”˜Particles on the Wall’ exhibit reflects on Hanford Program

Geoffrey Leach

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On April 2, the latest visiting exhibit opened in the Maxey Museum. The exhibit, Particles on the Wall, combines many different mediums to showcase a variety of reactions to the Hanford Nuclear Program and its aftermath.

“[The Particles on the Wall] exhibit is a conglomeration of science, poetry and art, and it combines all of those to tell the story of what it was like to have the Manhattan Project going on right next to us,” said sophomore student curator Emma Philipps.

While Philipps did not work on Particles on the Wall, she and senior Grant Rommel installed an exhibit on the second floor of Penrose Library. Called Community and Culture: The Diverse Roots of Walla Walla, the exhibit contains artifacts and information about three historically significant ethnic groups in Walla Walla: Chinese, French-Canadian and Italian. Rommel initially came up with the idea of exploring these communities.

“I was really interested in the immigrant history of Walla Walla because it’s something that’s not really visible anymore,” said Rommel.

As the pair began to create their exhibit, they began to realize that they were finding information and artifacts related to certain families. In this way, their exhibit slowly moved towards an exploration of families and individuals rather than the different communities in their entireties.

“As it went on, it kind of seemed we were really trying to almost trace families … It became very much about what families were influential in Walla Walla,” said Philipps.

The entire project took around a semester to complete, and they installed it around Winter Break. To complete the project, they needed to research and find information about the communities and obtain artifacts. The latter proved somewhat difficult. Even though the Maxey Museum has a wealth of artifacts in storage, Rommel found it hard to find artifacts from the Italian community.

“[It was difficult] finding artifacts that would be specific to the Italian population in Walla Walla because we don’t really have any in our collection. I ended up finding photos,” said Rommel.

Even with the difficulties of finding Italian artifacts, they never ran out of information. In fact, they had the opposite problem. Philipps found it hard to compress all the information they found into one display case.

“It’s really hard to keep it concise. Really what we offer is a pretty narrow view,” said Philipps.

Overall, the exhibit consists of artifacts from the Maxey Museum storage and the archives in Penrose as well as photos, all of which presents the information from various families with different backgrounds. The exhibit will stay up until the artifacts need to be returned, and a new exhibit needs a display.

Other current exhibits include “Whitman College in the 1950s” by junior Madeline Duppenthaler and sophomore Brenna Two Bears, and Hand and the Machine (Maxey Edition). Whitman College in the 1950s is located outside of room 108 in Maxey and Hand and the Machine is located in the Maxey West Foyer.

“Particles on the Wall” runs from April 2 to May 9 and is open from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesdays, 12-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Thursdays, 12-4 p.m. on Fridays and 12-4 p.m. on Saturdays. It will also hold several events in association with the exhibit. Tricia Pritkin will give a talk on April 15, while the Hanford State of the Site meeting will take place on April 29. Both events will take place in Maxey Auditorium at 7 p.m. Civil engineer and poet Kathleen Flenniken will also give a poetry reading of her most recent poetry collection, “Flume”, in Kimball Theatre on April 30 at 7 p.m.