For as long as there have been nations, those nations have built walls. A History
of Walls: The Borders We Build asks why. The traveling exhibition, from Overland Traveling Exhibits,
explores the history and future of several of the world’s major geopolitical barriers. The exhibition
will be on display from Jan. 14 through March 1, 2020, at the Chandler Museum, 300 S. Chandler
A History of Walls takes a closer look at four historically-significant walls: The Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, the Israel/West Bank Barrier, and the U.S./Mexico Border Wall. Each wall is examined as a historical, political, and cultural phenomenon. The exhibit puts a special focus on the lives of people affected by these imposing and oftentimes dangerous structures. Visitors will find themselves challenged to consider the role of walls in their lives, whether those walls are far away or right next door. The exhibit explores each wall through words, images, video and written interactives. Exhibit text is presented in both English and Spanish.
A History of Walls includes a striking artistic interpretation of a typical section of the U.S./Mexico wall, featuring a silhouette of the bollard-style construction favored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Coming face-to-face with the wall gives a sense of just how imposing these structures can be, how many resources they require, and the effort it takes to build a wall.
On Thursday, Jan. 30, an evening presentation will accompany this exhibition starting at 7 p.m. in
the museum’s Saguaro Room. University of Arizona professor Albrecht Classen will present “The
History of the (Berlin) Wall: German Experiences for Arizona,” which will take the history of the
Berlin Wall as a starting point to address what walls have done to people and cultures throughout
time. Can the Berlin Wall help Arizonans understand the critical issues better? Even if that might
not be the case, the history of that ominous wall and the cultural implications deserve our close
attention. This program is made possible through the support of Arizona Humanities.
Chandler Museum, considered one of the founding institutions for this exhibit, is one of the first
organizations nationwide to have this exhibit on display.
Chandler Museum hours of operation are:
10 a.m to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m., Sunday; and closed Monday. Admission is free.