SIUE’s Louis Sullivan Exhibit

4 May

by Gemma Tennyson-

Some of the best things in life are always kept secret. That is how I feel about the Louis Sullivan exhibit tucked away on the second floor of the Lovejoy Library here on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. After viewing a small Sullivan exhibit in St. Louis that only included pictures, I realized that SIUE really has a hidden treasure. It houses one of the largest Sullivan ornamental architecture collections.

After being an undergraduate student for three years and using the library quite a bit I would think that I would have noticed the Sullivan exhibit, but it took a class assignment my first year in the museum studies graduate program to even know about the exhibit. This seems kind of odd that the university never had any advertising beyond a small sign on the first floor of Lovejoy Library. Why is this exhibit not advertised?

Last year the man who designed the exhibit came to a class that I was in to talk about the exhibit and answer questions. He explained all the work he put into the exhibit both researching and designing the text panels. He also told us of the expensive cost of putting up all the different ornaments as well as the text panels. All the time, effort, and money spent means little when there is no audience.

As someone wanting to be in the field of public history I find this quite troublesome. I think that the university should work on advertising for the exhibit. I know that is probably easier said than done, but it couldn’t hurt for professors to promote it during relevant classes or use it for an assignment. I also believe that there could be more public advertising off campus. The university could probably benefit from outside visitors coming to campus. Why keep such a unique collection for no one to know about?

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