Fox Point Community History Project
Fox Point Community History Project & the ‘I WAS THERE’ Project:
Since 2008, students from the Brown Center for Public Humanities have worked with Professor Anne Valk on collaborative projects to preserve and present the cultural heritage and social history of the Fox Point neighborhood. An archival collection of oral history interviews with current and past residents has formed the basis for websites, exhibits, and public projects. Approximately 75 interviews are archived at Brown’s library and are available for use by community members, scholars, students, and teachers.
The Center’s staff and students also support a related undertaking, the I WAS THERE Project of the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point. I WAS THERE offers 3rd through 5th grade students an integrated arts and oral history program focusing on a different local theme each year since 2008. The project is coordinated through the elementary school, drawing on the expertise of teachers, visiting artists, and parents. Staff and students from the Center have served as project advisors, assisted in the classroom, curated exhibits for the school, and have helped plan and deliver professional development opportunities for teachers.
- To use Fox Point as a case study for public humanities students to learn oral history, public programming, exhibition, and other skills
- To provide students an opportunity to contribute to a collaborative community project that uses oral history and art to educate and inspire youth and local residents
- To engage members of Brown and Fox Point in dialogue about local history, collective memory, and the significance of the past to community development
- To create an archival collection of first-person accounts of Fox Point that document local history and can inspire future research and creative endeavors
Faces of Fox Point, an exhibit about life in the neighborhood, was curated and installed throughout the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School by public humanities students in 2009. The exhibit has been expanded by participants in the I WAS THERE project and remains a popular attraction in the school today.