Collecting: Schenley High School

Student looking at the group project exhibition


Walt Moser, History and World Cultures
Carrie Schneider, Warhol Education Staff & Photographer


Approximately forty Schenley High School students enrolled in an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” course explored institutional and professional collecting. Students participated in specialized programs both at The Andy Warhol Museum and at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History that critiqued institutional collecting and museum display. Students also explored Warhol’s practice of collecting as they photographed elements of the school’s diverse international student body. Students used their collections as source material for four large-scale collaborative silk screen projects produced in partnership with Artists Image Resource, a fine art printmaking organization. 


Exhibition Schenley High School: How Far Have We Come? 
Modeled after Andy Warhol’s own Raid the Icebox exhibition at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (1969) the exhibition, Schenley High School: How Far Have We Come?, questioned what institutions choose to collect and why. The exhibition consisted of objects and images gathered from Schenley’s unofficial archives and represented points of comparison throughout Schenley’s one hundred year history, such as: science and technology, fashion, hairstyles and the architecture of the school. Perhaps the largest feature of the project compared dozens of yearbook photographs of students with the last names Smith and Jackson throughout the history of the school, from its inception in 1916 through 2004. Overall, the project highlighted themes of continuity throughout a century of dynamic change. 

Collaborative Prints, Collecting Schenley: On Being an Anthropologist 
Using digital cameras, students collected aspects of their everyday experience at Schenley High School, such as jewelry, cell phones, graffiti, tattoos and sneakers. By capturing the repetition of certain trends in consumption and appearance at the school, students believed they were representing their peers’ expressions of individuality and encapsulating Schenley High School “in the moment.”

Student Reviews:  


The diversity of those wearing the Converses in Schenley is astounding. Every stereotype of a person can be found wearing Converses and incorporating them into their style… By choosing the converses we were able to capture something that is unique to Schenley: our diversity. When I refer to diversity I am not only referencing the ethnic diversity in our school, the students differ in their politics, social status, financial background, religious beliefs, and so many other ways. However, walking down the hallways, many of the relationship between the students seem to transcend these barriers. We at Schenley take this for granted, and as silly as it sounds, something as simple as Converse tennis shoes is a major representation of this. You can find Caucasian, African-American, Asian, and so many others wearing “Chuck Taylors.” You see people wearing these shoes with a range of clothing from a big white tee to a studded belt to Gap jeans to a short mini skirt to a basketball jersey. Every student as Schenley has found a way to make it their own, and we think nothing of it. To sum it up, the thing that is really unique to Schenley is not the diversity as much as it is the student’s reaction to it. We all think nothing of it, because it has become so integrated into our everyday lives, and that is what I feel this project captured.

Student, Schenley High School  

The best part of this project was getting to see the many different aspects of Schenley that seem to hide behind these every-day objects.

Student, Schenley High School  

Like Warhol’s replicated commercial products like the Campbell’s Soup Can, the Converse tennis shoe can be viewed as a mass-produced common denominator of our American society.

Student, Schenley High School  

Cell phones are the most adequate material possession to represent the teenage generation in 2005.

Student, Schenley High School