The graduate program in museum studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Design and Syracuse University Rowing have collaborated on a new display at the historic James A. Ten Eyck Memorial Boathouse that celebrates the athletic program’s more-than-century-long history as well as important milestones for the team. The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversaries of the 1978 men’s IRA Championship eight crew and the founding of the women’s rowing program at the University. To commemorate this landmark year, Head Coach David Reischman and Associate Athletics Director Morey Mossovitz reached out to Professors Andrew Saluti and Emily Stokes-Rees in museum studies to brainstorm the possibilities of the unique athletics/design partnership.
“From a curatorial perspective, this project could not have been more ideal for our students,” says professor Stokes-Rees. “To be presented the opportunity to explore largely untouched primary source collections, University Archives, and then choose objects, interview some key figures in the Club’s history and develop and write the story of SU Rowing – it’s a curator’s dream.”
The ensuing collaboration involved multiple courses taught in the Spring 2018 semester in the museum studies program. Stokes-Rees utilized the opportunity to engage her Historic Curatorship students with more than a century of artifacts and archival collections, making selections from materials both at the Ten Eyck Boathouse as well as at University Archives in order to tell the story of rowing at the University. Saluti seized the opportunity to use the project as a non-traditional exhibition design assignment for his Museum Graphics class, which created 3D digital models and graphic layouts for the proposed installation.
“The space at the SU Boathouse presented multiple design challenges,” explains Saluti, “but the students, working closely with their colleagues in [Stokes-Rees’] curatorship class, proposed what would become a very engaging and dynamic installation, one that we hope will educate and inspire future athletes and visitors alike.”
The exhibition was installed by Saluti, Stokes-Rees and museum studies graduate students and faculty in conjunction with the sixth annual “Evening at Ten Eyck” celebration on Sept. 15. The display at the Ten Eyck Boathouse, located in Liverpool, N.Y., at the northern crest of Onondaga Lake, will be open to public view during home race events.
“It was an absolute honor to collaborate with the museum studies program on this project,” says Reischman. “The students were very passionate, professional and thorough as they worked through the research and design phases. We were amazed at their efforts to capture the spirit of our program and the depths to which they dug, including in our boathouse attic, to find the right materials.
“Our alumni and student-athletes were blown away by the finished exhibit—it adds a unique feature and ‘wow factor’ to our boathouse.”