Powerful POOL Exhibition Wins Awards
We are pleased to announce that “Pool: A Social History of Segregation” exhibition has received several recent awards. The Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums recognized the exhibit with the 2022 “Making an Impact Award” during the MAAM 2022 Annual Meeting this week. The exhibit was also honored with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s 2022 “Special Places Award.”
The exhibit, created by Victoria Prizzia of Habitheque, is located in Philadelphia’s Historic Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. It provides a robust and visually-enticing history of segregated swimming in America. The exhibit also highlights the impacts of that history felt today. To design the graphics, we worked closely with Prizzia. This collaboration helped create compelling, visually-powerful graphics that supported and elevated the story. The contrast of joy and cruelty shown throughout the story informed our choices. We wanted to honor the sense of community and collective joy that comes with swimming and public pools. At the same time, we needed to highlight the cruelty and discrimination over race and economic divisions. With these contrasting ideas in mind, we drew inspiration from photos of vintage pools. From that inspiration came patterns drawn from decorative tiles, colors, and water motifs. Together with typography, we captured the sentimental comfort of swimming beside large-scale images of dark days in public pool history. Selective coloring on black and white photos helped highlight important details. Pink and aqua tones swirling through watery textures contrasted with images of violence and hatred.
We designed and produced a 116-page exhibit catalog and companion website (www.POOLphl.org). Both serve to complement the physical exhibit and extend its reach outward.