Exhibition Award

In May 2016, the Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies exhibition was honored for excellence in label writing by the American Alliance of Museums, the national professional association for museums. The juror’s comments read:

“Several of the labels submitted this year make use of guest writers, and this is the most effective. The museum’s object ID is joined by personal commentaries on the travel bag. Together, the writings expand my understanding of Operation Babylift, the significance of the object, and the experience of those involved. Allowing in the voices of these people gives the bag, and presumably the entire exhibit, emotional power that’s rare in a museum exhibit.”

– Eileen Campbell

Three of the four labels were written by community contributors to the exhibition: Anh Đào Kolbe, Lana Mae Noone, Aimee Phan, and Heather Sharp. The co-curators (Laura Callen/Adoption Museum Project and Liz Clevenger/Presidio Trust) and Presidio Trust Historian (Barbara Berglund) wrote the object ID label.

This same highly personal, community-led label writing approach was used for all eight objects in the gallery. Visitors could place the object in context of the historic event, and also reflect on the different meanings the object evoked for people who participated in the event — through their own, unedited words. This area of the gallery was called “Perspectives: The Meanings of Objects”.