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For All the World to See: UMBC's Traveling Exhibition Takes the Story of Visual Culture and Civil Rights Across the Country

Maurice Berger at Exhibit
Curator Maurice Berger viewing work in the installation of For All the World to See at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 8 June 2011. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, 2011

For All the World to See, explains Maurice Berger, research professor at UMBC, "is the first comprehensive museum exhibition to explore the historic role played by visual images in shaping, influencing, and transforming the fight for civil rights in the United States." The exhibition demonstrates the ways in which the rise of the modern civil rights movement paralleled the birth of television and the popularity of picture magazines and other forms of visual mass media, and shows how efforts to combat racism and segregation were waged not only with fiery speeches and nonviolent protests but also, significantly, with pictures, forever changing the way political movements fought for visibility and recognition.

Berger, the exhibition's curator, spent years painstakingly acquiring the hundreds of items on display, including posters, photographs, graphic art, magazines, newspapers, books, pamphlets, political buttons, comic books, toys, postcards, and clips from film, newsreels, and television, all of which collectively tell a powerful and moving story. "I wanted things that were part of everyday life," he remarks.

Organized by UMBC's Center for Art Design and Visual Culture in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, For All the World to See exemplifies UMBC's commitment to excellence in the arts and humanities. With major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a companion book published by Yale University Press, and a national tour and online component, the exhibition will enrich the lives of thousands of people over for years to come.

For All the World to See has received significant attention from national media, including National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, WNET/THIRTEEN, The New Yorker and CNN. Maurice Berger received a curatorial Award for Excellence, "Outstanding Exhibition in a University Art Museum 2010," from the Association of Art Museum Curators in a ceremony on Monday, May 16 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

National Tour

The exhibition, which opened at the International Center of Photography in Manhanttan, has embarked on a national tour. After its inaugural display in New York from May 21 to September 21, 2010, For All the World to See traveled to the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago from January 17 to May 15, 2011. It opened at the Smithsonian National Musuem of African American History and Culture's gallery at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., on June 10, where it will remain on view through November 27.

Additional tour venues include:

UMBC's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture - November 2012 to March 2013

The Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts - April to July 2013

Additional dates will be announced.

NEH on the Road

For All the World to See has been selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities as the next exhibition of the NEH on the Road initiative, which provides funding for a compact version of the exhibition to tour the country for an additional five years. The initiative supports wider national access to the ideas, themes, and stories explored in major exhibitions funded by the Endowment.

The Book

Published by Yale University Press, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights has received consistent high marks and accolades. The book was named an Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association and was a finalist for the Benjamin Hooks National Book Award.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, stated, "Even 'unforgettable' images such as those contained in this project can be forgotten if they are not part of a public and highly visible record. With this tremendously important book, Maurice Berger has ensured that these powerful, affirming, and harrowing images will remain central to the story of this country's furious and joyful struggle for civil rights."

Learn More about the Exhibition

For All the World to See home page:
http://www.umbc.edu/cadvc/foralltheworld/index.php

For All the World to See online exhibition:
http://www.umbc.edu/cadvc/foralltheworld/intro.php

For All the World to See companion book published by Yale University Press:
http://www.umbc.edu/cadvc/foralltheworld/book/

For All the World to See Online Film Festival:
http://www.umbc.edu/cadvc/foralltheworld/film/index.php

For All the World to See's home page at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture:
http://nmaahc.si.edu/section/programs/view/38