Story+ Project

The Allen Building Takeover @ 50 Exhibit


February 13, 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Allen Building Takeover, a protest by black students that forever changed Duke’s student body, its curriculum, and its future. The Allen Building Takeover @ 50 (or ABT@50) project will allow current students to examine and share the story of this watershed event through a physical exhibit in Perkins Library, as well as a digital exhibit. Students who participate in ABT@50 will work with archivists, researching a wide variety of records, papers, and publications from the University Archives. They will work closely with research librarians to identify secondary sources and learn the ins and outs of a major research project. They will work with exhibits librarians to learn how to translate a complex story into context with our world today, finding ways to connect with the thousands of visitors who will walk through the gallery. While the exhibit won’t actually be mounted until February 2019, students will also create a digital version of the exhibit, learning how to best tell the story in a digital environment.

A list of skills required and/or preferred for graduate and undergraduate students:

Undergraduate skills: Undergraduates who participate in the ABT@50 Story+ project should be curious about the past and thoughtful about its impact on the future. They should be patient and diligent, as their work will require them to read and interpret many disparate documents, and sometimes encounter dead ends. They should enjoy telling a story not only through their writing but through selection of primary source materials, and able to bring the two together in a cohesive exhibit. They should have a sense of humor and a collegial approach to their work. Students should have a collaborative nature, strong listening skills, and excellent writing skills. Knowledge of history, particularly African American and/or Duke history, is a plus.

Graduate skills: Graduate students should be experienced in conducting primary and secondary source research and interpretation, including the use of archival collections and university libraries. They should have experience in doing historical synthesis and pulling multiple sources of information together to tell a story, and have excellent writing skills. Graduate students should enjoy collaboration and mentoring students, and be prepared to challenge students’ immediate assumptions about the documents they find, encouraging them to dig deeper and consider other angles. Preferred: Experience teaching or mentoring undergraduates; experience in creating exhibits or other public history activities: knowledge of African American and/or Duke history.

Special supplemental application materials: NONE

Project Sponsor(s): 

Valerie Gillispie, University Archivist

Meg Brown, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Exhibits Coordinator

Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Head, Humanities Section & Librarian for Literature & Theater Studies

Yoon Kim, Library Exhibits Technician

Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist

Hannah Rozear, Librarian for Instructional Services 

Allen Building Takeover Supporters Being Tear-Gassed, February 13, 1969. Source: Duke University Archives.


  • Civil Rights
  • Archives
  • History
  • African American Studies