Shatter the Timeline!

Timelines show us a straight trajectory of time and activity by starting at point A and ending neatly at point B. The lived experience of time isn’t that simple. Even though we adhere to clocks and calendars, many of the ways we feel and understand ourselves within time is personal, private, and more difficult to plot. How do we use our routines, habits, and perspectives as alternate and personal ways to mark and measure time?

Inside this case are photographs that embody individual ways to measure time. These photos are timestamps and timers, they show snippets of people’s daily, personal, emotional, and philosophical lives. Each photo represents a specific period or moment of time: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. These photos might be straightforward for the people who submitted them, but what do you think? Can you tell what measure of time each photo reveals? How much time does each photo represent?

Shatter the timeline! Can you clock these personal time measures and markers?

Try to get inside the head of each individual and decipher the moments of time in each photo. Match the photographs with the printed time options on the slips of paper below. Tape your guesses to the glass and use the markers to write what you think each photo measures.

Photos submitted by Brown University students and friends.

Molly Pailet is a second-year Master’s student in the Public Humanities at Brown University. She is passionate about experiential and non-traditional education, public history, and combining these to create opportunities for engagement through programming and interpretation.

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