Looks at Stereotyping
What do Currier & Ives prints, a Nazi flag, toy bowling pins, a vintage Cleveland Indians jacket and a Paul Laurence Dunbar poem have in common? They're all among the "difficult" objects from Ohio Historical Society collections featured in the new exhibit Controversy 2: Pieces We Don't Talk About at the Ohio History Center in Columbus through Dec. 30, 2012.
Sequel to Controversy: Pieces You Don't Normally See
Successor to last year's innovative exhibit Controversy: Pieces You Don't Normally See, which displayed Ohio's old electric chair, an early 20th-century Ku Klux Klan robe, a 19th-century sheepskin condom, a human cage once used in a state institution and a mitt designed to prevent children from sucking their thumbs, the new exhibit, Controversy 2: Pieces We Don't Talk About, features additional items from the society's collections that curators describe as "difficult," this time for their association with racial and ethnic stereotyping.
On display in Controversy 2 are Currier & Ives prints from the "Darktown" series stereotyping African Americans, described when they were published in the 19th century as "pleasant and humorous designs;" a red Nazi flag with a black swastika; an early 20th-century toy bowling set with pins that caricature people of various ethnicities and nationalities; a vintage Cleveland Indians jacket depicting team mascot Chief Wahoo as he appeared from 1947-1950; and a draft poem written in the early 1900s by African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar using a stereotypical African American dialect.
Complements Current COSI Exhibit
Asking questions about race and racial stereotyping from a historical perspective, the new Ohio History Center exhibit complements the exhibit RACE: Are We So Different?, on display at COSI Columbus through May 6, 2012.
As in the first Controversy exhibit, the objects are presented largely alone and with minimal interpretation – only a short label identifying them. For those who want it, more information about the objects is available in the final gallery, where visitors also have the opportunity to share reactions to the exhibit.
Free With Ohio History Center Museum Admission
Controversy 2 is free with Ohio History Center museum admission: $10/adults, $9/seniors (60+); $5/youth (6-12); Free/Ohio Historical Society members or age 5 and under. Museum hours are Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.