Around the Web: Hop Into History

Published: November 28, 2017 by Katie Kuryla

When I’m in Nashville, I have this craft brewery I love to go to. They have wonderful combinations of drinks that make beer taste great, my favorite is their lemon meringue beer. But it’s not just the beer that is exciting, it is the open space that the brewery provides. Southern Grist in Nashville showcases local artists on their walls and once they are in their bigger space, they will be hosting events as well. But this open space has a lot of potential with a lot of outreach for engaging the community which in turns means an opportunity for archival engagement. And that is what Erin Lawrimore had in mind when she contacted Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The program, Hop Into History, has been making movement in North Carolina. It is a pop up exhibit with a designated theme and would be displayed only for two hours. Lawrimore choose Gibb’s brewery because they were a local leader in providing space for community groups and nonprofits to hold events. Using the brewery gave a chance for interact with attendees and engage new users. The Gibbs and Lawrimore created a Facebook event page to promote the exhibit through social media and used it to promote their first pop-up exhibit that focused on civil rights activities in Greensboro in the 1950s and 1960s. Larimore used content from the University of North Carolina Greensboro large digital project and original items in enclosures to allow for safe handling, and high-quality color reproductions for the exhibit. Also Lawrimore brought coloring pages, promotional postcards, and other materials for guests to take away.

Hop into History is such a great way to attract new users. It has spurred other college archives to use the idea and interact. One of the best moments for the Hop into History program was when one attendee found an ancestor through the Digital Library on American Slavery database when they had an exhibit on the issues of slavery and freedom in Guilford County, North Carolina.

I’ve never been much of beer drinker in the first place, Southern Grist being the one brewery to actually catch my attention. I would have never thought to use their space to invite people to see more history, take the archival materials out of the library and into the communities. Some might wonder if maybe putting alcohol and priceless items together is a good idea but it is only displayed for two hours. I would love to see this in other cities as well, there is so much opportunity for archives.

Their tagline HISTORY IS FOR EVERYONE is correct and this allows people to see that. This gives more people opportunities to learn about local history and interact with these important and interesting documents and drink a tasty beverage while advocating an archives!


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