Xavier Students' Exhibit is Bittersweet

May 6, 2009

Xavier University students will host an opening of their exhibit "Bittersweet: The History of Sugar in North America" Wednesday, May 6, at the Market House at Findlay Market from 4:30-6:00 pm. The exhibit focuses on sugar production and consumption in North America from the colonial era through WWI.


“The purpose of this exhibit is to encourage people to think about why they eat what they eat, and where it comes from,” said Dr. Karim Tiro, Xavier associate professor of history, who led the project.


The exhibit will run until July 5, 2009, at Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest continually-operating public market. The market is located at 1801 Race Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. It will be open during normal marketplace operating hours and is free of charge.


The location of the exhibit at a public market is appropriate given that it focuses on how sugar came to be a central element of the modern diet. The exhibit also highlights the connection between sugar's rise and the rise of slavery.


This exhibit was the result of students’ work for two history seminar classes at Xavier that focused on museums and public history. Students’ tasks ranged from researching the history of Hershey’s chocolate to building a model sugar mill. “Bittersweet” features images and artifacts related to sugar from the 16th through the early 20th centuries. It is made possible by Xavier University, the Ohio Humanities Council, and the Corporation for Findlay Market.


Xavier students also worked on a satellite exhibit entitled "Sugar and the Body: Historical Treasures from the Lloyd Collections." It will be at the Lloyd Library, 917 Plum Street, from May 2 to 26 and is also free and open to the public. Library hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 – 4:00 and the number is 513-721-3707. This exhibit focuses on centuries-old debates about the merits and hazards of sugar.


Tiro is known for his creative and whimsical, yet practical, courses. He previously taught a class on the History of the Pig in America, which was nationally recognized in the media.