Students design a tour for the Roethke House Museum

Professor Donny Winter raises money for house renovations. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

Over the course of the winter semester, a research project was conducted by three SVSU students to bring the history of Theodore Roethke to life.

Under the supervision of Sherrin Frances, the students, Ethan Alt, Madeline Brusessow and Amber Campbell, completed the project.

The first part of the project included cataloging the Roethke collection into a museum archiving database and the second to create a tour narrative for the Roethke House.

Amber Campbell a history and creative writing senior said she hoped to learn about running a house museum, and getting the community involved.

“I really enjoyed making a new tour for the Roethke House and presenting that tour to the community during the Roethke Open House,” she said.

Campbell said every room in the house needed its own narrative.

“We did all the research separately and wrote our narratives before bringing it all together to begin the editing process,” Campbell said.

From Thursday, August 12 – Saturday, August 14, there were open houses at the Roethke House and the Stone House where the students’ work was seen.

Here, young children were able to participate in activities, learn about poetry and be introduced with crafts and drawings.

The open house included poetry readings and a poetry slam on Friday.

COVID caused a few restrictions throughout the process. This included the students meeting virtually to work through their narratives and separating meeting times for cataloging.

“Despite the pandemic we had a good turnout for the Open House, and everyone was respectful of our mask requirements,” Campbell said.

Sherrin Frances, the English professor who oversaw the project said the team added 400 plus entries into the database.

“This benefited the Roethke House by providing a clear service,” Frances said. “The collection is cataloged more completely now than it ever has been.”

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