For the Spring 2023 semester, Auburn University students across four disciplines worked with The Jule to explore themes related to the exhibition Monuments and Myths: The America of Sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French. Throughout the semester, students visited the museum, discussed the exhibition alongside contemporary conversations around monuments, and engaged with curators from Chesterwood and Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, the historic homes, and studios of French and Saint-Gaudens.
Below are essays from students in one of the courses under the direction of associate professor Elijah Gaddis, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts.
Alabama’s monuments offer ways to remember and pasts to forget. Their origin stories are complex tales of local negotiation, regional trends, and shared national values. But their messages aspire to simplicity. These essays, from the course, Museum Practicum, taught by Associate Professor Elijah Gaddis, are about Alabama monuments and the histories they reveal and conceal. As a compilation, they serve as a selective primer to accompany the Monuments and Myths: The America of Sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French exhibition that will help you explore Alabama’s memorial landscape with new eyes and questions.
—Museum Studies Practicum Students
Dr. Elijah Gaddis