By Sarah Beer, McIntyre Library Special Collections Student Assistant
As a public history major, I was one of the students to take part in the Nelson project. Our class received our assignment, then went to the Special Collections and Archives to view the photos. Set out on the five tables in the reading room was the legacy of Daniel Nelson and the story of Eau Claire more than a hundred years earlier. We committed the collection to memory then met later and brainstormed ideas for five themes. After throwing around countless pitches, we settled on the five themes that would dictate our project. Two other students and I were in charge of the saloon culture panel.
Our class created a uniform template, but each group had to arrange the layout based on their own photos and content. Of all the work we did, this was perhaps the most difficult part. With infinite possibilities and so many variables to consider, we had to find the one layout that worked the best for us. Each group went through several layouts. Thanks to the critiques of our fellow classmates, we were able to find the layout that is the most pleasing to the eye as well as one that takes into consideration the many variables an exhibit needs to be effective for various audiences. It also had to be cohesive with the other five panels.
“Through Daniel’s Eyes” can now be found on the fifth floor of McIntyre Library, with the introduction panel positioned just outside of Special Collections and Archives. The graduate students of the seminar course also created a website to accompany the exhibit, which can be found at http://throughdanielseyes.weebly.com/. The website offers a deeper look into the life of Daniel Nelson, his photography, and turn of the century Eau Claire.