Skip to Main Content

ILLUMINATION: Why we do it

Springfield History Museum exhibit, December 10, 2021 - February 12, 2022

Photo Description: ILLUMINATION 2022-2023 Story Collector Thomas Hiura (he/she/they) and interview participant Ricky Poon (he/him) at the Eugene-Springfield Chinese Christian Church. Photo credit: Melissa "Mimi" Nolledo.

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to this annual exhibition about historically marginalized voices,” says Curator Madeline McGraw. “So many have been left out of our historical records and we are working to change that, one story at a time.”

Out of over 5,000 photographs and 2,000 archival documents, very few items are related to Springfield’s historically marginalized groups. The Springfield History Museum has three photographs of African American Springfielders, all of which are unnamed. While the Museum has more photographs of Indigenous people in Springfield, only one photograph has the person’s name identified. There are no currently documented photographs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Springfielders in the Springfield History Museum photograph collection.

The Museum's archival collection is relatively unresearched, and as such it is unknown how many stories of Springfielders from various backgrounds are reflected in it.

Photo: C. 1925. Springfield History Museum photograph collection, catalog number 1989.001.018.

"When you look at our collection overall, it is striking that most of our photographs and artifacts belonging to white Springfielders have names and stories attached to them," reflects Curator Madeline McGraw. "While our photographs of historically marginalized Springfielders are not connected to the names and stories of the people in the photographs."

It is the  intention of the Springfield History Museum to actively research and develop our collection with the hope that in future years, researchers, historians and the public will have a collection that more accurately reflects the people and stories of those living here today.


Looking Back to Move Forward