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Students serve as guest curators of Hoover exhibits

Stanford history students have curated two Hoover Institution exhibits on Great Britain and created a web site as part of their coursework. The exhibits ­ one on the building of London's sewers and another on World War I and II poster art ­ are part of a regional cultural and commercial festival called "Britain Meets the Bay."

Students in Professor Peter Stansky's British History seminar became involved in all phases of exhibit development, including research, selection of items and themes, caption writing and installation. They also established a course web site ( on which approximately 100 British wartime posters can be found. The site also contains photos and art of English Bloomsbury society. Stansky is the honorary curator of Hoover's British Labour Collection and the author of the recent book On or About December 1910: Early Bloomsbury and Its Intimate World.

The "Forward to Victory" exhibit presents a sampling from the vast British poster collection of the Hoover Archives. The student curators examined more than 3,000 original British posters and selected more than 50 that represented wartime themes such as recruitment, the role of women, consequences of careless talk, national service, war bonds, images of the empire and the enemy, and the technology of war.

The other exhibit, "Notes from the Underground: The Building of the London Sewers," uses editorial cartoons, parliamentary records, pamphlets, broadsides, police records and debates covering every aspect of sanitary reform in 19th-century London. The original documents and plans are from the collection of Sir Joseph W. Bazalgette, the chief civil engineer who oversaw the creation of the London sewers. The Bazalgette Collection was recently obtained by Stanford University Library's Department of Special Collections. Selected items were loaned to Hoover for this exhibit.

Both exhibits can be viewed until June 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, at the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion located next to Hoover Tower. Additional information about the exhibits and group tour reservations are available by telephoning 723-3563.


By Kathleen O'Toole