The itinerary for the exhibit and the slide show, including selected viewer comments, is accessed by using the drop-down menu below. Attendance totals are estimated. If you are interested in bringing the exhibit to your community, please contact us. Select the year of interest from 1994 to current:

About the Exhibit and Slide Show

CHINA: Exploring the Interior, 1903-1904, was first exhibited in 1994. Since then,
it has traveled to a total of 36 venues in Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The collection has reached an estimated 64,500 public viewers.

A slide show is available for groups and organizations lacking the space to display the entire exhibit, and is a useful teaching aid for students of all ages. Sample slides are available. We also could consider a mini exhibit using less than the full complement of 74 framed photographs. Contact us for more information.

The exhibit’s web site has been on-line since 1998; during that time, the curator has responded to several questions a month from visitors, many of them students and teachers. (See the bibliography, compiled by China scholar J. K. Holloway, for related information.) Nearly 50,000 people from around the world have visited this site, which suggests its value as an educational resource and its positive contribution to relations between China and the U. S. For its Visions of China series, CNN linked to this web site, and it was site-of-the-day on Inside China Today.



  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904  (Back to top)
May 24–August 23   Great Reading Room, Glickman Library, USM, Portland, Maine
Opening Reception, Wednesday, May 29, 5:30pm
June 11–September 6   Vose Library, Union, Maine
Informal Talk, Saturday, June 22, 10am
February 10–17   Oriental Jade Restaurant, Bangor, Maine, in conjunction with Year of the Snake celebration.
Opening reception, Sunday, February 10, 2 p.m.COMMENTS
“Nice Presentation. Thanks for bringing it to Bangor.”
“My great-grandparents were missionaries in Western China from the 1890s through the early 1930s. I wanted to see what they saw back then. Thank you!”
February 20–March 3   Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor
on display in Main Street Gallery as part of museum’s
Chinese New Year and Year of the Snake education.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
April 1 – April 30   The Hillman Center for Performing Arts
Shady Side Academy, Pittsbugh, Pennsylvania
Opening reception, April 7, with Dr. Evelyn Rawski,
Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh.


October 27   Alumni House, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.
2008 China trip, for Early Chow Society. 12 p.m.
March 1 – March 31   Learning Resource Center, Dyersburg State Community College, Dyersburg, Tennessee. In conjunction with Dyersburg Book Fest 2009: The Cultural and Historical Origins of Modern China. Estimated viewers: 175.
COMMENT: Thoroughly enjoyed these amazing photos from long ago


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
August 29 – Sept 26   American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts. Estimated viewers: 250. COMMENTS
“A wonderful opportunity to see how the Chinese lived at the turn of the last century.” “Enjoyable and eye-opening.”


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Sept 1 – Sept 28   University of Rhode Island, Providence campus, and Moses Brown School. Total estimated viewers: 600. Estimated audience at opening reception in conjunction with Gallery Night Providence, 50-75. COMMENTS
“Simply awe-inspiring amazing photos of history.”
April 4 – April 29   CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
    Sponsored by UMMA at the Bangor Public Library. In conjunction with Linda Butler: The River beneath the Lake and the Yangtze Remembered Conference.
April 26   SLIDE SHOW
    2 p.m., Bangor Public Library; in conjunction with “Yangtze Remembered” conference.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
May 5 – April 12   Library, United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York. Talk, Dr. Robert Gardella. COMMENTS
“Fascinated by the look back at Chinese culture.” “Black and white photos were sobering in their starkness.” “The photos show a way of life that has vanished in some areas.”
Jan 6 – Feb 28   Belfast Free Library, Belfast, Maine. Partial exhibit, in conjunction with the 2006 Camden Conference.
Jan 9 – Mar 31   Roland Howard Room, Blue Hill Public Library, Blue Hill, Maine. Gallery talk, January 12. In conjunction with 2006 Camden Conference.


