In 2014, students from the Johns Hopkins Program in Museums and Society explored the history of the Homewood campus alongside experts in heritage studies.

In a hands-on, exploratory course, they developed “A Sense of Place,” a series of ten interpretive signs that highlight locations around campus and explain their significance in Hopkins and Baltimore history. The signs, produced through a partnership with environmental design students at the Maryland Institute College of Art, were installed in September 2014. 

Students researched ten sites on campus under the guidance of instructor Beth Maloney, faculty, and staff from the University Archives and the Homewood Museum. Explore the various sites by clicking on the links below: 

View a map of all ten “A Sense of Place” sites in Google Maps

Students wrote interpretive texts, identified and selected primary source materials, and tested their interpretations onsite with staff, faculty, students and visitors. They then partnered with students in a graphic design course at the Maryland Institute College of Art to develop a template for signage that shares this content at the sites, located throughout the Homewood campus. Originally intended as a one year pop-up installation, the signs have been popular with visitors and the campus community. They were reprinted with more durable materials in 2015 so that the community can continue to enjoy and learn from them.

Part of Museums and Society’s broader effort to develop its curriculum in the area of public history and the initiative of the President’s Office to explore the history of the university, this project shares stories of Homewood’s past with the people who live, work and visit here today. It aims to reveal something about the past of the Homewood property and inspire dialogue and a greater sense of place on campus. To support that goal, during the summer of 2014, the Program in Museums and Society met once more with faculty and students, particularly representatives from the university’s different multi-cultural affairs groups, councils and associations, to assure that the signs were sensitive to our larger community and to start a broader conversation about interpreting the past.

The course and project are made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Johns Hopkins University in support of its Program in Museums and Society. The Office of the President provided additional funding for the signs.

Online Articles on “A Sense of Place”

Rodini, Elizabeth. “A Sense of Place: Rethinking a Bucolic Landscape.” International Council of Museums Magazine, Vol. 68 No. 3-4 (2015): 12-13.

Maloney, Beth. “Students Highlight History with New Signage for JHU Homewood Campus Landmarks.” Baltimore Heritage, November 4, 2014.