Image from an 1893 postcard of Gray Chapel, located inside Ohio Wesleyan’s University Hall.

‘Past to Present: OWU’s Evolution’

Ohio Wesleyan Students Create Online Art Exhibit Highlighting University’s History

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Students in Ohio Wesleyan University’s ART 492 class have created an online “Past to Present: OWU’s Evolution” art exhibition that showcases how the university’s academics, student life, places, and extracurricular activities have, or haven’t, changed over time.

“Thinking about change and core values is especially relevant at this moment in the university’s existence,” said Erin Fletcher, M.A., who teaches the upper-level course. “This online exhibit came about when in-person classes were suspended in spring 2020 due to COVID-19.

“As a result, students were challenged to create an exhibit out of available digital collections,” Fletcher said. “Working with the Beeghly Library Digital Collections and the Office of University Communications, the class combed yearbooks, websites, newspapers, and books on OWU’s history, spanning from the late-1800s to today, to curate the show. … This exhibit celebrates the OWU community and all those who have been a part of its ongoing evolution.”

The “Past to Present” exhibit will open with a live virtual discussion at 11 a.m. May 7. The live event will include comments by the ART 492 students and Fletcher, who also serves as director of the university’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum. The exhibit was created in collaboration with OWU Libraries and uses the Omeka software system. Visit owu.edu/PastToPresent to view the exhibit and to link to the live opening. After the opening, the show also will be accessible via the exhibit link at owu.edu/ross.

Students in the class who helped to create the online exhibition are Olivia Anderson of Toledo, Ohio; Anna Burkhart of Hilliard, Ohio; Rory Gleeson of New Plymouth, Ohio; Charlotte Gross of Columbus, Ohio; Sydney Hill of Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Maggie Myers of Coshocton, Ohio; Kiersten Ross of Columbus, Ohio; and Caroline Shaffer of Tupelo, Mississippi.

Created in 1864, Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Fine Arts was one of America’s first college art departments. Today, it offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees. Learn more about the department, its majors and minors, and its faculty at owu.edu/finearts. Learn more about OWU’s Ross Art Museum at owu.edu/ross or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RossArtMuseum.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.