particular images been chosen? What do they represent?
(For example, what backgrounds or environments are depicted - domestic
home scenes, battlefields, etc.?)
5. How do different images play off of one another?
6. What representations of masculinity and femininity are used?
Why? (For example, how is female patriotism differentiated from male
7. What is the relationship between written messages and pictorial
8. What is the race/ethnicity of the figures in the poster(s)?
What is the relationship between race/ethnicity and gender?
9. What is the class position of the figures in the poster(s)?
10. Briefly describe the historical/political context in which the
poster was made.
11. Include your own conclusions in your text panel based on the questions
February 12, 1998
||Guest lecture on gender and WWI era by SLU history professors
||Classes meet in gallery to discuss assignment and select poster(s)
||First draft of text panel due
||Final draft of text panel due
||Exhibition opens in the gallery and on-line
In addition to seeking input on your text panels from Professor Williams,
you are encouraged to contact the gallery staff and history professors
listed below. You will have the opportunity to revise your text panel,
and both drafts will be graded.
You can access the posters on the gallery's Web site at http://web.stlawu.edu/gallery/posters.htm.
Click on Gender Studies 103 and follow the instructions on the screen.
You'll get better reproductions of the posters if your computer has a screen
with high resolution; older computers are slower to load visual images
and the quality is much poorer. Try to use machines in the newer
labs on campus.
As you'll see, we have begun to compile a bibliography and list of useful
Web links for research purposes and would appreciate including your sources
(readings, Web sites, etc.) as part of this ongoing effort. This
project will continue to grow, and you can help make information about
the WWI posters available to your classmates and others for research and
class projects. Click on Contact Us!
and follow the instructions on the screen to e-mail us with your additions.
Additional Faculty/Staff Resources
Cathy Tedford, Gallery Director
Carole Mathey, Gallery Collections
Dr. Judy DeGroat, History
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