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The Blue & Gray Press | August 22, 2019

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Living room exhibit transports students back to the 90s

Living room exhibit transports students back to the 90s


Since the beginning of the semester, a few other students and I have been working with professor Zach Whalen to create an exhibit that would fill students with nostalgia of the 90s. The idea originated with professor Whalen wanting to recreate the successful “80s Living Room” that was displayed on the fourth floor of the Convergence Center during the spring semester of 2015. Whalen decided to not have any other professors to aid him this time. Several students proposed an individual study to help make this 90s room.

The whole group contributed to the exhibit. I provided about one hundred unique commercials that represented the 90s era. It wasn’t a difficult task for me due to my experience with video editing but it was still a bit time consuming. Watching and splicing a large file of 30-second commercials about one hundred times and waiting for them to render in my video editor takes a lot of time. I archived commercials aimed at different demographics like toy commercials for children, household products and consumables for parents or adults. I had also sifted through numerous public service announcements for all viewers, in order to really capture the 90s feel. Professor Whalen got them to play on the television to recreate the feeling of seeing the fast-paced and vibrant commercials for the first time by using a Raspberry Pi device that is well known for its emulating abilities.

Other students contributed furniture, accessories and video game systems like the Nintendo 64, PlayStation and the Game Boy Color along with many corresponding games. There is also a working VCR with a diverse library of movies in VHS. From Disney’s “Flubber” to “Apollo 13,” there’s a movie for everyone to sit back and enjoy.

Of course, we had a few bumps in the road during the production of the 90s exhibit. It took Professor Whalen a while to get the computer to run on Windows 98. It was difficult to get the Windows 98 operating system onto the computer, because of its age and the lack of working parts when it was found.  We had to come up with some workarounds until we were finally able to get Windows 98 onto the computer.

After the exhibit was up and running, we had a few couch cushions go missing. Because of this, we put up a note in the exhibit that encourages students to not disrupt the room. We later found the cushions in the Writing Center, being used by students who were working on their thesis.

The 90s exhibit is opened to everyone, so feel free to come by to check it out, relax and travel back in time to have some fun before finals. Just make sure to put everything back where you found it, and please rewind the VHS tapes if you watch one of them. We will continue to work on the exhibit along with our website, until classes are over for the semester.