CWU News

"The Living Room," A New CWU Exhibit

The Living RoomEllensburg photographer Rob Fraser has taken many photographs of living rooms, sometimes for magazines, other times for real estate sales. In his mind, these pristine, fashionable spaces were missing something, however: the “living.”

In January 2017, Fraser began photographing the everyday messes and day-to-day routines of living rooms within the community. Hope Amason, Central Washington University anthropologist and Museum of Culture and Environment director, was interested in helping. She accompanied Fraser in order to interview home owners and living-room occupants.

The resulting project, The Living Room, is the newest exhibit at the Museum of Culture & Environment (MCE), opening Thursday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m.

The public is invited to revel The Living Room with Fraser and Amason, along with MCE staff and community members featured in the exhibition. There will be refreshments and live music from Ellensburg band Cadence, who were photographed practicing in a band member’s living room.

The Living Room uses a social science method called “cultural inventory,” which combines photographs and interviews in order to understand people in a particular time and place.  While Amason interviewed participants, Fraser took photographs.

Visitors to the exhibit will be able to explore Fraser’s large, colorful panoramas of local living rooms, getting a glimpse of everyday life in our community.  And they can also read interview excerpts that reveal the hidden stories behind seemingly mundane living-room objects. 

Fraser and Amason are looking for more living rooms to feature in the exhibit as it continues into fall quarter 2018. The Living Room will be at the MCE through December 8, 2018—though due to staffing, the Museum is only open by special request from June 13 to September 15, 2018.

For more information visit or email, or call the gallery at 509-963-2313. The MCE is free and open to the public Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Parking on CWU campus is free after 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays.

Photo caption: Jane Orleman's living room, owner of the well-known Dick and Jane's Spot. Photo by Rob Fraser.

Media Contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,