April 26   USMMA, King’s Point, N.Y.
Feb 27   Excerpts from the memoirs of R. H. Sargent, read by Robert M. Sargent, Sumner High School, Sullivan, Maine.
Feb 13   Sumner High School, Sullivan, Maine.
Jan 17   Belfast Free Library, Belfast, Maine.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Nov 4 – Dec 2   Durbin Gallery, Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama. Gallery talk, 5:00 p.m., opening reception, 6-8:00 p.m., Friday, November 4.
Feb 14 – Mar 19   Apex Gallery, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City. Audience at gallery talk: 57; total estimated viewers: 2,000.


May 18   Dora L. Small School, South Portland. Slides presented to approximately 65 4th and 5th graders in 3 classes. COMMENTS
“It was a great presentation, a unique opportunity for a generation of kids raised in a world of instantaneous communication to look back into time and see things that they found truly foreign and strange. I don’t think that Bob (Sargent), myself, nor any of the teachers in the room could have anticipated the questions that 10- to 12-year-old students would ask. They looked deep into each picture and asked probing questions about every detail. As a result, Bob’s presentations turned into a wonderful dialogue
between students, teachers, and presenter—an afternoon that I don’t think any of us who attended will soon forget.”–Ross Little, volunteer coordinator, Dora L. Small School
April 6   Board Room, Maine International Trade Center, Portland,
as part of the Maine Seminar Series, sponsored by Primary Source. Attended by approximately 12 interested teachers.
Feb 19   Talk and slides at Deadwood (SD) City Hall. Sponsored by the Adams Museum.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
April 20 – May 31   Spring Street Lobby, Newport (RI) Public Library.
Opening reception, April 20. Audience: 30. Total estimated viewers: 8,000. COMMENTS
“Great historical work, but why not pictures of cities?” (Curator’s response: These were snapshots taken by a young man on his first trip out of his own country. He was on an expedition the purpose of which was to find a specific trilobite fossil: that search took the expedition very far indeed from any cities. Along the route, R. Harvey Sargent happily snapped away—the fortunate result is a collection of photos, which are rare, personal, and touching. Rare, because most photos of that time were indeed taken in the coastal cities, not the remote countryside; personal, because of the sense the viewer gets of the young (amateur photographer) Sargent’s delight in a world completely new to him; and touching by virtue of the glimpse, frozen on film, at a time and a place and at living souls long vanished.)“Fascinating view of a distant land and time.” “Impressive collection of photographs. Wonderful that all sorts of people are exposed to their story.” “Makes me want to read more about China.”


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Oct 3 – Nov 21
  Ashtabula Arts Center, Ashtabula, Ohio. Reception and talk, October 3. Audience: 30. Total estimated viewers,
including many visits by schoolchildren: 4,500. COMMENTS
“I thought it would be boring, but it wasn’t!” “When I saw them, I was amazed.” “It tells you about the hard-working life (sic) these people lived.” “We visited Beijing 2 years ago, and enjoyed tremendously this exhibit because of that trip.” “Very fine exhibit — info and pictures. Pamphlet on Mary Morrill, missionary, will be incorporated into my [next] sermon.” “Fascinating exhibit of photography and of a long ago period. Should be published.” “Enjoyed getting a real sense of true China in the faces of these people.” “Breath-taking!” “Eye-opening!”


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Jan 21 – Feb 24   B.I.W. Humanities Center, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine,
Maine. Total estimated viewers: 350. COMMENTS
“A delight — unique, special — a gift offered to us, giving new perspective.”
Mar 19 – Apr 19   Newport (R.I.) Public Library. In conjunction with rededication of the Chinese Room, now the Sargent Special Collection Room. Approximately 50 people attended the rededication. Total estimated viewers: 1000. COMMENTS
“Incredible photos, informative lecture — great fun!” “This exhibit is a powerful addition to the study of China.”


March 9   Henry D. Moore Parish House, Steuben, Maine.
Delightful and responsive audience of about 40.
June 4   Parker Ridge, Blue Hill, Maine.
Slide show presented to an audience of about 35. “Marvelous clear pictures and accompanying talk were truly enlightening. Thanks so much.”


