Student journal: Put a Pin in it

Photograph of the map

Student journal: Put a Pin in it

Morgan Benner
The gallery opening has come and gone and the exhibition has been open to the public for several weeks now. Everything went over very smoothly, which I’m sure was a relief for everyone. If there is one thing I have been keeping an eye on, however, it is the interactive map in the rotunda. The main concern I had was whether visitors would actually be willing to participate or not. Would we come back to it in a few weeks with only a few pins scattered here and there?

The purpose of the map is to allow visitors to engage with the broader ideas of the exhibit by placing a few pins in the places they identify with. We decided to hang both a world map and US map, to allow for people to pinpoint their hometown in the US. The students involved in the exhibition were all given silver-headed pins and we placed them on the map a few hours before the opening. It was almost like the finishing touch to the exhibit. 

During the gallery opening, I watched the map closely to see if anyone was using it. I was delighted to see guests gathering in small groups, discussing where they were putting their pin and why. The map became a real discussion point, which was wonderful to watch and be part of.

I have checked in on the map a few times since the opening and the number of pins on it is more than I had even hoped for. There is a concentration around Pittsburgh, as I suspected would happen, but there are also pins spread around the world. There are many pins around China, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia that I did not expect. The map has been a great way to show our city’s diversity. It’s been a really exciting thing to watch, and I’m overjoyed that visitors seem just as excited about it as I am.

  • Undergraduate Work
  • UAG