Graduate student Antje Gamble curates Mine More Coal exhibition as part of Mellon fellowship
As the 2013-14 Andrew W. Mellon UMMA-History of Art Curatorial Fellow, Antje Gamble participated in a number of curatorial and museum education projects. The fellowship, a collaboration between the U-M Museum of Art and the Department of History of Art, made possible by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, helps to train U-M history of art graduate students in the museum field. Gamble's time at UMMA included presenting at K-12 teachers training programs, docent training, and research and writing text for the Three Michigan Architects exhibitions.
Her major project, however, was curating the exhibition Mine More Coal: War Effort and Americanism in World War I Posters (May 9–September 20, 2015), an exhibition of WWI posters from the UMMA collection. "With over 250 works to choose from, I wanted to look beyond the canonical posters, like James Montgomery Flagg’s poster of Uncle Sam saying 'I Want You'," Gamble explained. "Instead, I focused on a seemingly innocuous group of posters which spoke to consumers and producers of coal. Coal mining communities became a microcosm of the economic and cultural battles that occurred in the United States at the start of the Great War."
Gamble gained real hands-on experience as curator, and was involved in every aspect of the planning and execution of the exhibition, from idea to installation. "Through my fellowship at UMMA, I gained a number of important skills—both expected and not—from hands on curating to experience in diverse research practices," she said. "It also gave me a better sense of the important scholarly work being done at museums and how they are at the fore of connecting the wider public to leading academic research on art and history."
Read about the Mine More Coal exhibition.