University of Georgia Libraries, Special Collections  


Harrison Feature Gallery

Harrison Feature Gallery

The Harrison Feature Gallery is home to rotating exhibits that focus on specific themes or historical moments from the Russell Library's key collecting areas. The gallery rotates every six to twelve months, and the exhibition on display ties into ongoing programs and events.

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Current Exhibits

Now and Then: 1979
(June 3, 2019 – December 24, 2019)

There are some moments in history that become powerful touchstones, revisited to reflect and inform a better understanding of the present day. The Russell Library has developed a periodic exhibit series, Now and Then, to revisit pivotal years in modern American history. This summer we invite you to travel back to 1979.

1979 was the year of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster and controversial SALT-II treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union. President Jimmy Carter promised to bring the hostages home from Iran as the dramatic situation inside the American embassy unfolded before a national television audience. Americans confronted rising gas prices and, increasingly, gas shortages. The year 1979 witnessed Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat sign the historic Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty, Vietnamese refugees divide national opinion, and the states debate the ratification of a proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

Forty years later, take a look back at this pivotal year in American history and the lasting legacy of the events that filled the public mind for a moment in time.

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Future Exhibits

Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster, 1844-2012
(September 1, 2020 - October 5, 2020)

The political campaign poster had its humble beginnings in the 1840s when the new lithographic printing process, largely developed in Germany, was developed to satisfy a growing demand for printed material. Hand-colored portraits of presidential and vice-presidential candidates were first printed for the 1844 race between Whig Party candidate Henry Clay and the eventual winner, James K. Polk of the Democratic Party.   

Historically the American political poster has been sorely neglected as an art form and has played a minor cultural role despite its effectiveness in conveying a political message to millions of voters often through the skillful use of visual communication. Sign of the Times has made every effort to bring eye-popping political graphics to the forefront and to show the great American political poster as art.

This traveling exhibition was developed by Exhibits U.S.A.

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Past Exhibits

The Power of Children: Making a Difference
April 6, 2019 - May 25, 2019

The Power of Children: Making a Difference shares the extraordinary stories of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, and Ryan White—three children whose lives teach us about overcoming obstacles to make a positive difference in the world. This exhibit encourages children and families to explore issues of isolation, fear, and prejudice throughout 20th-century history and today. The material in this exhibit is serious in nature and recommended for children ages 8+ and their families, and for school groups.

Through audio-visual presentations, original artifacts, and hands-on interactives, visitors will get to know each child’s story. Immersive environments bring visitors into the spaces where each child felt safe: the Secret Annex where Anne Frank and her family spent two years in hiding; the first-grade classroom in which Ruby Bridges spent an entire school year alone with her teacher Mrs. Henry; and Ryan White’s bedroom, filled with things he treasured.

This traveling exhibition is part of the NEH On the Road program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Education of the Negro: A Depression Era Photographic Study by Dr. Horace Mann Bond
January 18, 2019 - March 25, 2019

In 1929, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, social science researcher, historian and father of the late Julian Bond, participated in a two-year field study of black student achievement in North Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana. Visiting more than 700 schools across these states, Dr. Bond administered standardized tests and photographed the educational experiences of close to 10,000 students. Funded by Julius Rosenwald, the study was to explore poverty and race relations in the rural South. Rosenwald hoped to show that the students in these segregated schools exceeded educational expectations despite the lack of resources that were available to white students and gain support for his “Rosenwald Schools.” Dr. Bond, however, according to his son James, “was hoping to prove that it’s environment, that if you give people the opportunity, they’ll achieve,” regardless of their circumstances. The exhibit, curated by Gallery L1, Atlanta, showcases over 80 photographs from Bond’s study.

Wrestling Temptation: The Quest to Control Alcohol in Georgia
November 9, 2017 - September 21, 2018

No sooner had colonists arrived than they thirsted for a taste of alcohol. Colonial administrators pushed back against this desire, and so began a long battle that rages quietly in the state even today. Wrestling Temptation: The Quest to Control Alcohol in Georgia traces the struggle that state leaders have faced in regulating the production, transportation, and use of alcohol from 1733 to the present. The exhibit explores issues of morality, economy, and personal liberty entwined with the use and abuse of alcohol. It considers what made Georgia different by paying close attention to the adoption of statewide prohibition in 1907 and the reluctance of state officials to repeal that measure even in the face waning public support and dire financial times during the 1930s. The display concludes with a reflection on modern times that examines the motivations of the temperance movement in the context of ongoing debates about the decriminalization of marijuana.

WE: American Thanksgiving Conflict and Communion
October 29, 2018-December 22, 2018

Created by local sculptor and potter Micaela Hobbs, in collaboration with painter Jennifer Niswonger, WE: American Thanksgiving Conflict and Communion examines the history of the United States through the lens of the Thanksgiving dinner table. The concept is presented as a series of place settings and serving pieces. Each piece is decorated with images of an individual or institution that played a part in shaping American history. The installation asks visitors to imagine the conversations and arguments between and among these figures if they had all sat down together around the Thanksgiving table.


Spirited: Prohibition in America
September 1, 2017- October 20, 2017

In a tumultuous era spanning 13 years, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages. Prohibition was now a part of the Constitution, holding the same status as freedom of speech and the abolition of slavery. Ratified in 1919, the 18th Amendment stirred up a passionate and sometimes volatile debate between “wets” and “drys” that will forever cement Prohibition’s place in history.Spirited: Prohibition in America brings visitors back to this period of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends, such as Al Capone and Carry Nation.

