Gallery I

Entering the Museum

The museum visitor enters through the same doors that students would have entered on April 11, 1951. A short walk down the hall leads the visitor to the Auditorium (Gallery I – restored to its period appearance), where they will be directed to take a seat in preparation for viewing a short video piece, on the Auditorium’s side wall, providing exposition and background information to prepare the visitor for an immersive film dramatization of Barbara John’s 1951 speech calling for the student body to go on strike. Action starts on the side screen as the visitor watches the Moton students planning for the strike. The introduction film ends with the students walking off screen left, the side screen goes dark, then the students are seen, on screen, full size, walking onto the stage where Barbara Johns proceeds to give her speech. The speech ends with the students chanting, calling for “strike” as they walk off of the screen to the left, in the direction of the next gallery. The film ends, the lights come up, and the visitor is led down a short hall way behind the stage where they enter the first of the five interpretive galleries presenting the thirteen year story of Prince Edward County’s struggle to move from a segregated school system to and integrated school system. The five permanent exhibit galleries are located in five of the original school classrooms. The visitor is led through the exhibit galleries following a chronological telling of the story beginning with the Gallery entitled “Tar Paper Shacks.”

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