On March 3, Museum of the Peace Corps Experience (MPCE) virtually opened Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience, its first major exhibit in ten years. Installed at American University (AU) Museum until August 9, the exhibition features personal stories about objects from around the world – cookware, clothing, farm implements, musical instruments, and more.
AU president Sylvia Matthews Burwell; Peace Corps acting director Carol Spahn (Romania 1994-1996); and National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) president Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988–1991) welcomed 900 guests to the celebratory Zoom event.
AU Museum director Jack Rasmussen kicked off a video tour of objects lead by Museum of the Peace Corps Experience co-chairs Nicola Dino (Ecuador 1994-1997) and Patricia Wand (Colombia 1963-1965). The three discussed challenges of creating an exhibit in the pandemic and the generosity of returned Peace Corps Volunteers in donating objects and writing stories. Teena Curry (Madagascar 2010–2013) and Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia 1968–1970) told their stories about rice pots and the shifta’s burr cap. Guests actively participated with comments and questions in Chat.
Hopefully this summer covid-related restrictions will be lifted and visitors will be able to view the exhibit in AU Museum, Washington DC. Watch this space for announcements about scheduling visits. In the meantime, check out the virtual exhibition HERE.
Special recognition goes to Jack Rasmussen who committed to hosting the exhibit, to Alper Initiative for Washington Art fellow Alexandra Schuman for curating it, and to the entire AU Museum staff. Through a Peace Corps Community Fund grant NPCA made possible the printed exhibit catalog.
Thank you to everyone who contributed objects, stories, money, time, and talent to Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience. And a shout out to the 900 people who joined us to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps.
The opening event was recorded and can be viewed HERE.