Adapted from the National Constitution Center’s flagship exhibition, Spirited explores the history of Prohibition, from the dawn of the temperance movement to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment in 1933. What made the country go “dry” and how did America change during this period in history? Visitors to Spirited will learn about the amendment process, the role of liquor in American culture, the cultural revolution of the roaring ’20s, and how liquor laws vary from state to state today.

This traveleing exhibition is part of the NEH On the Road program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


On The Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia?
September 2016 - August 2017

On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? considers the evolution of campaigning for political office in the state from the passage of the white primary in 1900 to the presidential election of 2008. The exhibition invites visitors to step into the shoes of a candidate and onto the campaign trail: from the initial decision to run to crafting a strategy, shaking hands, kissing babies, and everything in between.

Consider at once the social, cultural, and political history of a state in motion. Meet the changing cast of characters who have shaped and reshaped the style, strategy, and substance of political life and culture in Georgia. How have politicians and the public that elects them have changed over time?


Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern South
September 18, 2015 - July 30, 2016

Since the late 1800s travelers have come to Georgia to enjoy natural landscapes, recreation, and historic sites. For nearly as long, competing interests have fought for the right to preserve, alter or exploit these sites, as citizens and legislators weighed the relative merits of both. Debates over race, class, and accessibility have shaped the development of tourism in the state.

Seeing Georgia: Changing Visions of Tourism in the Modern Southinvestigates how the state transformed itself from a way station along the route to Florida into a tourist destination during the twentieth century. It highlights six popular destinations in Georgia and considers questions of access, preservation, and economics – who could go, how they got there, and what motivated them to visit different attractions. The exhibit also explores the professionalization of the tourism industry and the roles state and local governments played in promoting Georgia to travelers. It considers the modern amenities that have helped to shape the experience of the modern tourist, from the improvement of roadways to the development of roadside culture and accommodations.


Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch
September 26, 2014-August 15, 2015

The National School Lunch Program affects millions of children each day and has a connection to nearly every American family. What began as a way to strengthen the nation through better nutrition for school children in 1946 soon became a complicated program administered by local, state, and federal partners with competing interests. The story behind this initiative is one of twists and turns, as the program has evolved to meet the changing needs of children, politicians, and corporate interests.

Food, Power, and Politics: The Story of School Lunch examines the complicated past of the National School Lunch Program, with a focus on people and events in Georgia. The exhibit features historic images depicting schools and children in Georgia dating back to the 1920s as well as related ephemera, including lunch pails, sample menus, and classroom activity packets. Letters, speeches, and publications document the legislative battle to create and expand the program from the 1940s to the 1990s, complemented by video and oral histories.   

This exhibit was developed by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies in celebration of the Library’s 40th anniversary in 2014. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. authored the original legislation establishing the National School Lunch Program and ensured its passage through both houses of Congress. He often said that the creation of this program was his proudest accomplishment during his long career in the U.S. Senate.

Choosing to Participate

May 2, 2014-September 12, 2014

A set of 11 graphically compelling posters developed by The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the educational organization Facing History and Ourselves serves as the core of the exhibit. The graphics present the experiences of individuals and communities, explore the impact of cultural differences, and encourage viewers to consider the consequences of everyday choices—to discover how “little things are big”—and to make a difference in their own communities.

Sarah Hughes, a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in International Affairs, acted as curator and selected items from the Russell Library's archival holdings to create a complementary case exhibit highlighting topics, events, and people that connect to the larger themes explored in the graphic panel set. The combination of the graphics and primary resources is intended to encourage dialogue, engagement, respect, and participation among visitors.

A companion website features a host of resources for teachers, families, and communities: 

Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living with the Atomic Bomb, 1945-1965
January 28, 2014-March 16, 2014

Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living with the Atomic Bomb, 1945-1965, a traveling exhibition curated by Michael Scheibach and ExhibitsUSA, explores the ways that Americans experienced the atomic threat as part of their daily lives.

Americans were flooded with messages about the dangers of atomic weapons and attack from foreign powers through pamphlets, household objects, media, and film. Although the threat of atomic annihilation eventually drifted to the background of American consciousness in the late 1960s, the Atomic Age left a legacy of governmental response and civic infrastructure that remains relevant today. The exhibition first presents a timeline and overview of the story, explaining the three main chronological phases of America’s Atomic Age.

Now and Then: 1973

May 1, 2013-January 17, 2013

There are some moments in history that become powerful touchstones, revisited to reflect and inform a better understanding of the present day. This spring the Russell Library will embark on Now and Then, a new exhibit series that will revisit pivotal years in modern American history. We being with a trip to 1973.

1973 was the year of the Roe v. Wade decision and the return of POWs from the Vietnam War. It was the year President Nixon proclaimed he was not a crook, even as the Watergate scandal unfolded on national television. It was the year of the Yom Kippur War, and the Arab Oil Embargo; the year of Skylab, the Endangered Species Act, and Hank Aaron’s quest to beat the Babe’s homerun record.

Forty years later, take a look back at this pivotal year in American history and the lasting legacy of the events that filled the public mind for a moment in time.

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