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  • Writer's picturePhillip Ratliff

Nudging your message in the right direction

Making an exhibit on Terminal Station a part of one at Leeds Depot has been a challenge. Functionally, they’re apples and oranges. 


Large stations like Terminal Station served multiple carriers. They’re like public airports in that regard. But depots like the one in Leeds, Alabama, served a single carrier — in its case, L&N. 


Making that earlier Terminal Station message resonate in Leeds Depot meant that we’d need new copy, new images, new interpretive strategies. 


Here’s what we did:


First, we highlighted the Leeds Depot agent’s office. This is where train agents sold tickets and ran the depot’s mail service. By focusing on the objects, sights, sounds, and implicit functions on hand, we found our authenticity. 


Then we dedicated a secondary space to Terminal Station. Here’s where we turned a space in the Leeds Depot, the old waiting area, into something of a gallery, dedicated to subject matter that was physically remote from the Depot itself. (Terminal Station was some 16 miles to the west of Leeds). 


Layering our content this way struck a balance, between making the Leeds Depot relevant and broadening our story to include an important venue in the area’s railway history — but another place nonetheless. 


To discuss how Backstory can help you launch your interpretive space, contact Phil Ratliff at 205.234.0336, ratliffphillip@gmail.com. It's surprisingly easy and may cost less than you think.

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