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Posts Tagged ‘artifacts’

-contributed by Cathy Faye.

Humor me, here, with a little Thursday quiz:  what do a Nobel Prize, Wonder Woman, and hand guns all have in common? If you guessed “psychology,” you win! Alas, I probably should have tried harder not to give away the answer in the blog title.

Another thing they have in common: they will be featured in the exhibits at the National Museum of Psychology, opening in Akron in 2018!

The new National Museum of Psychology will take up the entire first floor of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

The Museum is almost fully designed. We will soon begin fabrication of exhibits!

I’m super excited about this museum. But, when I tell my friends and family about it, they all give me this same puzzled look: what on earth is in a psychology museum?? They generally seem to think that the idea of such a museum is strange, that the history of psychology is not very interesting, or that they won’t really understand the stories inside such a museum.

Here’s the thing, though: psychology is EVERYWHERE. The achievement and intelligence tests you took in college, the way you discipline your children, the design of your cell phone keypad, the things your dog learns at obedience class. Yup, psychological ideas, research, and practice went into all of those things.

 

 

In the 1950s, psychologist Alphonse Chapanis researched telephone keypads used by telephone operators. Operators made the least errors entering numbers when numbers on the keypad were arranged in a 3 by 3 display. This finding influenced the design of the telephone keypads we use today.

 

Group testing of intelligence took off in the United States after World War I, when “psychological examiners” created and administered intelligence tests to more than 1 million recruits.

Psychologists Keller Breland and Marian Breland Bailey and biologist Robert Bailey used psychological principles of learning and behavior to train animals in the 1950s. Their work is still used in animal training today.

But psychology’s history goes beyond cell phones and dog tricks; it is fully embedded in our social worlds and our identities. Psychological research was part of the landmark Supreme Court decision that ended legal racial segregation in the US in 1954. It was a producer and product of women’s equality as early as the 1900s. And psychological research helped to change perceptions of homosexuality in the 1970s.  For more than a century, psychologists have been exploring the human experience and their work has ultimately changed our lived experiences.

Psychologist and feminist Leta Hollingworth published research that supported women’s equality in the early 1900s.

 

Psychologist Mamie Phipps Clark testifying in the Brown v. Board of Education case that made racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. 

The National Museum of Psychology tells this story. It tells the story of psychology’s history, which is essentially a story of all these ideas and practices—both big and small—that have shaped and continue to shape our everyday lives. You engage with psychology everywhere, every day, often without realizing it.

So, when my friends and family ask me, “what on earth is in a psychology museum?” I tell them all of this.  They are patient people!

My mom and my aunt, visiting me at work to finally figure out what on earth is in a psychology museum.

So, a follow-up quiz. How are the Nobel Prize, Wonder Woman, and hand guns all linked to psychology? Some of you with a penchant for history may already know. If so, share your knowledge in the comments! As for the rest of you, you’ll just have to visit the National Museum of Psychology to find out! Stay tuned to our facebook page to find out when we’ll be ready to open the doors.

(Shameless plug: we sure could use your help raising the remainder of the funds to support fabrication and installation of the exhibits. Donations of all sizes are very, very, very welcome here. It’ll be worth it; I promise!)

 

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Contributed by Jodi Kearns & Cathy Faye.

On June 29, 2017, we participated in a teacher workshop on immigration at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Stan Hywet offers an educational program called “Meet the Staff” for middle school students to come with their teachers and learn about the staff who, around a hundred years ago, did the baking, cleaning, groundskeeping, horse training, and other house and garden jobs. Stan Hywet is the name given to the mansion built and owned by the Seiberling family. F. A. Seibering  founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

We prepared a lesson with portable, fabricated test kits to support teachers who bring their students to participate in “Meet the Staff.”

To begin our portion of the workshop, Cathy gave a brief history of psychological testing at Ellis Island and demonstrated with a volunteer each of the four tests we brought with us. Entry into the United States between 1892 and about 1942 required examinations of immigrants, including psychology testing. Cathy told the teachers

To be admitted to the United States in the early 1900s, immigrants had to be free from physical illness. They had to be capable of earning a living. But they also had to be free of “mental defect” and possess adequate mental ability. In the early 1900s, US immigration officials were therefore looking for a way to screen out “mental defectives” among the more than 5,000 immigrants that sought entry into the United States every single day. Congress had passed laws that barred “lunatics,” “idiots,” “imbeciles,” and “the feeble-minded” from entering the United States. These labels, used today as insults, were at the time diagnostic categories, indicating varied levels of intelligence. For example, a “moron” was anyone who scored 70 or below on standard intelligence tests of the day.

