Student Researches Photography Exhibit

UNI student Jackson Miller, of Waterloo, recently completed a service project for the Garnavillo Historical Society.  Jackson, who is enrolled in the UNI History Department’s Public History Field Experience course (a service learning program for history majors) chose the Garnavillo Museum’s “Photography Exhibit Research” as his 2021 spring semester project. 

Professor Barbara Cutter, associate professor in the UNI History Department, solicits service opportunity projects from museums, historical sites, and organizations for public history field experiences.  The students pick the service opportunity they would like to do.  They are then responsible for meeting with the service organization’s project supervisor to work out a “contract” covering project expectations and dates for on-site work, update reporting, and final project review, approval, evaluation and grade.  Students must log their time and are expected to spend at least 15 hours on the project. 

Vintage cameras and the history of photography and print mediums was the focus of Jackson’s Garnavillo project.  Jackson stated his keen interest in photography drew him to choose Garnavillo’s project.  Plus, with the project being research, it lent itself well to being done remotely during these covid times.  Jackson’s supervisor for the project was Garnavillo Historical Society member Jane Thein.  “I emailed pictures of the exhibit items to Jackson and then he would do the research.  We met several times over zoom where he’d share his findings and update his status.  Jackson was great to work with and his enthusiasm for the subject was contagious!”

The UNI Public History Field Experience program is valuable in providing service and learning experiences to young adults while introducing them to historic treasures in the state of Iowa, and providing a source of help and skills to our service organizations.  The Garnavillo Historical Society has worked with students in UNI’s Field Experience program since 2017.

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