USC Goes to GTMO
September 17 through November 21, 2015, 3rd floor lobby
In the spring of 2015, assistant professor Dr. Allison Marsh taught a graduate class on historic site interpretation. The class is offered regularly, but this semester was special because the site being interpreted was the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Marsh, along with Claire Jerry, McKissick Museum’s Chief Curator of Collections and Research, escorted twelve students for the weeklong visit. While on the island, students visited historical sites, toured energy plants, and organized archival materials for the library. Their primary purpose of the trip was to orally document the everyday lives of the residents on base, whether military service men and women, their dependents, or civilians, contractors and foreign nationals.
Participants realized that they were doing more than public history. They were engaging with a place that is at the center of the news media, and continues to be. Because these individuals had such transformative experiences, to both their academic education and their worldview, McKissick offers USC Goes to GTMO to feature their stories. The exhibition includes memorabilia from the trip, photographs and firsthand accounts from the participants.
Image: The North East Gate is the sole crossing point between Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and the Republic of Cuba. The USC group visited the gate area as part of their base orientation tour. Photo courtesy Ellen Robertson.