Student Curated Exhibits Featured in Special Collections

Special Collections at Southern Miss is hosting an exhibit opening on April 19 from 4-5 in McCain Library room 305 to highlight the exhibits curated by three Southern Miss students. Special Collections leads a program where students curate mini-exhibits featuring materials from the library. Students learn how to select items for display, install the materials, write label and exhibit text, and publicize the exhibit. This year’s exhibits feature the work of an English PhD student, an English undergraduate, and a library science graduate student.

Land Pirates and Lawlessness in 19th Century Mississippi, curated by English PhD student (and Spring 2018 graduate) Todd Gray, revisits criminal activity in Mississippi from the early 1800s to mid-century. During this period, parts of Mississippi were considered the frontier. The Mississippi River, Natchez Trace, and south Mississippi served as the backdrops for the criminal exploits of such infamous highwaymen as the Harpe brothers, Samuel Mason, John A. Murrell, and James Copeland. The exhibit features novels, illustrations, and historical accounts of this raucous period in Mississippi.

Putting the “Able” in Disabled: Representation of Disabilities in Children’s Literature, curated by undergraduate English major Sara Ditsworth, explores the depiction of mental and physical disabilities in children’s literature. The exhibit shows the everyday lives of those with disabilities through photographs and books celebrating diversity and inclusivity.

Elevating the Ignoble: The Southern Cookbook as a Medium for Cultural Expression and Identity, curated by School of Library & Information Science graduate student Rachel McMullen, looks at stereotypes of the American South in relation to culinary traditions. Many of the stereotypes that are directed at the South’s culinary habits have helped lead a concerted effort to recapture Southern identity as it is harshly defined by curious spectators and concoct a new image by serving up seductive, distinctly Southern cuisine. The cookbooks included in this exhibit do just that by both embracing and celebrating the misconceptions that plague the Deep South to redefine its eccentricities as endearing attributes worthy of the highest level of commemoration: a place at the table.

These exhibits will be on display on the third floor of McCain Library & Archives until February 2019. If you have any questions about the program or the exhibits on display, contact Jennifer Brannock at or 601.266.4347.