By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

NE history department and the J. Ardis Bell Library are hosting a National Endowment for the Humanities On the Road exhibit featuring works by artist Jacob Riis until Oct. 31.

Riis was a pioneering Danish-American social reformer and photojournalist who created the book How the Other Half Lives by compiling his photography, which documented poor living conditions in the 1880s New York City slums.

NE history associate professor Chloe Northrop tried to find an exhibit to bring to the campus last year and said she decided on Riis’ because it was a fresh look into how other people lived in another time.

The Peddler Who Slept in the Cellar of 11 Ludlow St. shows the makeshift bed that appeared in Riis 1892 book The Children of the Poor.
The Peddler Who Slept in the Cellar of 11 Ludlow St. shows the makeshift bed that appeared in Riis 1892 book The Children of the Poor.
Photo by Mason Jendel/The Collegian

“By publishing these pictures and doing interviews with the people, he’s going to help illuminate a side of society that most people didn’t see,” she said. “And what I was hoping my students were able to do is to go into the exhibit and also question ourselves — are we doing the same thing in this day and age?”

NE library services assistant director April Martinez said the exhibit triggers those necessary conversations about poverty.

“I hope when people see the exhibit it inspires them to look at how the working poor, or some of our poor students, are living and trying to manage in this time,” she said. “Hopefully it will get students to contribute to some of our organizations on campus like the food bank.”

Northrop said she hopes when people see the exhibit they get inspired and look for ways to reach out to poverty-stricken people or people different from them.

“I’ve been so moved and overwhelmed by how much everyone came together to be helpful,” Northrop said. “There has been nobody who I’ve approached and asked something whether it’s moving a crate, or unloading something, everyone has been generous with their time, faith and resources to make sure that this is a successful exhibit.”