History Museum’s Exhibit Wins National Awards

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The Greensboro History Museum’s Pieces of Now: Murals, Masks, Community Stories and Conversations has been selected by the American Association for State and Local History for two awards. The exhibit garnered an Award of Excellence plus a History in Progress Award. According to the AASLH these awards represent the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The History in Progress Award is an additional honor bestowed on an Award of Excellence winner whose nomination is highly inspirational, exhibits exceptional scholarship, and/or is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships, or collaborations, creative problem solving, or unusual project design and inclusiveness. Only two or three projects receive the History in Progress distinction each year. Pieces of Now focuses on racial reckoning and social justice issues during a time of pandemic. It opened to the public in September 2020.

Greensboro History Museum Director Carol Ghiorsi Hart said, “Pieces of Now was developed in response to the events of May and June 2020 and the community’s need to be heard. Museum staff began gathering stories and actively programming around our community’s response to the murder of George Floyd and continuing racial injustice. This included material culture related to the protests and large murals that went up in Greensboro. As we collected and talked to protesters, artists and business owners, it was clearly important to our African American community that they see these items on exhibit in the city’s history museum. We responded with Pieces of Now: Murals, Masks, Community Stories and Conversations.”

The museum staff has worked closely with members of the community, particularly artists, in a collaborative effort to collect and document this time for future generations and provide a place for community conversation. Pieces of Now is also a call to action for members of the community to add their voices and fill in the missing pieces of Greensboro’s story of the history that is happening now.

Museum Director Hart notes that, “This is a unique museum exhibition because it is in the moment, incomplete and with minimal interpretation. Visitors will largely see and hear the voices of the artists and participants. We are working with members of the community and our visitors, who are the experts of their own lives, to help us make sure we are capturing the current moment from a variety of perspectives.”

Pieces of Now remains on view until September 19, 2021. More about the exhibition and a virtual tour can be found online at https://greensborohistory.org/piecesofnow.

This year, AASLH conferred a total of thirty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States.

The Greensboro History Museum, an AAM-accredited Smithsonian Affiliate, is a division of the City of Greensboro Library Department and operates as a public-private partnership with the nonprofit GHM Inc. In partnership with the community, the Greensboro History Museum collects the city’s diverse history and connects people to that history and one another through engaging exhibits, educational programs and community dialogue. Located in Downtown Greensboro’s Cultural District, the museum is open Tuesdays–Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm and Sundays from 2 to 5 pm. Masks are required of all visitors. Admission is free. Learn more at www.greensborohistory.org.