Unearthing Silenced Histories: Hidden-History Box

Activity Steps:

Create a mixed-media artwork that reveals a silenced history.

1. Discuss:
In small groups or as a class, discuss what a silenced history is. How is it different from other histories? Why do you think these voices are not part of mainstream history? Does learning about silenced histories make you think differently about a particular community? Why or why not?
2. Look:
Review the works of the artists at right. Look carefully to find the stories that the artists portray in their work. Can you find the silenced histories? For whom, and to whom, are the artists speaking?
3. Create:
Make a hidden-history box that reveals something about a person, group, or culture. Consider what objects, symbols, and materials would best represent the hidden history. Layer objects, pieces of writing, and other materials in the box. You may also include symbolic clues to the history.
4. Present:
Show your work to the class and choose a classmate's box to write about. What do you think about when you look at the box? can you figure out what the hidden history is, or anything about it, by looking at the box's contents?
5. Reflect:
In your journal, describe how this exercise has impacted your understanding of written and unwritten histories. Why do you think some histories remain hidden?