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The University History Publicity Team: Those who keep the history of WHU alive
Author:Li Jing  Date:2021-12-27  Clicks:

On September 12, 1958, President Mao Zedong met with thousands of teachers and students from Wuhan’s universities and colleges at the 912 Playground, which was how the playground got its name….” At the History Museum of Wuhan University, Yao Shu’an, the leader of the WHU University History Publicity Team (UHPT), expertly depicted the long-standing and splendid history of WHU to the audience.

Founded in 2004, UHPT was the first student association among China’s universities with the theme of learning and publicizing knowledge about its institutional history. By now, UHPT has four administrative departments and a total of 78 members. It gathers history lovers on campus, and those who perform better will be recommended to the History Museum as a professional docent, in charge of three exhibition halls and Zhou Enlai’s former residence on Luojia Mountain. Now, all docents of the History Museum of WHU are from the team.


A docent showing visitors around the 5th floor of the History Museum

The identity as a “docent” comes with more than glory. Besides the historical stories that took place here, the development of China’s education over the past two centuries is also closely related to WHU, which demands a more precise grasp of details. Ou Jie, a member of the team, told us that not all visitors make an appointment in advance, which means that the docents on duty need to be ready at any time. Apart from that, unexpected questions require not only a rich and wide background knowledge but also a flexible and astute mind.

Nevertheless, the team always commits to this career despite the obstacles. Even though a 15-minute narration definitely cannot unfurl the months of preparation, they still take every minute of learning seriously. The team members, especially the docents, spend most of their spare time in the office reading first-hand materials about the history of the university and gradually develop personal styles in practice. As there is no unified script for the docents, understanding the stories and how to make them intelligible is important.


A docent explaining the details of the desks and chairs’ design at the History Museum

To their relief, university history is not revealed in books prosaically, but is real, vivid, accessible and thus easier to master. The tenacity of WHU formed when it was forced to move to Leshan during the Anti-Japanese War, the perseverance to overcome all the difficulties along the educational path, and the ambition of the professors to improve themselves and make contributions to the country. Countless historical moments resemble the on-going movie plots, which greatly move and inspire these learners.


The team building activity of UHPT on the Mid-Autumn Festival

Like the colorful history they read and tell, UHPT also holds various activities to build their team into a more robust one. Besides the regular teaching and training, they undertake other tasks related to the explanation of university history as well. For instance, they write part of the script for tour guides during the cherry blossom season, provide tours for freshmen and organize activities with history museums of other universities for mutual learning.


An activity co-organized by the History Museums of WHU and Central China Normal University

This October, UHPT even designed its own team uniform. On the front of the hoodie is the school badge of National Wuhan University, while on the back is the school motto “Honesty and Perseverance” using seal character designed in 1939.


The team uniform of the WHU University History Publicity Team

The uniform will act as a reminder to the team, providing them with the motivation to dedicate themselves to the development of WHU, which suits the team’s original aspiration perfectly. In the future, they plan to be more exposed to college history learning and visiting activities and improve their training quality as well as efficiency. “In my anticipation, every member will possess the confidence to tell stories of our older generations, and then enjoy an outburst of applause,” the team leader Yao said.

128 years of wind and storms have made Wuhan University an elderly person with numerous breath-taking and awe-inspiring stories. Fortunately, her stories will never be forgotten by the world, because these people who devote time and energy to university history publicity will research, refresh and revitalize, and draw strength from the history, generation after generation.

Photo by WHU History Publicity Team

Edited by Zheng Zicheng, Qin Zehao& Liang Tong


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