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Jan 1 – Feb 23   Camden Public Library, Camden, Maine. In conjunction with the 14th Annual Camden Conference. Reception and talk, January 4. Audience: 45. Total viewers: 750. COMMENTS
“The photo exhibit is very exciting and moving. So old yet up-to-date…” “Wonderful photos — especially interesting because of the Maine connection.” “Invaluable — a treasure.” “An amazing window!” “Important perspective on an upcoming world power.” “The photographs are well focused and the subjects are illustrative of the region and the era.”
Mar 16 – Apr 13   The Bolles School, Jacksonville, Florida. Robert Sargent talked to approximately 640 motivated, engaged students during his one-day visit to the Bolles campus. Total viewers: 800.COMMENTS
“Wonderful photos — so informative. I learned so much about the Boxer Rebellion and early 20th century Chinese culture.” “Fascinating look at the interior of China during early 1900s.” “Beautiful photography. Having been to China, it was fascinating to see that some areas still look the same 100 years later.”
Sept 4 – Sept 15   Bradford Public Library, Bradford, Pennsylvania. Opening reception, Thursday, September 6. Audience: 45. Total viewers: 500. COMMENTS
“Provided information on a people/culture which is distant, and at times, an enigma.” “Great insight into daily life back then.”
May 15   Rotary Club, Bangor, Maine. Audience: 75.
2000   CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Oct 1 – Nov 3   Travelling full circle, the exhibit was back on the walls of its first venue, the Bay School, in conjunction with the visit of Shuang Situ, friend and colleague of Robert Sargent. After delivering a lecture at the Montreal International Congress of Asian and North African Studies, Shuang spent a week on the coast of Maine, visiting Bowdoin College, The Farnsworth Museum, the University of Maine, and the Penobscot School. Shuang spoke at a reception at the Bay School to a curious and enthusiastic audience of about 40 people. She also met with students for an impromptu Chinese lesson, and an informal discussion about life in China during the time the photos were taken, and life in China now. Total viewers: 300.
“An extraordinary collection.” “It looks incredible, and what a special lesson for the children.” “It is especially helpful to see this collection in such excellent and available condition: a photo documentation of another culture—in depth—and historical representation here on the Blue Hill peninsula.”–Bayard Brokaw, Director, The Bay School


May   George Stevens Academy, Blue Hill, Maine.
Presented to approximately 50 interested, engaged high school juniors and seniors. “Seeing images of China almost 100 years before our time, and hearing about Sargent’s travels was enlightening. Hope you continue passing on his story as a way to see China from a unique point of view.”


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Jan 1 – Mar 15   College of the Atlantic, Thorndike Library, Bar Harbor, Maine. Partial exhibit. Total viewers: 400.COMMENTS
“The group portraits are striking.” “An excellent display for its historic and geographic interests, but also as a photo essay on rural Chinese life at the turn of the century.” “This historic document is quite remarkable. Mr. Sargent created not only wonderful photographs, but captured and glimpsed a culture which is so distant from our own, helping to appreciate the ‘ancient’ China of 1903.
Feb 1 – 14   Lory Student Center, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. Total estimated viewers: 800.COMMENTS
“This is a remarkable historic document.” “Evocative, particularly impressive given the state of photography at that point in time.” “Impressed by the imagery.” “As an Asian studies student, I want to express my gratitude for the time and trouble you took to compile this fine exhibit.”
Mar 2 – Apr 15   U.S.G.S. National Center, Main Hall Gallery, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia. Total viewers: 3,500.COMMENTS
“One of the most outstanding exhibits on this wall that I have seen.” “Educational, informative, well mounted.” “Beyond the capability of modern explorers to duplicate this effort. A truly marvelous exhibit.” “The exhibit was very well received at the Survey’s National Center. More than 2,000 employees are permanently assigned here, and thousands of visitors walk through the Main Hallway Gallery each month. We were very pleased with the exhibit and its portrayal of a little bit of Chinese history at the time of the Boxer Rebellion.”–Charles Nethaway, Show Chairman, Fine Arts Committee, USGS.
Aug 31-Sept 30   U. S. Geological Survey, Mid-Continent Mapping Center, Rolla, Missouri. Total viewers: 3,000.COMMENTS
“Learned more from this exhibit than from textbooks.” “Very interesting and well-organized.” “Hope to see more such exhibits.” “A moment captured in time…” “Photos vivid and clear, show a lot of character and detail in faces and places.”


