Beanie Babies, Starter jackets, Nintendo 64 and the beeper all have one thing in common -- the 1990s. SUNY Oswego students plan to showcase their passion for the '90s in an exhibition called "'90s Nostalgia" at the Art Association of Oswego.

As part of a semester-long project, the students from "Introduction to Museum Studies" will curate a free, public "'90s Nostalgia" exhibition running Dec. 9 and 10 and Dec. 16 and 17. A reception will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Art Association of Oswego, 20 Barbara Donohue Drive at Fort Ontario.

Each student in the class contributed his or her own artifact from the '90s to feature in the exhibit, according to the course's professor and Tyler Art Gallery Director Michael Flanagan.

"Some students are using mass-produced items that I'm pretty familiar with," he said.

Some of exhibits include VHS tapes and popular toys from the decade, such as the Easy Bake Oven and Woody from "Toy Story." Other students, however, took a more personal approach with their contributions.

Studio art major Ariana Dzibela's contribution, for example, is an office coffee mug, the one her mother received in the '90s at a new job. Dzibela, who was born in 1995, said her contribution reflects her mom's happiness in the '90s. She joked that the mug also represents her coffee addiction.

"I wanted to use something from someone who was dear to me like my mother," Dzibela said. "I wanted to use whatever was going on for her."

Museum pieces

An aspiring art conservationist, Dzibela says she really enjoys the class as it helps her develop the necessary skills for accomplishing that goal.

Students have responsibility for the show, from finding and curating the items to researching them to writing wall-mounted text panels. Flanagan said he is most looking forward to the exhibition's written portion, where students will explain their artifacts' significance and relation to the '90s theme.

"What the students write about their art works will be something new to me, so I'm looking forward to that," Flanagan said.

"Introduction to Museum Studies" is among the requirements for the SUNY Oswego art department's museum studies minor, a set of courses in which students learn about the specifics and behind-the-scenes aspects of running a museum.

Flanagan said he focuses the introductory course on the history of museums, museum ethics, the different types of museums and trips to actual museums.

Curating "'90s Nostaligia" helps show how emotion plays a role in choosing museum exhibits. Robert Kirchner, a graphic design major, contributed an artifact he holds dear, his own Brett Favre jersey from the former star quarterback's days with the Green Bay Packers.

“He was like my childhood idol in the '90s,” Kirchner said. “I was thinking of doing something different since everyone is really drawn to the pop culture aspect of it, but then I decided to showcase something from my childhood.”

Mercedes Buhner decided to display an artifact that's an original creation.

"I 'made' my dad," Buhner said. She constructed a life-size sculpture of her father’s head out of clay and aluminum foil.

"One of my first memories of the '90s was giving my dad a birthday present," Buhner said, "and that birthday present happened to be a bunch of tin foil balls crushed up. So, for my artifact, I wanted to re-create that moment."

Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 9 and 16, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 10 and 17. For more information about the museum, contact the Art Association of Oswego, 315-216-6782 or

SUNY Oswego's art department, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. For information, visit, email or call 315-312-2130.