A museum is as close as you can get to witnessing history. It is a place where the past world comes to life. You can see things at a museum that you are unable to experience anywhere else. Today, we had the opportunity to travel to the Southgate street museum, which once stood as a segregated school for African-American students.
The school’s organizers strived for all their students to gain a good education, even with desks that couldn’t even fit a book on, no bathrooms and over a hundred students in a building that is smaller than a two-story house, according to Scott Clark, Newport’s preservation officer, who also serves as a volunteer director of the museum.
Today, the building still stands in its original location with the same goal as the school—education. It shows the history and the different experiences, limited space and limited materials and how they overcame this.
The school taught two grades in each classroom. That’s not two classrooms in each grade, but two grades in a classroom. At Mason High School, the school where I attend, we have over 50 classes for each grade.
Although the museum in the school has been there for a while, one thing that has not are the four beautiful murals on the brick wall of a printing press building. Each of the four represented the history of Newport, Kentucky during different time periods.
One of the murals was made to honor the firefighters. It shows them putting out a fire in 1970. Another one shows a teacher helping her young students learn at a segregated school. The third one shows the Ohio River and the sea levels that rose and lowered throughout the early 1900s. Finally, the last one features the Newport gangsters back in the early to mid 20th century.
The murals were made by students taking painting classes at NKU. One student who worked on this project is Maddie Filamonov. She described the process for making these murals as atypical.
“A lot of times with murals, one artist does the design,” Filamanov said.
But in this project, groups of 3 to 5 worked on each mural. Also, each of the students would work on each of the murals. Filamonov also points out that, “a lot of people tend to forget about their local history.” She hopes people “can see a little bit of history or see history they didn’t know about.”
Overall, these murals show the history of the city of Newport, which can be overlooked sometimes by the people who live there. Instead of writing about these events that made paintings that observers could visualize in their heads for the rest of their lives. After all, a painting tells a thousand words.