The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

April 18, 2009

Take a stroll through time with photo exhibit

By Rachael Gleason

A student civic organization at Sam Houston State University is offering a walk through history with its Huntsville Then and Now exhibit this month.

The exhibit is available through May 1 in the Lowman Student Center gallery, with a reception today from 4-6 p.m.

The Political Science Junior Fellows compiled the Huntsville Then and Now project to preserve the history of Huntsville, according to Mike Yawn, adviser and clinical assistant professor of political science.

“We try to create generational and geographic bridges, connecting people across the community,” he said.

The gallery also connects students to their adopted community, Yawn said.

The Junior Fellows partnered with Huntsville Main Street Program last year to produce the first exhibit, "University Corridor: Past, Present and Future,” which focused on the history of University Avenue.

Yawn said the gallery drew in more than 100 people, with appearances by eight of nine former Huntsville mayors.

To prepare for the 2009 exhibit, which illustrates the growth of 11th Street, Yawn and approximately six students sorted through thousands of old photographs and collected written and oral historical accounts to identify regions of interest.

Yawn said the group also set up recreated current versions of old photographs.

In one replication, a picture of the First Baptist Church’s current congregation imitates a 1921 portrait of the fellowship.

In all, the exhibit features more than 350 photographs ranging from the 1850s until the present.

Yawn said the exhibit is set up like a tour of the street. Each photograph includes a description, and students will be present to explain the history of some of the pieces.

“It’s just an interesting walk through history,” Yawn said.

The Junior Fellows started working on the Huntsville Then and Now gallery in November of last year.

Yawn said the project serves as an educational opportunity. In addition to learning various research methods, the students are introduced to architecture, art, photography and presentation techniques.

For more information, contact Yawn at (936) 294-1456 or visit the SHSU Web site at