Slippery Rock University’s archives department will hold an open house on Friday which will display artifacts that date back to the founding of the university all the way through current- day artifacts.
This will be the third year that the University Archives has put on this event. The first couple of years, the focus was to collaborate with the Office of Alumni Engagements so they could inform alumni for Homecoming that this open house will occur. The University Archives contains a variety of items including documents, photos, old Rocky costumes and trophies.
Judy Silva, a Fine & Performing Arts librarian and archivist, as well as Kevin McLatchy, a librarian technician and University Archives staff member, are in charge of the open house. The items on display will date all the way back to the school’s founding in 1889, McLatchy said.
The items will be from each era of the school and give people the idea of what it was like back when the school was in its early years, McLatchy said. There will be items from the current time, as well as films from early homecoming festivities on display, Silva said.
“Some of the things we’re going to show are going to be funny, and others will be very moving for people to see,” Silva said. “It will be interesting to see how people react to seeing Main Street in the 1950s, it was much more different as you can imagine. The football games from Homecoming and all the festivities that followed will be great for people to see as well.”
Everything is stored in the archives room on the third floor of the library, which contains two smaller rooms within that house the documents and files. Everything is boxed in acid-free boxes or acid-free folders to preserve it, Silva said. The right materials must be chosen in order for the documents to be preserved to the best capability possible, McLatchy said.
“A lot of work is gone into preserving the history of the school, as you can imagine,” McLatchy said. “There are special ways to preserve photos using Mylar so they don’t get ruined.”
The documentation of the university’s history comes from a wide variety of sources, Silva said. She said some items come from private donors, organizations and offices on campus.
“When something comes into the archives, we have to take the necessary steps to decide if it is appropriate or not for the archives,” Silva said. “The next thing after that is organizing it, and Kevin, along with several student workers, do a great job of that. The really important thing after that is making sure researchers have these things available to them, and know that they are here for them. We are focusing on digitizing the collections and getting them online so they know it’s here.”
The variety of collections that the University Archives do possess will be on full display for the public to view. One big collection is the Watson family, who helped discover the university, McLatchy said.
One big thing the department is looking forward to is the oral histories of the school, which was done by 36 former students or faculty, Silva said.
“This is going to be a lot of fun for everyone, and exciting to see how people will react to seeing these collections,” Silva said.
The University Archives open house will be held on Friday in room 315 of Bailey Library from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is targeted towards both current students and alumni.