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Etched in Stone? Governor Charles Aycock and the Power of Commemoration


Collaboration with UNCG

"Etched in Stone? Governor Charles Aycock and the Power of Commemoration" started with a Museum Studies class at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, lead by Professor Benjamin Filene. Design Dimension was selected to work directly with the class, following another job at Revolution Mill completed with Filene and students in 2016.

Following a decision by the university trustees, Aycock’s name was removed from the UNCG Auditorium. The mission for the exhibit was to create an educational experience, not to erase history, but to research and question decisions made decades ago. The two-year project includes multiple interactives and informative panels to help the audience understand context and uncover more about the “Education Governor”. Ultimately the exhibit discusses commemoration-- how do we properly commemorate and why is it important now and for the future? 

Careful Consideration


This project contains sensitive material in a public place. The Design Dimension team and UNCG students met regularly while developing content and designing the exhibit. Together the group considered how to display this information and create moments of discovery for the visitor. The exhibit is one of many to come explaining how decision makers are dealing with these complicated messages in 2018 and beyond.

"We continue to hear that the removal of a name is an attempt to remove history. I think we want to make a strong statement that we're not erasing history. I think the exhibit is probing that history so we can better understand it."

- Provost Dana Dunn, UNCG

Accolades and Awards

The University of North Carolina Greensboro Public History Program was selected as a 2019 Award of Excellence winner by the Leadership in History awards committee for the exhibit Etched in Stone? Governor Charles Aycock and the Power of Commemoration. In addition, the exhibit was also selected as a 2019 HIP (History in Progress) award winner by the Leadership in History awards committee.


The AASLH Leadership in History Awards is the nation’s most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history.

The HIP Award, given at the discretion of the committee, is an additional award for an Award of Excellence winner whose nomination is highly inspirational, exhibits exceptional scholarship, and/or is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships, or collaborations, creative problem solving, or unusual project design and inclusiveness. Only 5% or fewer of the total number of Award of Excellence winners can be given the HIP Award. 


Masterplan Development

Collaboration with UNCG Students




Interactive and Media Elements



UNCG Museum Studies Class

Benjamin Filene

Dash Studio


"Aycock Auditorium" name comes off UNCG Building

 "A year away: UNCG making progress on Aycock exhibit"

"The Syllabus: UNCG, Aycock and textbooks"


2019 Award of Excellence

2019 HIP (History in Progress)

Process and Design with the UNCG Class
In-progress Installation
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