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MEDIA ADVISORY: UW–Madison Public History Project exhibit to open


Sept. 8, 2022

CONTACT: Kelly Tyrrell, director of media relations and strategic communications, (302) 983-6787,



UW–Madison Public History Project exhibit to open

WHAT: UW–Madison’s Public History Project, which began in fall 2019, will mark the opening of its exhibit, Sifting and Reckoning: UW–Madison’s History of Exclusion and Resistance, on Sept. 12 at the Chazen Museum of Art. Media outlets are invited to tour the exhibit on opening day and attend a press briefing.

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 12. Please feel free to arrive any time after 10 a.m. to view the exhibit. There will be a press briefing in the exhibit space from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

WHERE: Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 750 University Ave., Madison. The exhibit is on the main floor.

SPEAKERS: Three speakers will give brief remarks, followed by time for questions:

  • LaVar Charleston, deputy vice chancellor for diversity & inclusion, vice provost and chief diversity officer, and Elzie Higginbottom Director of the Division of Diversity, Equity, & Educational Achievement (DDEEA)
  • Kacie Lucchini Butcher, director of the Public History Project
  • John Zumbrunnen, vice provost for teaching and learning, political science professor

MEDIA: Credentials are not needed, but please let us know you’re coming by RSVPing to


  • The Public History Project is a multiyear effort commissioned by former Chancellor Rebecca Blank to uncover and give voice to those who experienced and challenged bigotry and exclusion on campus and who, through their courage, resilience, and actions, have made the university a better place.
  • The project grew out of a campus study group— commissioned in response to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — that looked into the history of two UW–Madison student organizations in the early 1920s that bore the name of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • In compiling its report, the study group identified a broader pattern of exclusion. It concluded that the history the UW needed to confront was not the aberrant work of a few individuals or groups but a pervasive campus culture of racism and religious bigotry that went largely unchallenged in the early 1900s and was a defining feature of American life in general at that time. Chancellor Blank commissioned the Public History Project as one of several responses to the findings.
  • The Public History Project began in fall 2019 and is set to end in mid-summer 2023. Throughout the project, staff members, including students, have published blog posts based on their research at The project’s museum exhibit runs from Sept. 12 to Dec. 23, 2022. The exhibit’s companion website at will go live Sept. 12 and provide an immersive online experience that will remain available after the physical exhibit closes.
  • A set of FAQs on the Public History Project website and an article on the exhibit in the university’s alumni magazine provide additional background.