Statues Speak

Elizabeth BaltesSheila Dillon

2015-2017 | Project Website


Statues are all around us, but we often walk past them without reflecting on who or what they represent. Once shiny new landmarks in the built environment, statues can become invisible over time. In our hurry to get from one place to another, we do not stop to read the inscriptions that often tell us why the statue was set up. In any case, the information given on the statue base is only part of the story. Statues can “speak” to us in many ways, but what if we could actually give them a voice? What would they want to tell us about themselves?

This project, a collaboration between undergraduate students and faculty at Duke University and Coastal Carolina University, aims to help statues speak, to help them tell their own stories. By combining historical research with mobile and web technologies, we will present the “autobiographies” of the statues on Duke’s campus, exploring how they fit into the fabric of Duke’s history and the long-standing practice of setting up honorific portrait statues.



Video research and script by Darrah Panzarella.


Christy Kuesel

Darrah Panzarella

Mary Kate Weggeland

Jessica Williams

Ed Triplett

Publications & Presentations

Ashley Kwon, “Wired! Lab’s ‘Statues Speak’ brings the legacy of campus monuments to life,” The Chronicle, March 28, 2018,

News & Events

Statues Speak to Launch