Museum: look at history through a different lens

Carla Jay Harris, Bitter Earth, 2021.

The Barrick Museum is located on campus across from the Lied Library and is part of the Harry Reid Center. It is free admission with suggested donations to the museum. Right now, they have four key exhibits that are bringing awareness to social issues.

The Toe Tag exhibit is based on actual information collected from dead bodies found in the surrounding parameters of the Mexico border. There are a total of 3,200 remains found identified or unidentifiable.

Some background on the exhibit, the number of people dead is because crossing the border was made more difficult in the ‘90s with the Prevention of Deterrence act. This closed the border to illegal immigration at the main checkpoints, however, those who were willing still crossed into the desert and faced the desert terrain.

This exhibit is important for people to see because we can sit here and talk about the border crisis, but until you know the number of people who died crossing the border, one cannot fully understand the situation. These people died for many different reasons, placing a different narrative on the situation. This crisis has been around since the early 1900s and acclimated in the 80s and 90s. The 3200 is just in Arizona as well, we don’t even cover New Mexico or California or even Nevada.

I Am Here exhibit is about social justice, mainly about being a woman of color, the struggles that come with it. Each piece has a description from the artist themselves, not the curators. They didn’t want their interpretation on the walls, but rather the artist’s interpretation from it.

Bitter Earth is a portion of the exhibit that highlights the civil rights movement. The wallpaper displayed is traditional 60s style and includes historical women of color such as rosa parks. The civil rights movement was also happening in Vegas at the time; the wallpaper includes women of color from Nevada, a singer from the sands casino in the 60s, and a cowgirl.

The Guatemala Revolt exhibit is altered negative images from the artist’s family. Their father was shot when they were four months old, and the people who shot him were being trained for the US army. The images have bland quotes from the book “Human Resource Exploitation – Training manual. This is the manual that America had for the Guatemalan government for the assassination of people. The photos portray just that with very intimate pictures of the artist’s family, and you can see the pain in the exhibit.

See and be seen highlights black women in the 50s and 60s. This is on the center floor of the museum, and if you go around it, you will see the beauty and accomplishments women of color have made over the years. We start in the ’50s, and I believe, end up in the mid-2000s.

 The highlight exhibits right now in the Barrick Museum are about empowerment and awareness. If you want to learn more about America’s history or bring awareness to yourself on current social issues, then go and look around at the artist’s incredible hard work


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