Family, Tradition, & Personal Identity

April 16, 2022 - September 4, 2022

This exhibition explores family, tradition, and personal identity observed through objects, lessons, and habits that have been passed down through generations. Whether compelled to display our ancestral portraits, wear out grandfather’s pocket watch, or save cherished letters, we value objects from our past that give us comfort.

From our earliest years of life, we learn about the world around us through the lens of our family. We tend to remember most clearly lessons that are repeated, routine, and customary. Our connections with family are shaped by the activities in daily living; meals, celebrations, language, and music. This family history can be preserved through heirlooms that are valued and shared. Many objects and customs are kept, and some we eventually let go.

The foundation of personal identity begins with family and continues throughout life, building on our own experiences in life and exposure to greater diversity. As you walk through the galleries, consider your own traditions and how they came to be. Ponder what makes them unique to your family. Reflect on obsolete traditions, lost to contemporary times. As part of making your own family traditions, challenge yourself to think about what is meaningful in your own life, and how you may want to be remembered through pictures, food, music, and celebrations.