Annual Interpretive Museum Project Exhibition to Take Place on May 7

The 2023 Interpretive Museum Project Exhibition is coming up for students at PHS; it will be on May 7.

This year’s museum project marks the project’s twentieth anniversary, but that is not the only thing making this year special. The theme is “Chicago: The Second City’s First Century and the Making of Modern America,” which offered many different subjects and projects for the students to choose from.

“This year’s show has tremendous potential to make a significant impact on those who visit. The theme not only unifies the exhibits but has the ability to develop a deeper understanding of how America has come to be the nation. I am really excited about how the students are doing what is considered the cutting edge of the history profession, the ability to examine the larger historical narrative by focusing on the smaller stories. Chicago offers a microcosm of the much larger story of America, partly because it is a city that grows up with the nation. In addition, we are attempting a more immersive experience for museum-goers this year, which is both exciting but also a bit daunting for a group of high school students,” said Advanced U.S. History teacher Chris Lindley.

Along with the twentieth anniversary, this year will also mark the biggest museum project. There are a total of 34 students participating this year. All of the students participating are in Lindley’s US History Honors class.

“It is enormous! I think the largest show we have had before is 26 students. This one is so large we are going to have to spill over into the gym. I am excited but also apprehensive. In the past I have been very hands-on with the students as they create the exhibits, even getting into the actual construction, but with 34 students I cannot physically be able to help everyone,” said Lindley. “Also, the logistics-judges, awards, layout, programs-is more time-consuming this year. Of course, no matter the size of the show, I am always nervous during the last week!”

Along with the enormous size of this year’s project, there will also be a new type of presentation. One of the participating students, junior Willson Windhorst, will be playing in a AAU basketball tournament the weekend of the event. Since Windhorst will not be available in person the day of the museum, he will be joining the rest of his classmates through a virtual interview.

The students will be evaluated by a panel of judges, which will be revealed the day of the museum. They will determine the awards such as the “Best of Show,” which is sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society.

Another award which is given is the “People’s Choice” Award. This award is awarded to the student who gets the most votes by the public who come to the event. Each guest will receive a ballot, where they are able to vote for their top three favorite exhibits.

“We have a number of sponsors who are very supportive of the students’ efforts, and I very much appreciate their willingness to add a financial benefit to the hard work it takes to put together a first-class exhibit. The Orange County Historical Society has been our consistent partner since we started awarding monetary prizes in 2016. The Lost River DAR has been a faithful partner for a few years, and this year we are adding Jamey Sullivan Financial Services as a sponsor,” said Lindley.

This year’s museum project will be on May 7. The exhibits will begin being judged at 2 p.m., but the public is not allowed in at that time. Since the project is so large this year, extra time is needed for the judges to be able to get to each exhibit. The exhibits will be open to the public from 3-5 p.m.; during that time the awards will also be given out.