Orange
D orange
Green
Blue
Purple
Pink

¬°NUEVOlution! The Team Behind the Exhibit - Dr. Tom

09/02/2015




On September 27, 2015, ¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South officially opens to the public! Our most ambitious project to date and unlike any exhibit we've ever produced, ¡NUEVOlution! explores the surprising ways Latinos are shaping the South and the South is shaping Latinos.

Over the past 25 years, the South has emerged as the nation’s most vibrant area of Latino growth. Many historians consider the dramatic shift to be the biggest story in southern history since the Civil Rights Movement. ¡NUEVOlution! explores this topic by sharing powerful, personal stories behind the statistics.

"We're honored to bring this important project to our community," says Museum President Emily Zimmern. "More than three years in the making, co-created with scores of individuals and organizations across the South, and developed in partnership with the Atlanta History Center and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, ¡NUEVOlution! tells a regional story of national significance. "

Extensive research. Insightful videos. Thought-provoking interactives. Engaging art. Innovative programs. All made possible by a group of passionate and talented museum professionals. Over the next several weeks we're excited to introduce you to them and share behind-the-scenes stories about the "making of"¡NUEVOlution! You'll learn about each person’s role, what each has learned and what each hopes you will experience.
 
Be sure to share with your friends and join us on September 25 for a special preview party, and on September 27 for the official opening of ¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South. 

First up: Historian and curatorial team lead, Dr. Tom Hanchett. 

Dr. Tom Hanchett recently began phased retirement from Levine Museum, where he has served as staff historian since 1999.  He is author of Sorting Out the New South City, a study of Charlotte’s racial segregation, and served as curator for many exhibitions including the permanent installation “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers.”

How did you begin your research for the ¡NUEVOlution! exhibit? 

Research for the NUEVO project started with listening sessions in each of the three partner communities. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute introduced us to community members they had been working with, including the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) and the remarkably welcoming Glen Iris Elementary School.  Likewise with the Atlanta History Center, who helped us connect with that city’s Latin American Association and with retired newspaper founder Lino Dominguez.  Here in Charlotte, our on-staff Latino specialist Melina Monita-Pacheco helped us deepen our relationship with the Latin American Coalition and to discover the social services work of Camino: Church at the Way.  From those beginnings, our research rippled outward.

How has this exhibit development process differed from others that you've curated?

This was much more a committee approach, rather than having a single leader.  Noted exhibition developer Darcie Fohrman provided the basic structure with 17 video stories. Filmmaker Rodrigo Dorfman took the lead in identifying which stories to tell. Graphic designer Irene Morris determined how much text and image space we had to work with. Plus lots of input from Exhibits VP Kate Baillon, Museum educators facilitated by Janeen Bryant and Kamille Bostick, Latino Project coordinators Oliver Merino and Melina Monita-Pacheco, project manager Steve Bentley and more, all under the direction of Levine Museum President Emily Zimmern.

Throughout your research and the process, do you have a favorite or most memorable experience?

Definitely driving nearly through the night to film Latino activists marching in the annual re-enactment of the famed Civil Rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.  Filmmaker Rodrigo Dorfman discovered the possibility at the last minute during a call with the Latino radio station in Birmingham.  It was so moving to see this new generation of activists interacting with Freedom Rider John Lewis, with Charlotte’s own Anthony Foxx and other national history-makers.

What have you learned about Latinos in the South after researching and writing for the ¡NUEVOlution! exhibit?

I already knew that there are many Latino cultures, but the work with NUEVOlution greatly deepened my appreciation of that – and of how they are coming together in unexpected ways as Latinos reshape the South and the South reshapes Latinos.

What do you want people to take with them after going through the exhibit?

Latinos are very much a part of the South now, contributing new cultural touchstones to what it means to be Southern. Their own culture is changing, as well, as a previously distinct Latin American populations meet and mingle in the South and a young generation -- most born here -- rises into adulthood.

About Dr. Tom Hanchett:
Dr. Tom Hanchett recently began phased retirement from Levine Museum, where he has served as staff historian since 1999.  He is author of Sorting Out the New South City, a study of Charlotte’s racial segregation, and served as curator for many exhibitions including the permanent installation “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers.”

***

Be sure to check back each week for new stories and insights on ¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South. 

Want to attend ¡NUEVOlution! events? Take a look at our calendar and register for the fun.

Tell us what you are looking forward to on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; or leave a comment below.