Images of the J. B. Duke statue on West Campus. Image Credit: The Duke Chronicle; Duke University Libraries.
Images of the J. B. Duke statue on West Campus. Image Credit: The Duke Chronicle; Duke University Libraries.

Statues Speak

Project Lead(s): Elizabeth Baltes, Sheila Dillon

20152017

Statues are all around us, but we often walk past them without reflecting on who or what they represent. Once shiny new landmarks in the built environment, statues can become invisible over time. In our hurry to get from one place to another, we do not stop to read the inscriptions that often tell us why the statue was set up. In any case, the information given on the statue base is only part of the story. Statues can “speak” to us in many ways, but what if we could actually give them a voice? What would they want to tell us about themselves? This project, a collaboration between undergraduate students and faculty at Duke University and Coastal Carolina University, aims to help statues speak, to help them tell their own stories. By combining historical research with mobile and web technologies, we will present the “autobiographies” of the statues on Duke ‘s campus, exploring how they fit into the fabric of Duke ‘s history and the long-standing practice of setting up honorific portrait statues. View a time map version of the project.

Video research and script by Darrah Panzarella.

Past Collaborators

Hannah L. Jacobs
Christy Kuesel
Darrah Panzarella
Edward Triplett
Mary Kate Weggeland
Jessica Williams

Scholarship

In The Media

  • Kwon, Ashley. “Wired! Lab’s ‘Statues Speak’ brings the legacy of campus monuments to life.” The Duke Chronicle.  March 28, 2018. Hubbard, Lucas. “Not Cast In Stone.” Duke Magazine. (Summer 2018): 10-11.