NHS soil to be featured in Chrysler exhibit

Historic soil from I.C. Norcom to be transformed as part of historical Chrysler exhibit
Posted on 07/18/2022
Historic soil from I.C. Norcom to be transformed as part of historical Chrysler exhibit

Group at Norcom

On a Tuesday afternoon, researchers from the Chrysler Museum of Art and the Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum stood in the ninety-degree heat at the I.C. Norcom High School bus ramp, looking around for a perfect sample of a particular artifact that was, in fact, all around the them: soil

This soil, though, was historic as it was the same foundation for the Franklin D. Lawrence Stadium, previously known as the Portsmouth Stadium, which was the region’s site for the national Negro League, the segregated baseball league that was active from 1920-1960.

Today, Norcom sits where the stadium once was, and, more specifically, the stadium’s home plate was positioned exactly where the school’s bus ramp is located (at High St. and Ruth Brown Way). Joining the research team Tuesday for the soil extraction was former Negro League Baseball player Sam Allen, who often played at the groundbreaking stadium.

Soil Sample

The soil they collected will soon be transformed for a visual retelling of history. As part of an upcoming exhibit for the Chrysler, “To See A World In A Grain Of Sand,” sand and soil samples collected from several historic sites across the region will be melted into glass at the museum’s Perry Glass Studio for a one-of-a-kind historical display.

“The goal of the exhibit is to tell a story through glass,” said Dr. Carolyn Swan Needell, curator of glass at the Chrysler. “We want to encourage people to look closer at things we take for granted, like sand and the ground beneath our feet.” Norcom will be featured in this display along with other noteworthy regional landmarks such as the Fort Monroe monument, Naval Station Norfolk and Jamestown.

“We are thrilled to have I.C. Norcom play a small role in this incredible display,” said Norcom Principal Dr. Laguna Foster. “This is a true testament to the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the powerful history that is surrounding us all each and every day.”

The display will be open to the public starting Aug. 12, and will run through Jan. 22, 2023. For more information, visit the Chrysler Museum of Art website.

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