Some professors have decided to salvage gobs upon gobs of handcrafted signs left carelessly behind by participants in this weekend’s Women’s March because the professors believe the signs will become historical artifacts representing “a kind of unique collective expression of a collective action.”
The professors are faculty members at Northeastern University in Boston, where an estimated 175,000 people marched under the guise of women’s rights. (Some 600 similar rallies occurred simultaneously on Saturday. The main one occurred in Washington, D.C.)
The Northeastern professors happened upon the vast throng of signs as city workers were preparing to clear Boston’s heavily littered streets on Saturday evening, reports The Boston Globe.
The professors hastily rented a van and collected as many signs from the mile-long march as they could. They even recruiting bystanders to help with the effort.
Ultimately, after the profs managed to stuff their rental van with about 1,000 signs, they drove their newfound treasure trove to a storage facility.
This week, the professors will meet with archivists from Northeastern’s campus library to figure out how to preserve the massive heap of protest signs for posterity.
“The imagery and how people constructed the messages, it’s just a wealth of really interesting stuff to study,” Northeastern design professor Nathan Felde — who has a biography worthy of a novel — told the Globe. “It’s an incredible collection of creative efforts. Some of them are absolutely charming.”
A second Northeastern professor involved in the effort, Dietmar Offenhuber, described the women’s march “as a very historic moment” and “a kind of unique collective expression of a collective action.”
“You saw some very traditional protest signs that have been around since the 1960s, but then you saw some references to Princess Leia, and Star Wars, and Harry Potter,” Offenhuber told the Globe.
Patrick Yott, a library dean at Northeastern, called the assemblage of garbage-destined signs “a cultural memory” and declared that “it’s imperative to collect this sort of material.”
The signs may be digitized in some way, or curated for future exhibits.
Boston Women’s March organizers said they are honored.
They “marched in solidarity” and “made history,” organizers said in a statement. “Thousands of people will be able to share this moment with their children and grandchildren.”
The cost for a year of tuition, fees and room and board at Northeastern University is about $63,700.
Social sciences professors at the Boston enclave reportedly favor Democrats to Republicans by a margin of 33:1. (RELATED: SURPRISE! Fancypants College Professors Massively Favor Democrats Over Republicans)
If the Boston Women’s March was anything like the simultaneous Women’s March on Washington, there were definitely plenty of signs. Homemade posters from the Washington march featured “Peein’ & Putin” — a picture of shirtless Vladimir Putin on a horse with Trump’s head, together trudging through a urine storm. There was also a neon pink sign reading “PUSSY BITES BACK” beside a graphic image visualizing vagina dentata. (RELATED: These Are Some Of The Craziest Signs From The Women’s March)
Among the strategies for the Women’s March on Washington is that a huge throng of participants was supposed to festoon themselves with knitted, neon-pink “pussy power hats” during the demonstration in Washington, D.C. (RELATED: Thousands Of Women Will Wear Pink, Knitted ‘Pussy Power Hats’ To Protest Trump)
No concerted plan among academics to preserve these hats appears to have been announced.