Message from Executive Director Don Carleton
Left to right: Margaret Thomas, Steve Northup, Diana Walker, Dennis Brack, Lucian Perkins, Eric Draper, Alison Beck, Alyssa Adams, Don Carleton, Dirck Halstead, David Valdez, Germaine Swanson, David Hume Kennerly, Darryl Heikes, and Frank Johnston.
The News to History exhibit opening on Feb. 15 was a historic occasion in and of itself. We had an unprecedented number of our photojournalists on hand to celebrate the exhibit, as you can see in the photo above. (And no, it wasn’t easy for these folks to be on the other side of the camera! There were plenty of suggestions from the group on how to take this photo.) It was a great reunion for these photographers, who were literally in the trenches together in their coverage of the major news events of the past 50 years. It was also a chance for the Briscoe Center to express its gratitude and appreciation to these donors who have entrusted us with their lives’ work.
We followed up that event with a special program on March 7, held in partnership with the LBJ Library and Museum. Diana Walker and Lucian Perkins entertained a packed audience with their favorite images from the News to History exhibit. Local broadcast legend Neal Spelce moderated a fascinating discussion on more than 20 photos. The discussion ranged from Marilyn Monroe and war photography to the changing nature of White House access and the impact of digital memes. It was a great way to explore the exhibit’s contents from the photographer’s perspective.
The reactions to the exhibit from visitors, media, and the toughest critics — the photographers themselves — have been gratifying, to say the least. We’ve received some wonderful feedback that reflects the power of these images, especially when collected in one space. We wanted to give visitors a memorable experience, and make a tour of the exhibit akin to walking through almost eight decades of American history. I’m thrilled to report that by all accounts, it appears we’ve succeeded.
Be sure to visit the exhibit at the LBJ Library before it closes October 1.
I am greatly saddened by the loss of one of the center’s most stalwart supporters, Mary Margaret Farabee, who passed away earlier this month. The Briscoe Center, like countless other organizations in Austin, was fortunate to have Mary Margaret’s involvement. Her husband, former state senator Ray Farabee, was a dedicated member of our Advisory Council, and while Mary Margaret was not technically on our council, she and Ray were a team in everything they did. She was just as involved as Ray in the center, and I relied on her counsel and encouragement. We were fortunate to conduct a personal oral history project with Mary Margaret last summer, and her memories and insights are a permanent part of our collections. Our deepest condolences go to Ray and the rest of Mary Margaret’s family and friends. She will be missed.
Don Carleton, Ph.D.
J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History