Explore the Archives
Michael Sand Archives

Exhibit Design Since the Sixties

Explore Michael Sand’s museum exhibits and other work. A work-in-progress, the collection spans decades of design history, cultural and political history, Boston city government, and more.

The Children of Cardozo...Tell It Like It Is

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In the 1960s, the DC public schools were just a decade from Brown v. Board of Education. By 1968, they'd begun to run up against the experimental ethos of that decade, with the introduction of programs like the Cardozo Program and the Model School Division (MDS).

"Recognizing the need for reform, the Washington, D. C. Public School System sought to initiate change by setting up a Model School Division (MSD)," states a dissertation exploring the MDS experiment. "This act designed to initiate and foster change in the D.C. schools, led to the creation of the Innovation Team as a vehicle for system change...The experiences of the Innovation Team pointed out the need for indigenous mentors or agents, as initiators of change, in an urban public school system. Members of the group, as well as the leader, were employees of the Washington, D.C. school system. The Team had a common bond of classroom experiences, ethnic identity and educational ideology."

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Cardozo neighborhood in Washington D.C. experienced several days of riots, violence, and fires. It would take decades for the neighborhood to recover, but in the immediate weeks and months that followed, the Innovation Team went to work.

Working with local teachers, the team invited neighborhood children to share their experiences of this series of events. The work the children produced was turned into a Smithsonian Institution exhibit designed by Michael, then Design Director of the Education Development Center (EDC), a partner in the school program. The exhibit was displayed on the National Mall, then traveled the country. Several publications were produced from the initiative.

"Children witnessed the rioting, and the experience was rather devastating. We just couldn't leave it alone," said Anne W. Pitts, an Innovation teacher at the time. "This was a catharsis, to get it out of the system." (From D.C.'s Riots Through the Eyes of Children)

We believe there are additional related projects in the archives that we have yet to identify (and at least one known project: Cardozo Raps).

Further reading:

Man gluing a box
A man in a tie and white shirt squats down to glue a flap onto a cardboard box.

Child's drawing with an X through it
Close up of what appears to be a child's drawing, featuring a block cross (or letter "t") on a red shape, surrounded by white.

A woman folds closed a cardboard box
A woman in a red dress leans over a cardbox as she folds it closed. Next to her are three stacks of large cardbozrd boxes. A pack of Marlboro cigarettes pokes out of her dress pocket.

The team carries a stack of boxes
Four people attempt to move a stack of large, empty cardboard boxes to create an exhibit display approximately 8-10 feet tall. A woman in a green dress holds the bottom of the stack, while two men in button-down shirts and a woman in a black…

Two people, a stack of boxes, and a truck
A woman in a patterned shirt and a skirt faces the back of a box truck, holding out her arms, as a man in a shirt and tie stands in the truck, holding a vertical stack of four cardboard boxes out to her. They're parked on a street with what appears…

Three people, a stack of boxes, and a truck
Three people in office attire stand in front of the back of a box truck. A man in a buttoned-down shirt holds a stack of at least five cardboard boxes from the bottom, while a man and a woman in office attire support the stack. There are more boxes…

Two men load boxes on or off a truck while a security guard watches
A man stands in front of the back of a box truck supporting a stack of five cardboard boxes, while a man in the back of the truck supports the top of the stack. A Smithsonian Institution security guard watches them with his hands on his hips.

The team prepares box displays
In the background, a man and a woman in office attire prepare a stack of cardboard boxes. A woman in the foreground prepares another stack, folding the top of the top box closed.

The team loads or unloads boxes in a truck
Four people unload cardboard box displays from the back of a truck, each handling a box or stack of boxes.

I'm Hip To Check You Later (child's drawing)
Close-up of a child's crayon drawing depicting a person in profile with black hair, wearing a blue sweater. A speech bubble reads, "Man, I am grovin' today, dig it." A second speecg bubble from someone out of frame reads "Yeh man, I'm hip to check…

Street violence (child's drawing)
A crayon drawing of a neighborhood street lined with storefronts, with signs reading "John's Bargain", "Market," and "Peter Pan." Two people holding clubs or wooden sticks are shattering the windows of John's Bargain and the Market. In the street in…

Stacks of exhibit display boxes
Six tall stacks of cardboard boxes with children's drawings and quotes mounted on the some of the boxes.

Stacks of exhibit display boxes
Six tall stacks of cardboard boxes with children's drawings and quotes mounted on the some of the boxes.

Our Ancestors Have Been Slaves (child's quote)
A cardboard box used as exhibit display reads "But for over 100 years our ancesters have been slaves for the white man. And if things don't change we always will be," in child's handwriting.

If I Were a White Person This Weekend (child's quote)
A cardboard box used as exhibit display reads "If I were a white person this weekend I would put tar all over me or go to a place and hide," in child's handwriting.

Box displays with child's quote and drawing
Exhibit display of a child's quote reading "A soul brother is a person who love each other" on the side of a cardboard box. A cardboard exhibit display next to it holds a child's drawing of a series of storefronts with a sign reading "Soul Bro."

Run Sally (child's drawing)
Close up of a child's drawing of a stick figure girl standing between a man and a woman. The man holds an object labelled "Ham," and a speech bubble from him reads "run Sally."

How I Would Like My City To Look (child's drawing)
Close up of a child's drawing of a street scene. A large black shape followed by four large, colorful buildings span the page. The buildings are pink, blue, yellow, and red. In front of the buldings is a large swath of green grass, with a pink…

Cardboard box displays inside the church doors
Standing inside a church, looking out towards the front doors. To the left of the arched doorway are two vertical stacks of cardboard box displays. To the right are a stack of boxes in the configuration of a cross with four boxes in a line on the…

Cardboard box displays inside the church doors
Standing inside a church, looking directly toward the front doors. The shot is framed symetrically, looking dorectly toward a stack of boxes in the configuration of a cross, with a vertical stack of boxes to the left of the doors and a vertical stack…

Young boy in a hat
A young boy in a black, shearling-lined hat with ear flaps and a corduroy jacket looks directly at the camera.

Woman in stockings standing on a chair preparing boxes
A woman in a short navy dress stands on a school chair, bending over a large cardboard boxes as she folds it into shape while preparing exhibit displays. The tops of her dark stockings are visible.

Two women and a stack of boxes
Two women assemble a vertical stack of large cardboard boxes. One woman wears a green dress, and the other wears a green and orange-checked dress. The boxes obscure the women's faces, so all that can be seen of them are their arms and torsos.

Our Ancestors Have Been Slaves (child's quote)
A cardboard box used as exhibit display reads "But for over 100 years our ancesters have been slaves for the white man. And if things don't change we always will be," in child's handwriting.

Projects in this collection: