|Firefighters spray water on the Asch Building |
trying to put out the Triangle factory fire blaze,
March 25, 1911
Photo from ILGWU Archives,
Kheel Center, Cornell University
The most practical approach to creating an exhibit with sixteen students was to break up into four teams, with each team tackling one of the four sections of the exhibit. I was part of section one. Section one focuses on the years 1909 to 1919, and it explores the strike of 1909, the Triangle fire, and the aftermath that ensued in the days and years following the fire. Over the course of the semester, we did extensive research, chose objects, and wrote text for the panels and labels that were to be mounted in the exhibit. Selecting objects was one of my favorite aspects of the exhibition process. One of the women in my group had a friend who constructed a shirtwaist for the exhibit. My group felt it was extremely important for visitors to see a representation of a shirtwaist. Lawn, a highly flammable material, was the fabric used to make the shirtwaists at the turn of the twentieth century. The flammability of the material was one of the major reasons the fire spread so quickly on that fateful day in March.
Photo by Huffington Post
When creating the exhibit we had to be considerate of the different stakeholders that are involved in the commemoration efforts, and we had to respect the policies and aesthetics of the Grey Art Gallery. One of the greatest challenges was working together as a class. Of course each of us had a vision of what the exhibit should look like, but we were able to work together so our ideas became compatible.
Working on this exhibit was a wonderful experience. I learned more about myself in the process, such as understanding my strengths and weaknesses when working in a large group. Art/Memory/Place: Commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire has received an amazing response from the public, which makes the experience all the more valuable, because people are responding to our work. If you want to learn more about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire or become involved in the commemorative events for the 100th anniversary, make Art/Memory/Place at the Grey Art Gallery your first stop.
Art/Memory/Place: Commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire will run until March 26, 2011 and will re-open on April 12 to July 9, 2011. The Grey Art Gallery is located at 100 Washington Square East, NYC 10003. For more information, visit the Grey Art Gallery website.
Posted by Alana Rosen