In fall 2020, rhetorical arts students in professor Laura Poladian’s classes and Archives and Special Collections Instruction Librarian Rachel Wen-Paloutzian embarked on a journey of discovery that they had never experienced before.
Amidst a pandemic, the group met virtually from different parts of the globe to connect with a selection of artifacts from archival collections housed in the William H. Hannon Library. The mission was to create a series of first-ever digital exhibits in collaboration with rhetorical arts students to tell stories through unique archival materials at Loyola Marymount University.
Students approached the new digital exhibit task with flexibility and imagination. In doing so, one class inhabited two worlds themselves—the digital and the physical, their particular places in the world and the transnational journey of the Venegas family. Through first-hand encounters and research with personal artifacts in the Venegas Family Papers, students spent the semester exploring the Venegas family’s immigration experiences and finding strength and resilience in the family’s interconnection across borders and time.
The class had the rare opportunity of meeting on Zoom with Teresa Venegas and Carlos Venegas, two members of the Venegas family to hear the fascinating recounting of their family stories. A student reflected:
“Looking at the Venegas Papers as a first-year in college was a really cool experience and it opened up my eyes to what type of information we as students have access to at LMU. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that members of the Venegas family would join us to tell us about their journey to the U.S. Interviewing the Venegas family themselves was a memorable experience that will stay with me throughout my academic career.”
Students’ hard work and collaboration in preparing for the exhibit content have come to fruition. We are proud to announce the digital exhibit created entirely in the virtual space, “Entre Dos Mundos: Strength and Resilience in the Venegas Family”
A big thanks to all the student co-creators of the exhibit, and a special thanks to Keziah Rezaey, student assistant, and Jessica Guardado, archives and special collections library assistant, for their help in creating the exhibit digital banner. Stay tuned for two more upcoming rhetorical arts student-curated digital exhibits, focusing on the J. D. Black Papers and the Robert Singleton Papers.