Stepping into a brisk, flowing stream, Disney’s Pocahontas sings a thought about the river—and applies equally well to museums.
“What I love most about rivers is you can’t step in the same river twice.
The water’s always changing, always flowing.”
“You can never go to the same museum twice,” said Laura Meisner ’17, one student curator behind a new, Disney-themed Daura Gallery exhibition. “Even the same museum has different exhibitions when you go back.”
And the same exhibition might convey different themes when viewed again and again—much like a Disney film.
Remembrance and Rediscovery: Disney Deconstructed opens in the Daura Gallery on Monday, April 20 with a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Featuring 35 limited-edition, commemorative prints of scenes from Disney films, the exhibition invites viewers to think about the roles of outsiders, gender stereotypes, and self-discovery as they are conveyed in Disney films.
Many of the prints were donated to the Daura Gallery by Tom Burrowes ’93, an advancement officer at LC. Barbara Rothermel, director of the Daura Gallery, suggested a Disney theme to museum studies students enrolled in her curation class this semester.
In addition to Meisner, Jared Bloomquist ’15, Eva Pappas ’18, and Erin Sinski ’17 created the exhibition. They decided to focus on what Disney films convey about society’s strong gender stereotypes and mistreatment of outsiders, the students said.
Although Disney films do reflect some societal problems, they do not necessarily create those problems, nor are they alone in perpetuating them, said Pappas. “They’re ongoing, relevant issues that can be addressed by applying Disney to these relevant issues,” she said.
Disney provides an effective platform for examining society because its stories and symbols are fairly ubiquitous, said Meisner. “Everyone grows up with Disney in some form or fashion,” she said. “You know the symbols and the iconic images. They are a part of our culture.”
The themes of the exhibition were hardly noticeable when the students watched the Disney films as children. When they re-watched some of the films as teenagers, they started to realize there was something deeper, but analyzing the films this semester made the curators more aware of the issues. “At the college level, you reconsider the films that you watched when you were 10,” said Bloomquist.
The opening reception will include Disney songs performed by members of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honorary society, as well as refreshments inspired by Disney films.
The exhibition will be on view through Friday, May 15.