My classmates, Ellen and Megan, and I are using some of the skills and knowledge we’ve learned throughout the semester to develop a digital exhibit presenting the life of labor activist Mollie Lieber West.
The Mollie Lieber West Papers at the Women and Leadership Archives provide a great resource for an exhibit like this. Mollie West’s life has a very compelling narrative, full of romance, intrigue, struggle and inspiration. Mollie faced many struggles in her personal life, as well as in her professional career, yet she became an influential figure who fought for the rights of workers and women for nearly a century. The collection is filled with photos, objects, and documents that aid in telling the story in a visually appealing way. We are very excited to use this collection and share the fascinating story of one woman in the context of major historical events throughout the twentieth century.
We are creating the exhibit with the support of the WLA at Loyola University. We are fortunate to have the use of the LUC library server to support our Omeka exhibit. This gives us more options on plugins we can use to make a more dynamic exhibit.
The WLA currently has plans to use Mollie West’s collection as the center of a larger project centered on women in labor. Our goal is create an exhibit, along with the research performed to create it, that can be a starting point for the WLA’s future phases of the project. The WLA’s website, blog, and Facebook page will be used to promote the exhibit. The Loyola Libraries’ Facebook page often also shares important events at the WLA, broadening the audience throughout the University community. In the past, Trivia Tuesday post’s, which use an image to ask a question that followers can answer, have generated interaction on the WLA Facebook page. These types of posts could be created to ask trivia questions about the exhibit, and share “bonus” photos and information.
The Illinois Labor History Society will be another resource to promote the digital exhibit. Mollie West was a board member and fulltime volunteer for several decades, and the ILHS has shown great interest in WLA plans to promote the West collection. Although their Facebook page does not appear to have a large amount of interaction, it does have over 1,000 followers who will likely be very interested in the subject. I expect that the ILHS will gladly promote the exhibit throughout their own networks.
My group is in a great position, as we are able to work closely with the WLA after we complete our project. We can use the Archives social media resources to begin sharing our exhibit with large audiences.