As I began thinking about how to create an exhibit that would allow me to use my creativity as an expression of gratitude for what a gift this experience has been for me, and for the gifts that have been bestowed to our communities in greater Texas, I was overwhelmed by the immensity of conveying it all. So I chose instead of packing the small exhibit cases with every single high and low point, to primarily focus on the primary documents I encountered while exploring the materials from the Regional Foundation Library files. So much of HF history was reflected in these files, but when I first started processing them, many made no sense to me: why would there be so many papers relating to World War II, including the participation of women in the work force? Did the work of Dr. Bernice Moore with training Chaplains relate?
The inspiration I found to tie these links together came from a 1982 pamphlet, “Relatedness: Pearls on a String of Life” by Bert Kruger Smith, which I chose to make the title of the exhibit. I also used the pearls as a design element, hanging the title placard with a multi-colored strand, and a “pearl” graphic listing the Core Value demonstrated by these highlights of Hogg History. Though the pamphlet was about elders in the community being engaged with one another and their community, the sentiment it expressed was universal. The Hogg Foundation was established to create a legacy of compassion and education, and we, along with the state of Texas, are both beneficiaries and benefactors of that legacy. Linked together like a strand of pearls, collectively we build on that legacy with scholarship, research, and guiding principles of working for the greater good.
Choosing historical events to highlight was challenging. The foundation has packed a lot of action into its eighty years! So I chose to focus primarily on information I found while processing the material I had found while processing the Regional Foundation Library’s collections. I was not familiar with much of the foundation’s history, other than what I had read in Circuit Riders when I first started at The Hogg Foundation, and it was not until I started trying to incorporate materials into existing archival collections and categories that the way the materials belonged became apparent to me. For instance, there were many documents about women entering the workforce during World War II, some from as far away as the United Kingdom. What did this have to do with The Hogg Foundation? Well, it turns out that Sutherland’s Circuit Riders were an essential support network for communities in Austin and across Texas. Creating workshops, seminars and training sessions to help families, particularly women who were working for the first time outside the home. The assistance for communities who were dealing with the repercussions of a society at war was an incredible gift to Texans. Additionally, there were ripples of change that developed as a consequence of these workshops, including the 20 plus year program helping train military chaplains which was spearheaded by Bernice Milburn Moore.
Also found in the archives was a book titled “The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health: The First Three Decades.” Many personal, first-person narratives regarding those years were inside. These stories were gathered as a tribute to Dr. Sutherland, and were presented to him as a gift upon his retirement. Unfortunately, though the people who participated in the project are named, none of the stories is actually attributed to a specific author. It is a very short book, filled with heart-warming examples of the kind of community that was engendered during those decades.
I challenged myself to find ways to make the exhibit more dynamic and multi-layered to create visual interest. Using the technique of having the cards for display mounted on foam core, and building up layers by using fat double sided tape, I was able to stair-step some of the cards, and it created a new “flow” of information. Another challenge was working with new materials, including acrylic sheets (see pictures of the logo I created of Strategic Pillars and the modified Hogg Foundation emblem) as well as the use of transparent vinyl. The effect turned out beautifully, but had multiple unforeseen obstacles.