Written by Camille White
As part of the Centennial celebrations, the Department of History and Political Science has put together a year-long series called the 1924 Experience which will explore the context of Harding’s beginnings through exhibits, speakers and events.
Assistant Professor of History Kimberly Laing, who serves as the Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Distinguished Chair of History and Political Science, is the coordinator of the 1924 Experience.
“The Ganus Chair’s job is to find ways to expand the love and understanding of history at Harding,” Laing said. “As a historian, I was interested in what was 1924 like. When Harding started, what else was going on in the world?”
Laing said the 1924 Experience will involve around 20 different events. There will be speakers from Harding and all over the country, including Dr. Beverly Gage from Yale University. Gage is a 2023 Pulitzer Prize winner and will be speaking during Homecoming week on J. Edgar Hoover and the creation of the FBI.
“I just kind of went through and was like, what would I want to see if I were trying to learn about 1924,” Laing said. “And what can I get?”
In addition to seminars, there will be experience-based activities such as visiting the one-room schoolhouse at Pioneer Village and the virtual reality Harlem Renaissance.
Students can collect stamps and photos in a scrapbook from attending events. Laing said the more events students come to and collect stamps for, the more likely they are to receive free tickets for The 1924 Experience Dinner in April, where guests can dress in formal 1920s attire and experience authentic food and music from the decade. Scrapbooks are available in the History and Political Science office, Holland-Waller Center room 101.
The library is one of many spots on campus hosting a traveling exhibit of the 1924 timeline. Electronic resources librarian Amy McGohan said the library was a great location for this exhibit because of the high number of student visitors.
“Our gate counts are higher than ever,” McGohan said. “We are having so many students in here, so this is a great place to put it – where a lot of people will see it. The program itself is amazing. There’s so many things going on, and I would really encourage people to go to it.”
Another activity the Harding community can participate in is the Flight Around the World Contest. The winning two students and a faculty or staff member will go on a series of flights around the world in eight days – paid for by the Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Distinguished Chair of History and Political Science. Students may apply in teams of two of the same gender and must submit a proposed itinerary that details what flights they would take and overnight stops they would include during the trip.
Junior Kit Moore said she is excited about the contest.
“To get to go around the world with a friend and a faculty member – it’s just a really cool experience that I would like to have, but at least I’m glad someone will get to have it,” Moore said.
The contest will close Oct. 12. The winners will be chosen in a random draw and announced Oct. 19 at an event where Dr. Jeremy Kinney, associate director for research and curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, will speak about 1920s aviation.
The first event of the 1924 Experience, a screening of the film “Compulsion” at the Rialto Theater, will be held Sept. 16. Events will continue until April 20, 2024.