Thursday, January 17, 2013

250 Years on a Wall

Step inside Christ Church Cambridge, the Episcopal Church in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and you’ll quickly spot an amazing timeline on the wall. It measures 18 feet long by 2.5 feet tall. That’s a lot of square footage, but it contains all 250 years of the church’s history.
Christine Reynolds, designer of
Christ Church Cambridge's 250-year timeline
(Photo copyright 2013 Amey Callahan)
The main art director involved in the timeline’s design and installation is Christine Reynolds. Chris is a superb professional in the book arts; she has shepherded six books by through design and production since 2008. She’s also a specialist on history installations and exhibits such as this one. Here are Chris's insights into the creation of the timeline:
“The church anticipated they’d research, write, and produce the timeline in four months; it took longer than that, as the combination of text and 106 images developed into a richer and more nuanced presentation. We had the good fortune of a team composed of parishioners who were photographers, an archivist, a researcher, and an architect, all of whom got along very well. For research, we drew on two books written about the church history.

“I worked with the team to organize their information along the themes of the church’s response to war, the changing architecture of the church, role of women, race relations, and the rectors and their legacies. I must say that my work with you and our many timelines held me in good stead. 

Parishioners at the unveiling on January 13, 2013
(Photo copyright 2013 Christine Reynolds)
“The installation and unveiling of the timeline went well. One parishioner saw himself in a 1965 photograph in the timeline with Martin Luther King. Another parishioner in his 70s pointed out the many times he was in the timeline—mostly as a child in the boy choir. That’s one perk of growing older; you’ve a longer history of your own!

“The panel is ink-jet printed direct to a Komatex substrate (a synthetic material 6mm thick), taped to the wall with VHB (very heavy bond) tape, and supported by wood molding. We didn't anticipate that so many people would actually touch the timeline (!), so we are looking into providing a covering of some sort.”

Congratulations to Chris, the volunteer team, and Christ Church Cambridge on an exhibition of lasting substance.