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From 'High School' Hallway to 'Corridor of Knowledge'
Hillyer College Dean David Goldenberg said he hopes the new historical retrospective on the first floor of Hillyer Hall will give students new insights into the issues and events of the last half-century.
Hillyer College faculty member John Seddon plans to incorporate the historical retrospective into student assignments. He is pictured looking at a print of the U.S. Constitution from 1790 and an article on Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
On June 22, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered at Hillyer Hall to celebrate the removal of the old lockers from a first-floor corridor and the installation, in their place, of a retrospective of historical and cultural milestones of the past 50 years. The retrospective includes framed photographs, posters, magazine clippings and memorabilia documenting a wide range of issues and events, from the first manned space flight in 1961 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Each item is accompanied by a museum-style description, written by Hillyer College faculty members, that explains the significance of the event.
Guests at the June 22 reception said the transformation of the hallway is a welcome change. It not only makes the building look more sophisticated, they said, but it will give students a window into the second half of the 20th century.
“What we really hope is that students will use this ‘Corridor of Knowledge’ to learn about the last half-century of history, and that they will carry that into the classroom,” said Hillyer College Dean David Goldenberg.
John Seddon, an adjunct faculty member in philosophy at Hillyer College, plans to incorporate the historical retrospective into student assignments. “It’s not just a wonderful display, it’s a tremendous teaching tool,” Seddon said. “It will help students to understand their own views of America and gain new insights into themselves.”
Tony Giorgio, who taught economics at Hillyer (then called the College of Basic Studies) from 1971 to 1976 and went on to serve as a University administrator, said the display also provides some important perspective for older generations.
“Even those of us who have lived through these events tend to forget them because we’re such a ‘now’ generation. There are so many things that we take for granted that did not exist even 10 years ago, let alone 50 years ago,” Giorgio said.
Standing between a print of an Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe on one side of the hallway and a display about former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir on the other, Giorgio noted that the hallway exhibit strikes a nice balance between history and pop culture.
The events that are chronicled in the corridor were identified by Hillyer faculty, staff, and students as having influenced their lives, and many of the items on display were donated by faculty and staff. Themes that run through the exhibit include space exploration; racial, ethnic, and religious conflict; revolutionary changes in technology; and pop culture through the decades. Among the items on display is an original poster advertising the 1969 Woodstock festival and a piece of the Berlin Wall.
The renovations to Hillyer Hall were made possible thanks to the generosity of Neal and Linda Goldman and the University of Hartford Parents Association.