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
May 16 – Aug 29   The Maitland Art Center, Maitland, Florida. In conjunction with the Imperial Tombs exhibit. Opening: 100. Total viewers: 6,000.COMMENTS
“This exhibit is a pearl.” “Well worth coming to see.” “Photo 17 is quite remarkable, as the Mongol’s eyes move with you about the room.” “Good balance for Imperial Tombs.” “Great appreciation for our early work exploring other countries.” “These photos gave a better understanding of how people lived, worked, and travelled in China at this period of time.” “Captions informative and well worth reading.”
Aug 15 – 17   Maine Chinese-American Friends Association, annual chapter meeting, Portland, Maine. Partial exhibit.


Aug   Rollins College. Maitland Art Center director James Shepp presented slides to illustrate talk on Boxer Rebellion. Approximately 200 in the audience.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Nov 18, 1995 –
Jan 1996
  Maine Historical Society, Portland, Maine.
Reception: 300. Total viewers: 2,000.COMMENTS
“Interesting and well-planned, lecture did a very good job of conveying the essential information about the period 1903-1904 in clear and concise fashion.” “Truly beautiful and descriptive of a culture I otherwise would be ignorant about.” “It’s amazing how an individual’s personal record can later become such an important vestige of a lost culture.” “A new vista unfolds before our eyes–wonderful!” “A unique set of photographs made in China after the bloody Boxer Rebellion anchors this winter’s China Trade Exhibit at the Maine History Gallery. Forty-nine enlargements reveal rural Chinese life, architecture and monuments of the early 20th century.” –from the newsletter of the Maine Historical Society.
Feb 7 – Mar 31   Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.
Opening: 35. Total viewers: 750.COMMENTS
Asian Studies Professor Kidder Smith: “The exhibit’s greatest strength is the images themselves. They go right to the heart…with the information contained in the captions, they are enormously effective in communicating something of China ninety years ago. It offers us a complex intersection of various forces, interest, and historical currents, in Maine of the early twentieth century, in China, and in our own classrooms and exhibit halls.”
Oct 4 – 31   Blue Hill Public Library, Blue Hill, Maine.
Opening: 25. Total viewers: 350.COMMENTS
Wonderful quality to the photos, and a fascinating history of an earlier time.” “These photographs have shown me some of the China of long ago. I was not familiar with China or her people. I am also reminded of how powerfully black and white photography describes people and places.” “Remarkably fine photographs, beautifully printed and presented.” “Brings history and geography to life.
May 1 – Sept 15   Newport Public Library, Rhode Island. Total viewers 5,000.