After initial inspection, some immigrants were triaged into a separate line for further inspection, which involved a battery of psychological tests that were designed to be useful in cases where language skills were a barrier. The three tests used at Ellis Island that we demonstrated for the teachers are Cube Imitation Test; Form Board Test; and Feature Profile Test.

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An Akron-area teacher demonstrating the Form Board Test.

After a brief history and demonstration on the original artifacts, Jodi told the teachers that they would come to their classrooms and teach this lesson on Ellis Island psychological testing. In order to do this, we fabricated each of the tests using foam core and wood. Additionally, we recreated the tests with administration and scoring instructions on paper, so each students can have a turn being both tester and immigrant.

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To the left, a teacher works on the Form Board Test. To the top, another works on the Feature Profile Test. In the blue box, notice the edge of the Cube Imitation Test. This test kit shows examples of the fabrications of the original tests.

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Teachers working on the Feature Profile Test.

Finally, we wrote a full lesson plan and mapped the learning objectives to the Ohio Department of Education standards for social studies, to the American Library Association standards for information literacy, and to the American Psychological Association standards for teaching high school psychology. Teachers can use the lesson and test kits on their own, or invite us to come join them. Have a look at the lesson plan: EllisIsland_LessonPlan_Final.

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-Contributed by Cori Iannaggi.

As a volunteer for the CCHP, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of different projects. When I first started in the summer of 2012, the first task assigned to me was to go through and identify the uncataloged objects within the collection. To me this was like being a kid in the candy store! I would open up the boxes and find all of these cool and unusual objects – some of them being objects I was familiar with, but most of them being objects I had no idea what they were. As undergraduate in psychology, I went into this project thinking I was going to be able to identify these objects with no problem, but it soon became apparent to me that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did (shocker?…not really).

As I began going through the collection, I found myself coming across a lot of the same items, like shock boxes, timers, lenses, and of course, tuning forks (it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t come across at least one a day)! While all of these regular finds were intriguing and valuable to the field of psychology, it was the days that I came across the abnormal and curious that were the best.

Lens kit #329b from Walter R. Miles and Catharine Cox Miles papers

Lens kit #329b
from Walter R. Miles and Catharine Cox Miles papers

Master shocker unit #419 Donated by Ryan Tweney / Bowling Green University

Master shocker unit #419
Donated by Ryan Tweney / Bowling Green University

Tuning Forks!

Tuning Forks!

Fast forward two years later, and I am now a graduate student in the Kent State University Library and Information Science program specializing in museum studies. Even though the collection project I did only lasted one summer, I regularly thought about how much fun I had working with the collection, and of all the wonderful objects I was in contact with on a daily basis. It then dawned on me that the fascinating and unusual objects I found would make a terrific exhibit. This would give me a chance to work with the collection again and allow the public the opportunity to see objects they normally wouldn’t have the chance of seeing (win-win in my eyes!).

Cori Iannaggi with her Cabinet of Wonder

Cori Iannaggi with her Cabinet of Wonder

Located in the CCHP’s reading room, Cabinet of Wonders highlights all of my favorite finds from the collection project back in 2012. The exhibit is broken in to two sections:

  • The Unusual – Highlighting the exciting, surprising, and simply put, cool objects, found in the collection.
  • The Unknown – A selection of objects I was unable to identify during my research.

The unknown section also gives visitors an opportunity to share their psychology knowledge with me by encouraging them to identify the unknown objects on exhibit. A notebook was placed outside the case and provides space for visitors to tell me anything they know about the objects I could not identify. Once the objects are identified, they will be removed and another object will be added. If you are unable to make it to the exhibit, we will also be posting pictures of the unknown objects on the CCHP Facebook and Twitter pages in the hopes of increasing the odds of identification.

In fact, why not start now?! Do you know what this object is and how it’s related to the field of psychology?

Unidentified Object #212

Unidentified Object #212

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-Contributed by Nicky Dunlap.

Although I usually leave the archives at the CHP with a little something extra (usually it’s dirt on my face, tape on my clothes, or packing peanuts stuck to my body), sometimes that little something extra is an experience. Today, I had the opportunity to travel back through time. Before Facebook, before Netflix, before wi-fi. I took a trip back to 1981 (before I was even born!). So, buckle up. I’m going to take you on a ride. Together, we’re going on a journey to the past!

