History of OSU Art Exhibitions
This online history of exhibitions at Oklahoma State University is a digital history project led by Associate Professor Louise Siddons in her Fall 2020 History of American Art course, with the assistance of Digital Scholarship Librarian Megan Macken, who built the database underpinning the site and ran virtual training workshops. Students used the digitized archive of the Daily O'Collegian, the student newspaper, to construct a database of exhibitions held between 1960 and 1999. Each record includes a link to the archival source, as well as a description of the exhibition and records for people—artists, organizers, and more—associated with the exhibition. The database that the students built also documents exhibition locations, helping us build a better understanding of how and where art has appeared on and off campus over the course of the institution's history.
It is our hope that students in future courses will continue to build this resource, and that the database will expand to include more archival resources. In Spring 2021, for example, we are collaborating with the Gardiner Art Gallery's internship program to augment this database with Gallery archival materials.
Oklahoma State University began collecting art in the 1920s, and had been teaching art and architecture even earlier. From the beginning, exhibitions were a key component of the university's land grant mission, sharing faculty and student research, as well as the work of artists from beyond campus, with both campus and community audiences. Exhibition organizers often invited artists to campus, enriching the campus with participatory programs and lectures.