“BACK TO WORK” EXHIBIT OPENS IN THE WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY
Just prior to the holiday break, Art Handler James Taylor completed the installation of a new exhibit in the library foyer. The exhibition was organized by Rosita Maria Sosa and Iris Sanchez-Ruiz, working in collaboration with Wolfsonian Chief Librarian, Francis Luca.
Ms. Sosa and Ms. Sanchez-Ruiz are Miami-Dade County schoolteachers enrolled in Florida International University’s Teaching American History Masters Degree Program, and the exhibit they put together was for their final project in a Fall semester class taught by Dr. Luca, titled: The Great Depression, New Deal, and Good War. Learning that the contemporary artist, Esther Shalev-Gerz would be drawing from the collection and installing her own exhibit, Describing Labor on the sixth floor gallery of the museum, the two graduate student s thought that it would be great to come up with a complementary theme.
Ultimately, Sosa and Sanchez-Ruiz settled on Back to Work: FDR and Labor’s New Deal, exploring Franklin D. Roosevelt’s relationship with the labor movement. Limited to two flat cases and one wall unit, the students found the biggest challenge to be limiting their selection of materials. Ultimately they came up with three organizing principals for their display: the Promise of FDR’s New Deal for labor;
the social realities that such programs were designed to address;
and labor’s growing militancy and determination to ”strike” for a better deal.
The students were also interested in integrating museum objects and works on paper into the exhibit, but elected to supplement the library materials in the cases with a slide show of these additional items on a computer screen.
Thanks also to the hard work of Digital Library Specialist David Almeida, we are now able to make this exhibit and slide show available to my virtual readers.