Jan 21   Maine Historical Society. On a snowy night in Portland, Craig Dietrich presented to an audience of about a dozen.
May 22   Castine Men’s Club. An audience of 48 enjoyed Bob Sargent’s presentation, and feedback was extremely enthusiastic.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Jan 21 – Feb 5   Knox Mill Gallery, Camden, Maine. In conjunction with Camden Conference. Opening: 350. Total viewers: 2,000.COMMENTS
“Absolutely fantastic!” “What a wonderful chance to see the China of so long ago.” “I’ve enjoyed this tremendously.” “Well-presented and informative.” “ Very effective; explained in great detail.” “Have been to China once and now want to go again.” “Came because my book group is reading The Good Earth; exhibit very informative.” “I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. Some of my ancestors built the ships that sailed to China in those days.” “Interesting connection between Maine and China.” “I teach Global Studies with a focus on East Asia; I stayed overnight to see the exhibit. Fabulous.”
Mar 6 – 28   Scarborough High School, Scarborough, Maine. Slide show attendance: 120. Total viewers: 500.COMMENTS
“We should have more stuff like this more often! ” “It was neat.” “Excellent exhibit, interesting display.”
Apr 18 – June 25   Hudson Museum/Maine Center for the Performing Arts, Orono, Maine. Slide presentation attendance: 35. Total viewers: 2,500.COMMENTS
“Enjoyed it immensely. ” “I was moved by the connection of Maine to interior China. As a descendant of Maine sea captains, this connection has always intrigued me.” “The lecture was very helpful.” “I’m going back for a closer look.” “The pictures are a true treasure. I am a young Chinese from mainland China–it is truly nice to see these pictures.”
July 7 – Sept 3   Bethel Historical Society, Bethel, Maine. Part of celebration of the life of 1898 missionary martyr Annie Gould. Lecture: 30. Total viewers: 750.COMMENTS
“Excellent. Loved the local connection with Annie Gould.” “Interesting. Quality of photographs impressive.”
Sept 15 – Oct 27   US Geological Survey (Rocky Mountain Mapping Division), Denver, Colorado. Opening: 150, including several former colleagues of R. Harvey Sargent. Total viewers: 500.COMMENTS
“Good time to recollect on old China.” “Informative; very telling photos. ” “An excellent use of USGS resources.” “Great! Reminded me of home. I lived in north China in 1927-41.”


Feb 13   Newport Public Library, Newport, Rhode Island. On the 14th anniversary of dedication of Chinese Room established by Clyde B. Sargent, son of R. Harvey Sargent, Professor Jerry Holloway offered the slide presentation to an audience of 40.
May 19   George Stevens Academy, Blue Hill, Maine. As part of the Academy’s annual Festival of the Arts, Bob Sargent made the slide presentation to a group of 25 high school students.
Oct 10   Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine. Craig Dietrich presented to an audience of 20 in Portland.


  CHINA EXHIBIT, 1903-1904
Apr 29 – June 3   The Bay School, Blue Hill, Maine.
Opening: 100. Total viewers: 400.COMMENTS
“Exceptional photo quality…black and white photography is hard to beat…lecture was informative and concise.” “Incredible clarity.” “Quite surprised by quality of photos…interested in Sargent, the man…Good job!” “Fascinating…the (captions) are very helpful…” “Very interesting exhibit. Good framing.”
June 17 – July 15   Newport Public Library, Newport, Rhode Island.
Opening: 40. Total viewers: 500.COMMENTS
“…a rare glimpse of the traditional Chinese peasant culture from which the Chinese Revolution was to come.”
Sept 12 – 30   Rose Gaffney School, Machias, Maine.
Annual meeting of Maine Humanities Council.
Opening reception: 60. Total viewers: 500.COMMENTS
“Excellent presentation.” “Photos are well printed and presented, as well as interesting to look at.” “Well done. Plain talk for general folks.” “This amateur photographer had a remarkable sense of composition.” “Revealing photographs (which) tell a story of rural China at a critical time in history…” “You won’t see stereotypical views of opium dens. Instead there are curious, mostly serious, faces, and huge monuments contrasting flat barren land. The black and white images only accent the harsh, gritty life these people led, working, worshiping, and surviving in a remote land.” –from the Machias Valley News.
Oct 12 – Nov 11   University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Opening reception: 40. Total viewers: 300.COMMENTS
“I wish I could experience a journey like this.” “My high school-aged daughter was thrilled.” “Beautiful photography.” “I’m a Chinese, and the exhibit helped me to learn a lot.”
Nov 21 – Dec 16   Brunswick High School, Brunswick, Maine.
Opening: 50. Total viewers: 350.COMMENTS
“The photographs were of very high quality and so rare as to be a treasure.” “The speakers were clear and interesting.”


May 31   The Bay School, Blue Hill, Maine. Presentation for 4-8th grade, 25 students and 3 teachers. Youngsters were attentive and responsive, with good questions. Teachers most appreciative.
July 21   Sargentville Chapel, Sargentville, Maine. Slide presentation to audience of 50 in R. Harvey Sargent’s native village. Attendees included some of his personal acquaintances.