Williams Spaces, Places, and Names: A Williams Reads Exhibit and Pop-up

Mission Park, photograph, 1956. (Haystack Monument photograph files)

*On view beginning January 20th, 2022*

At Williams and other institutions of higher education, places, spaces, and names are not only historical objects, they are the interpretations they evoke in each one of us. The Williams Reads selected book, Ebony and Ivy written by Craig Steven Wilder, emphasizes that American colleges, in the way they use memory, are “not innocent or passive beneficiaries of conquest” and colonialism.

In this exhibit and pop-up, the Committee on Diversity and Community’s past subcommittee selected five places, spaces, and names at Williams: the Haystack Monument, the Blockhouse plaque, the “Written in Stone Project,” Griffin Hall, and Ephraim Williams Jr.. They then asked a group of students, alumni, staff, and faculty to write labels to accompany these objects. As a result, an archival image has multiple labels, each written from different vantage points and thus representing the complexity of personal experience and institutional memory.

This semester long exhibit will be located in Schow Gallery in Special Collections. Pop-up versions of the exhibit will be on view for a limited time on the main floor of Sawyer Library (near new releases) and Schow Library (near new releases).

Portion of the will of Ephraim Williams Jr., 22 July 1755. (Original housed at Hampshire Co. Probate Court, Northampton, MA)

We encourage feedback. Please write your thoughts about this exhibit and pop-up exhibit or reactions to Ephraim Williams, the Blockhouse plaque, Griffin Hall, the “Written in Stone Project.” or the Haystack Monument. Post-its and a board to stick them to are nearby. Your post-it can be anonymous if you like.  

Williams Spaces, Places and Names: A Williams Reads Exhibit is on view in Schow Gallery, Special Collections for the semester beginning, January 20th, 2022.

Williams Spaces, Places and Names: A Williams Reads Pop-Up Exhibit is on view in Sawyer Library and Schow Library beginning January 20th, 2022 until February 19th 2022.