Dramatic pictures, artifacts and interactive displays fill a room focused on the history and impact of the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings in which four students were killed during a protest against the Vietnam War.
The May 4 Visitors Center will open to the public this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Carole Barabato, professor of communication studies at Kent State University, says the exhibit goes beyond just telling the story of the events.
"We're providing people with the context of what happened, the social movements of the 1960's and then to provide them with information," said Barbato."And allowing them to arrive at their own conclusions."
On May 4, 1970, Kent State a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the Ohio National Guard on campus ended in tragedy with thirteen seconds of rifle fire by 28 guardsmen. Four students died, one permanently paralyzed and eight others wounded.
The tour also features historic site trail markers and a documentary narrated by civil rights activist Julian Bond. Visitors can also become a part of the exhibit using interactive displays.
"This is where you look at the national, international reactions and you can also leave your reactions so you can become part of the May 4 Visitors Center as well," said Barbato.
The exhibit brought back memories of the tragedy to, Jerry Lewis, emeritus professor of sociology at Kent State University. Lewis served as a faculty marshal during the shootings. He believes visitors will learn more than just the history of the events.
"I hope they understand the complexity of the protests, but the bottom line is I hope they understand the importance of freedom of speech in a democracy," said Lewis.