Three new exhibits on display at the International Peace Museum in downtown Dayton take visitors on a journey through some of the history and current events of media, politics, human rights and war.
📷“The [Dis]Information Age: Propaganda, Conspiracy Theories and the Power of Protest”
The museum’s largest exhibit yet, “The [Dis]Information Age: Propaganda, Conspiracy Theories and the Power of Protest” includes over 200 artifacts telling the story of media from centuries-old pamphlets to Hollywood movies.
Executive Director Kevin Kelly said the idea for “The [Dis]information Age” exhibit spawned in 2019 and was going to explore the history of propaganda. That idea rapidly transformed throughout the pandemic into a more in-depth and academic look at media as a whole, with a specific focus on disinformation, misinformation and malinformation.
“We take it from the beginning of the 20th century, like through the great wars, and up to the modern day,” Kelly said. “So, by the end, we’re talking about movies, social media platforms, memes, Tik Tok and even how peace organizations or people that promote peace also use propaganda to kind of get their mission out and to convince people to think about things differently.”
At the end of the collection, the museum asks guests to consider what is propaganda and what strategies organizations and people use to be weary of. Kelly said he hopes visitors will reflect on where information comes from and vet sources, especially during a time of disinformation and political division.
“It’s so critical that people understand where their information is sourced and who benefits from it,” Kelly said. “Is this accurate or is this just more speculative? Is it an opinion?”
An opening reception will be held Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at the museum, but the exhibit is available to the public now through the end of May. Philosophy professor Paul Morrow of the University of Dayton Human Rights Center will speak at the reception. University of Dayton students in Morrow’s classes will lead a discussion on Saturday, April 15 at 2 p.m. to complement the exhibit.
📷“Protest: The Photography of Paul Becker”
Political division is also showcased in the museum’s “Protest: The Photography of Paul Becker” exhibit. Becker, a photographer and sociology professor at UD, captures moments of protest that tells sociological stories. Many of the protests photographed for this collection involve anti-Asian sentiment from the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, women’s rights and LGBTQ+ issues, among other modern tension points.
The Peace Museum will welcome Becker on Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. for a conversation about his photojournalism exhibit.
📷“Earth, Do Not Cover My Blood”
Local photographer Amanda Hayden’s work has also found a springtime home at the Peace Museum. She traveled around Europe to infamous Holocaust sites and documented what they look like in modern times. She will discuss her work alongside museum intern Daniel Hagenhofer at a Thursday, April 27 reception at 7 p.m.
Hagenhofer is from Austria, and his family had a front row seat to some of the atrocities of the Holocaust in the 1930s. His grandfather documented — in photos and in a book — the story of growing up next to Jewish neighbors who were persecuted during World War II. Hagenhofer will share his grandfather’s story and photos at the aforementioned reception.
All three collections are scheduled to be on display until the end of May at the International Peace Museum, located at 10 N Ludlow St. in downtown Dayton.
“I just think (these exhibits) are fun to really kind of explore these topics,” Kelly said. “And, it’s not like we’re saying we have all the answers. We’re just saying, ‘Here’s a lot of questions. Here’s a lot of things to think about,’ and we’re trying to get dialogue. That’s the most important thing.”
The museum is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment throughout the week for group tours. For more information, visit https://peace.museum/.
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