A popular definition for “boy” (although parents understand it applies to girls as well) is “a noise with dirt on it.” For many, and hopefully most, of us, these words capture the essence of that time between birth and adulthood when your primary task is to learn how your world works and what your place is in it. This definition implies the hard, dirty “work” of play and the struggle to master the difference between an “outside voice” and an “inside voice” and when to use each.
All parents and children face common difficulties and milestones. For parents, these include solving the problem of how to keep tabs on a child while getting something else done at the same time. For children, tasks include how to occupy themselves and figuring out how the world works. For society, the need is to teach children what they need to know to make their own way in the world, and, having done this, marking the child’s transition to adulthood.
The Logan Museum of Anthropology’s newest exhibit, Growing Up: Tools for the Work of Childhood, explores how parents, children, and societies around the world get the work of childhood done. Objects include a variety of baby carriers, children’s toys, games, clothes, and objects related to ceremonies that mark the passage to adulthood.
As final preparations are being made, the museum asks that faculty, staff, and students submit photos of themselves as infants, children, or adolescents, along with a few words about what’s happening in the photo. Faculty and staff high school graduation photos would be particularly interesting. These will be placed in the gallery to remind the grown-ups here at Beloit College how hard we worked in our earlier years to get here.
The exhibit opens next Tuesday (Feb. 7) in the Shaw Gallery on the museum’s second floor and runs through the spring semester.
If you have questions about the exhibit or would like to submit a photo, please contact Dan Bartlett at the Logan Museum: ext. 2678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.