Healing becomes history: MSU exhibit preserves memories of mass shooting

Two students organize interactive museum exhibit to memorialize shooting
Their goal is not to forget, but to release and memorialize.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:15 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Every day we live through history, but some days are harder to move past than others.

Memories of the mass shooting at Michigan State University and the days that followed will live with members of the community forever. Two psychology sophomores at MSU have found a way to preserve those memories, helping Spartans release trauma through writing.

Related: MSU’s Berkey Hall to remain closed for rest of school year, Union building to reopen

“The writing of a traumatic event, helps move it from the emotional part of your brain to the more logical part of your brain, so it’s easier to deal with,” said Hannah Greenspan, Co-Organizer of the exhibit and psychology student.

Their goal is not to forget, but to release and memorialize. The exhibit started as a walk-out, organized by Greenspan and Kirin Krafthefer. They wanted people to see the number of students impacted by the shooting, and give everyone an opportunity to be heard.

The two reached out to the MSU Museum to collaborate on their idea. They are collecting note cards from the community with first-hand accounts of February 13th, for an exhibit at the MSU museum.

“We were all in on supporting that, and we just kind of stepped back and allowed them to collect stories. What we decided to do was basically provide space within the museum, where these stories could be presented, others could interact with them, contribute to them, and process them,” said Devon Akmon, MSU Museum Director.

They want all community members to feel comfortable adding their stories to the exhibit, student or not. If you’d like to contribute, you can head to the MSU Museum. Additionally, drop boxes for note cards will be available at all on-campus neighborhood engagement centers, by April 3rd. Snyder Hall will also serve as a drop box site.

“A story can be exactly what happened on that date, a story can be how you’ve been feeling since, it could be a text message you sent to somebody, a poem you’ve written,” said Greenspan.

A temporary interactive display, that will be permanently preserved as part of a larger exhibit after spring graduation.

“So right now we’re very much in the process of just collecting and processing. It’s still just very raw,” said Akmon.

They hope the exhibit will provide healing, well as honor Spartans for generations to come.

“It stays here on the walls of MSU. It doesn’t have to completely stay in your chest, head, or wherever you store trauma” said Greenspan.

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