Students from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School are the latest guest curators to open an exhibit in the Spotlight Gallery at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Students from Corinne Kurtz’s Women’s Studies class have spent months studying the history of female criminal activity on the Island, and they will debut their work in the form of an exhibit entitled Women and Crime: Victims and Perpetrators, according to a press release.
Initially, the students went to the museum to research criminal records from 1790 through 1840. They spent a good amount of time cross-referencing the museum’s archives with court records from the sheriff’s office. During their research, students explored topics such as racism, sexism, and domestic abuse linking each to contemporary topics.
“This exhibit is an excellent example of multi-disciplinary education,” said Museum education director Ann DuCharme, in a press release. “As students reflected on the broader issues of the human condition in society today, they uncovered the roots of biased thinking in the past.”
This is the second collaboration between the museum and one of Ms. Kurtz’s classes. Early last year, her Sports in America class presented the history of sports on the Island in the same gallery space. “From an educator’s perspective,” Ms. Kurtz said, “this type of authentic learning experience is very special and, sadly, very rare. I had no idea that it would be such a success. The students were flexible and so willing to take it on. They were enthusiastic throughout the entire process.”
In addition to learning about the history of women and crime, students were taught about what makes a good exhibit. They learned how to write blocks of words for the exhibit walls that tell the story of their research. They also refined caption labels to make them short enough to convey the essence of their story.
Women and Crime: Victims and Perpetrators Reception, Monday, May 19, 5–7 pm, M.V. Museum, Edgartown. Free. Exhibit runs through June 1. For more information, call 508-627-4441 or visit mvmuseum.org.