by Kelly Joyce
We are all familiar with official maps of an area: topographic maps, tourist maps, demographic maps, etc. Such maps highlight particular spaces, bringing certain sites or details of sites to the fore. Stories, official or otherwise, are part of creating memory. Although official tours or maps evoke symbolically and emotionally valuable sites, they may not include places that are particularly important to community members.
Anthropologists, artists, historians, sociologists and other scholars investigate the social construction of place and its meanings to individuals and collectivities/communities. Work on the cultural meaning of places brings forward community members’ views and memories, highlighting the varied meanings attached to particular areas, buildings and landscapes.
When you think of the official maps of William and Mary, what sites are highlighted? Crim Dell? The Wren Building? When you think of your own cultural and memory maps of William and Mary, what sites come to mind? Morton Hall? The Lodges? In this project, we focus on the Lodges. Built in the 1940s, the Lodges are and have been a symbolically potent place on campus. When some Lodges were to be torn down to build what is now called the Sadler Center, alumni and current students protested.
Now, the Lodges aim to be transformed yet again—into Eco-Lodges that maintain the buildings’ character and importance of place to the William and Mary community.
The Lodges also provide a way to think about broader social changes (locally and globally). As part of the community for over 60 years, talking to people about the Lodges helps document and understand changes in gender roles, higher education, technology, transportation, and more.
We look forward to hearing from you. We are interested in collecting photos and conducting interviews that raise and focus on your personal memories of the site.