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It’s crazy to think of our world without the technology we have today. I was born in 1990, so I grew up around technology, and I’ve watched it evolve in so many ways. Sometimes it’s nice to get a little taste of what our world was like before technology. You imagine how exciting it must have been when the first computers were beginning to emerge. Little did we know that our whole world was about to change.

Today while I was doing my thing, processing artifacts, going through object after object, I came across a big box that was almost too heavy to lift. Inside was a blast from the past. A computer system so big that I couldn’t even wrap my arms around it. Not quite the same as the mini iPads and notebooks we have today.

It’s 1981. A new machine has just been invented. A computerized testing system that was used to perform psychological testing on subjects. Dr. Ann M. O’Roark, a prominent clinical psychologist, was deep into the process of opening testing centers for these machines to be used.

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The machines were very large and heavy, and they look similar to a big computer monitor. They had letter and number keys, recall and next buttons, and “yes,” “no,” and “don’t know” keys. Participants would sit at these machines, answering questions displayed on the screen. These machines were used to practice decision making skills and for other psychological assessment purposes.

Dr. Ann M. O’Roark was determined to open several assessment centers where these machines would be installed. We can see from her correspondence with her partner, Del R. Poling, that she had many ideas for the development of these centers.

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Along with correspondence with Poling and other miscellaneous notes, we were also provided with manuals and brochures for the Psychometer 3000 and a box of floppy discs full of data for the testing system.

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Here is one letter from Dr. O’Roark to Poling that I find to be personal and charming, yet still expressing the importance of the project they were working on and setting it in motion:

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“Del,                                                 October 18, 1981

Hope you are feeling better in at least a dozen ways.

I have updated a statement of our agreements. It was surprising how many things had changed. Sure would be great if we can get flying now – for your psychological perspectives and for my last quarter’s red balance.

If you will take the time, stay in touch and follow through, there is no reason this shouldn’t be a good show.

Ann”

I don’t know about you, but I just find something about reading old letters so fascinating. It’s almost like you can picture Dr. O’Roark sitting down to write that letter to Poling. These kinds of things I find in the archives really add a whole new dimension to working at the CHP.

I hope you enjoyed our little trip to the past. Stay tuned for more interesting findings and adventures with me at the CHP!

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-Contributed by Nicole Dunlap.

Have you ever been given the task (or pleasure) of exploring your grandparents’ attic or storage unit? You sit down and go through boxes and boxes of items full of history and character. Some items dated back to long before you were born; touched by people you’ve never met. You try to imagine the items being used by your grandparents or even being used at all. Some of the items you’ve never seen before. What are these things? How was this used? What was this used for? A black and white movie plays in your head of what things were like back then. What would it be like to live in a world where these types of things were used daily? These are questions I ask myself regularly while interning at the Center for the History of Psychology. Except instead of my grandparents, it was psychologists, doctors, professors and intellectuals that were handling these items.

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My name is Nicky, and while interning here at the CHP, I’ve learned a lot. Not only about the history of psychology, but also about the art and science of preserving, displaying and providing access to these items. Being a student of Library Science with a background in psychology, I am fascinated with the things I find in the archives at the CHP. My job is to sort through these items, collect information about them, photograph them, and share them with the public through our online collections here at the CHP. Like a kid exploring her grandparents’ attic, I relish in the smell of dust and the magic in the air as I dive into these boxes like they are portals to a past world; a world full of psychological apparatuses, measuring devices, and experimental equipment. Okay, so not all of the items I come across would be considered “magical,” but there are lots of really cool and interesting instruments with intriguing backstories. You can check out our online collection of these psychological artifacts here!

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In future blog posts, I hope to give you a little taste of the archival adventure that is my internship, but here’s a little breakdown of my daily tasks. I am working on sorting through dozens of boxes full of psychological artifacts that need to be added to our online collection. My job is to find out what these items are, what they were used for, and where they came from. After recording this data, I photograph and edit the items in a consistent way to upload to our online collection. Finally, I create labels for the boxes, and place them back on shelves, making sure to record the new location.

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It’s a lot of work: organizing, deciphering, photographing, editing, and labeling; but in reality, the CHP is similar to a big playground for me. I’m learning so much and having fun. What more could I ask for?

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