One year later, Our Marathon exhibit offers a ‘moment for reflection’

A new exhibit marking the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings is on display at International Village. Designed by undergraduates, the exhibit uses stories and images from Northeastern’s Our Marathon digital archive to give audiences a chance to reflect on and remember the impact of the tragic events a year ago, said Elizabeth Dillon, the archive’s primary investigator and a professor of English.

An opening reception for “Our Marathon: Sharing Stories and Images from the Boston Bombings,” was held on Thursday afternoon at International Village. The exhibit was designed by SCOUT, Northeastern’s new student-run design agency, and will be on display through May 2.

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities, the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, University Libraries, and the Office of Marketing and Communications are supporting the exhibit. NULab oversees the Our Marathon digital archive, which has catalogued more than 4,000 stories, photos, videos, and oral histories from the tragic events of April 15, 2013.

“It’s really terrific that they put it together so it allows you to look at different aspects of that day,” Dillon said. “The one-year anniversary is a huge moment for reflection and the archive is a space where people can participate in that reflection.”

The exhibit features three large paneled sections, each with its own title. The section titled “Our Stories” features quotations from newspaper articles about the bombings. “Our City” includes race day photos, some by Nabila Abuljadayel, AMD’16, and “Our Strength” features images of memorials made in response to the attacks.

James McGrath, the co-director of Our Marathon project, noted that the group wanted to mark the one-year anniversary with an exhibit that highlighted the uncertainty of that day as well as how the city came together following the tragedy.

“It’s just great to see the actual, physical exhibit after months of planning,” said McGrath, a doctoral student of English. “We wanted to make sure we did something on campus to acknowledge the support Northeastern has given this project as well as the actual contributions the Northeastern community has made to the archive.”

This exhibit is the first project completed by SCOUT, which aims to fulfill the design needs of the Northeastern community. The lead designers were Kat Garcia, AMD’15, and Stephanie Lee, AMD’15.

“They asked us to help them create a narrative,” Garcia said of the collaboration between SCOUT and Our Marathon. “We looked for photos and quotations that would invoke the most emotion and resonate with the most with people.”

When Our Marathon was established, Dillon said she hoped it would serve as a therapeutic way for people to share their stories about the marathon bombings. “But I’ve also had a stronger sense during the last year of just how difficult healing is and what healing means for different people,” she explained.

Anyone who would like to share his or her story from the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon is encouraged to visit the Our Marathon website.