Museum curators are looking for the authors of notes written by Green Valley Elementary second graders in 1983.
At Paul W. Bryant Museum, annual attendance typically exceeds 50,000, with many of those repeat guests. For Museum Curator Taylor Watson and Administrative Specialist Olivia Arnold, that means one thing – keep the exhibits compelling.
During a planning session this past spring, the duo conceived the idea to build an exhibit around a never-before-seen collection the museum already had in its archives. The contents? About 20 handwritten notes and cards penned by the eight-year-old hands of from second grades at Green Valley Elementary, circa January 1983.
“On Sept. 11, 2013, we will honor what would have been the 100th birthday of Coach Bryant,” said Watson. “These letters play beautifully into the idea of a birthday centennial exhibit to honor the beloved coach.”
That said, he conceded that other responsibilities, including assistance to visiting network crews, most recently Showtime, have forced him to put the letter exhibit project on hold. It’s an idea he will bring to fruition, he adds, but not without support from those Green Valley second graders (now 30-somethings), wherever they have ended up.
“When your name is Nick Saban, nothing ever slows down around here,” he said. “But these letters are so poignant, so childlike and thoughtful. I am hopeful that we can connect with those who wrote them and move the idea for this exhibit forward.”
According to Arnold, the two discovered the letters while researching for the forthcoming book, Inside the Vault: The Paul W. Bryant Collection, which will be released on the date of the centennial.
“We really want to talk to these people, to gain their perspective on it, to see if they remember writing them and most of all, to know that their letters weren’t just thrown away,” Arnold said. “They were kept and ended up in our museum archives, and now they will help tell the story of Coach Bryant and what he meant, not just to The University of Alabama but to people across the entire state.”
If readers recognize any of this artwork and would like to assist Watson’s team with the exhibit, they are encouraged to call him at the museum at 348-4668 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Arnold also encourages readers with memories of Coach Bryant to share their thoughts by visiting Bryant100.com. Responses may be used in a compilation project being managed by the museum.