Student Art History Projects

Have you ever wondered what life was like on UMD’s campus during the Vietnam War?  Or how our university handled sexual assault cases throughout the decades?  How did the Civil Rights Movement impact our campus?

Well, look no further because these five fabulous art history projects have all that information and more!

In the fall of 2018, the students in ARTH260 produced a variety of projects about activism, sexual assault gender inequalities and other important topics using research found in Special Collections.  Among these creations were four websites and a video.

Each group project was accompanied by a mixture of art, whether it was paintings, photographs or decorative flyers plucked from our very own archives, and extensive information each group researched for their topics.


The homepage of “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.”

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” discusses the double-standards that women experience during their education and in the workforce.  Using yearbook photos from our archives and speaking with students, the website highlights sexist standards women are given — particularly in the mathematics and scientific fields — while men are provided with different guidelines to follow.

Resilient” displays activism done through artistic creations.  In this website, students have created a digital art gallery featuring several pieces of artwork done by students on the issue of mental health found in sexual assault survivors.  This project collaborated with programs SketchUp, Omeka and NeatLine Plugin.

Activism at UMD” shows how students at UMD took on activist roles and how the university handles these forms of activism.  Activism from the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, rights for women and the LGBTQ community and issues students currently face on campus are analyzed.


The homepage of “Screw Your Expectations.”

Screw Your Expectations” covers the experiences and evolution of womanhood spanning over five decades.  Each decade has its own separate page with photos and descriptions of iconic women during that time and brief explanations of what was happening on the UMD campus.

The lone video in the bunch, “Sexual Assault at UMD: Past and Present,” digs deep into the sexual assaults students experience on campus.  The video uses several pieces of archival material from Special Collections, specifically from the “Diamondback” and the “Black Explosion.”  The project presents detailed research on how cases of sexual assault are handled by UMD.

Each project was creative when using the content they chose to include.  Not one project looks or is written the same.  So even though some of the topics covered by the students are the same, each group took different approaches when analyzing each one.  There are still new pieces of information you take away from each project.

Great work, students!  We look forward to seeing more awesome projects like these in the future.

Post by Elena Macias, graduate student studying journalism, student assistant for Instruction and Outreach for Special Collections.

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