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STUDENT EXHIBIT: In Our Lives: The Beatles Yesterday and Today


IN OUR LIVES was designed in the Fall 2018 offering of Donna’s “World of The Beatles” course. Participating students studied her materials–donated in Donna’s name to the Rita Benton Music Library–and worked together to flesh out the different themes that now define their multimedia, multidirectional account of the enduring legacy of The Beatles that stretches across each fin. The exhibit design is a tribute to the rich learning experiences Donna created for University of Iowa students, and a preview of the valuable learning experiences her collection will support for years to come.

We invite you to journey through the World of The Beatles in the following ways.


panel 3 from the in our lives exhibits

Each of the four exhibit panels represent the combined efforts of the corresponding topic subgroups (notated as “Deeper Dives” on the front of each Exhibit Panel).

The Musicians: Band Image/Identity, Working Together, Going Solo, Songwriting

  • Who were The Beatles as Public Figures? Do details of particular songs speak to their Personal/Public experiences?

The Music: Catalog Overview, Albums Early, Albums Late 1, Albums Late 2

  • What behind-the-scenes events became factors in the production of their albums?

Beatlemania!: Tours, Magical Mysteries, Yellow Submarines, Theories

  • What was a Beatles concert tour like? How did other types of Beatles media (e.g., fan newsletters, magazines, films, etc.) sustain mass interest in The Beatles? What does the “Paul is Dead” hoax teach us about Beatles fandom?

The Beatles of Today: Managing, Symbolizing, Celebrating, Recreating?

  • Who were the “fifth Beatles”? What can we learn from classic Beatles art/imagery about how The Beatles are remembered? What does it mean to pay tribute to a group like The Beatles?

Student Collection Highlights and Blog Posts

As part of their work on the exhibit, participating students familiarized themselves with the vast array of reference books, documentaries, and Beatles memorabilia that Donna’s family donated to the library in her name. Visit the Rita Benton Music Library website throughout the semester to read blog posts by the participating students, faculty, and library staff, which will examine the objects and themes of this exhibit in greater depth.