Nov. 27, 2013
History students rephotograph city, campus for new exhibit
A new exhibit at the Nodaway County Historical Society created by Northwest Missouri State University history students provides a fascinating depiction of how some Maryville street corners, buildings and landscapes have changed during the course of a century or more.
The rephotography exhibit features historical photos from the collections of the Historical Society and University Archives alongside new images taken by Northwest students from the same vantage point as the historical photos.
The exhibit provides the community with a “now and then” look of Maryville and was a project of Northwest Assistant Professor Dr. Elyssa Ford’s public history course. The exhibit runs until Saturday, Dec. 7, at the museum, which is located at 110 N. Walnut, and is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
The project gave the students hands-on experience in finding clues and conducting research to learn more about a location’s past. It also incorporated photo technology and helped the students gain experience with organizing a museum exhibit.
“This is a project I thought would be really interesting for the students to do, and it’s something that would not be uncommon for them to do as public historians,” Ford said. “It gave them the opportunity to learn a little bit more about Maryville and the campus.”
Students were assigned a photo taken during the late 1800s or 1900s in the city of Maryville or on the Northwest campus. Students then identified the location of the photo and snapped a picture of the location as it appears today from the exact angle of the original photo. Each location is depicted in the exhibit as a series of three photos with the middle image showing a blend of the original image and the new image to highlight the location’s evolution.
“It was really interesting because as history is changing to be more modern, this was a very relevant project,” said Jennifer Sanders, a graduate student from Sheridan, noting the use of Photoshop software in the project. “It was a really good experience not only to try new technology but to learn some skills we can apply elsewhere.”
Some of the locations in the photos students received were tougher to pinpoint than others. The view looking east from the intersection of Main and First street now features a grassy field where the Maryville high school once stood, and newer buildings have replaced structures that occupied the corner in an original photo. Maryville’s Dairy Queen restaurant, however, hasn’t changed locations since it was built in 1952, but the building has expanded.
From the Northwest campus, the exhibit includes a historic photo of a grassy hill with train cars in the background, but the same location today is a parking lot filled with students’ cars. Bearcat Stadium also is featured in the photo exhibit, although it also has undergone dramatic changes since the Northwest football team began playing at the current site in 1913. Another photo shows the football team playing at the site of its original field behind the Administration Building.
“So many of the buildings are gone,’” Ford said. “When they go from here to their hometowns, they can compare how historic preservation has worked in other places. Students aren’t just doing the project and learning history, they get to learn about the way a place looks at and values historic preservation.”
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468