Traveling exhibit arrives in Pullman

Museum hosts historical images, shows 50 years of activism in the U.S.



Archeological Collections Manager Diane Curewit speaks about the “City of Hope” exhibit on Tuesday at the WSU Museum of Anthropology.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen reporter

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired U.S. residents to partake in social activism more than 50 years ago. A new exhibit celebrates his legacy for fall semester at the WSU Museum of Anthropology.

The poster series from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture takes visitors on a historical tour of activism in the late 1960s with an emphasis on the Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City.

Diane Curewitz, WSU archeological collections manager, said President Lyndon Johnson started the “War on Poverty,” but did not make the changes the Southern Christian Leadership Conference hoped for.

In response, the group held the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D.C. on the National Mall. 

The activists had permission to construct a “city,” Curewitz said. People from all over the country came to support the effort.

“It involved all kinds of groups: Native Americans, Latinx people, women, children, everybody,” Curewitz said.

She said the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service provided the materials for free for different organizations to display.

“We’re on their mail organization’s list,” Curewitz said. “Whenever they have these traveling exhibits, we can say, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’ ”

Pica Popenoe, freshman anthropology major, stumbled upon the new exhibit while searching for her anthropology class. 

“Exhibits like this allow people to connect to a culture, and it is very accessible,” Popenoe said. “You could even find a new passion.”

The posters feature historical images such as President Lyndon Johnson tackling social issues. Some programs that came out of the Johnson legislation was Head Start, school lunch programs and labor programs, Curewitz said.

“We still have some issues that people are dealing with,” she said. “It’s important to put things in perspective. What’s better now? What still needs work?” 

The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday during the fall semester. The Museum of Anthropology is located on the first floor of College Hall. Admission is free and open to all. The museum takes donations, if visitors are inclined to donate.