Last month, I got to help Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts from the surrounding area earn a badge through a visit to the UNI Museum. We started our day with a tour through one of our exhibits that opened last fall: Right Side Up: The Art and Life of Herb Hake. The girls particularly enjoyed Hake’s drawing, “The Iowa Farmer”. Herb Hake was known for his radio broadcasted and televised history lessons and the drawings that he created to help teach said lessons. Hake would draw an element on the piece of paper while relating it back to the part of the story he was sharing and would then build the picture as the story progresses. As the story developed, so did the picture. At first glance you can recognise the sketch as one of a person, but upon further inspection you might find a few hidden vegetables and grains.
Using Herb Hake as our inspiration, the girls created their own story and picture (or comic) of what it would be like to live as a student at Iowa State Teachers College, a predecessor of UNI. In pairing with Rod Library’s Special Collections, the scouts were able to read memoirs and biographies, see photographs and documents, and handle scrapbooks and objects, all of which pertained to the history of ISTC. After conducting research, we took to the scholarspace to create our comics.
Leading up to this day, I used the University Archives, Special Collections, and Museum to research local and state history, to better assist the Scouts in their research. Then, I compiled a list of stories and memoirs that I thought would help give the girls inspiration if they ever got stuck in a rut. After doing this, I searched for items within the UNI Museum and Special Collections that either tied into the stories I compiled or would give more insight as to what it was like to live on campus at ISTC. I had so much fun working with Museum staff and Jaycie Vos of Special Collections to bring this event together. After guiding the girls through the research process and helping them find a direction for their comics, I got to see the imagination and creativity of these girls come to life on the page, and that was perhaps my favorite part of the day. This was my first group event in my Educational Assistant position with the UNI Museum. By working on this, I was able to ease myself into the world of museum outreach. I can’t wait to work with other groups coming into the museum.