Exhibition Designer Selected for African American Heritage Site
GREAT BARRINGTON, MA — Clinton Church Restoration has engaged Proun Design, LLC, to provide interpretive planning and exhibit design services for the African American Heritage Site and Cultural Center it is developing at the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington. Proun’s multidisciplinary team will work with the nonprofit and Huff + Gooden Architects to develop a comprehensive interpretive plan for the site, design all exhibits and interpretive elements, and oversee exhibit fabrication and installation.
“We received nine strong proposals from experienced interpretive planning and exhibit design firms around the country,” said Beth Carlson, a Clinton Church Restoration board member who chairs the group’s Programming and Interpretation Committee. “Proun went above and beyond in demonstrating how our vision for this heritage site and cultural center could be brought to life. They have significant experience interpreting African American history and we are excited to have them on board.”
The Proun team, headed by principal and lead designer Chris Danemayer, brings decades of experience designing exhibits for museums and visitor centers. Credits include work at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, James Madison’s Montpelier, the Josiah Henson Park, the Booker T. Washington National Monument, the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, and the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
“From a design standpoint, this project gives us a lot to work with,” Danemayer said. “The site connects with themes that range from faith and resilience to activism and social justice. We embrace the idea that it can be a hybrid—both historic site and active cultural center. It can shed light on the area’s long, varied and often overlooked African American history while also being a hub for contemporary conversations, learning and performances.”
Dr. Kendra Field, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University, will serve as the team’s scholar/historian. Field is the author of Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War, which traces her ancestors’ migratory lives between the Civil War and the Great Migration, and served as assistant editor to David Levering Lewis’ W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography. Her research and teaching areas include race, slavery, freedom, migration and social movements in the nineteenth century; African American family history, memory and public history.
Proun’s core team includes Danemayer; project manager Michelle Jarvis; exhibit designer Neal Mayer; content and AV developer Molly O’Brien; educator, performer and spoken word artist Regie Gibson; and estimator Thomas Gille. Consultants include Dina Bailey (community engagement), Jennifer Doherty of Northern Light Productions (media), Kathy Abernathy of Abernathy Lighting Design (lighting), and Jeff Hayward of People, Places and Design Research (visitor and market analysis.)