October is American Archives Month, and we would like to celebrate by recognizing some of the great work being done by our own Special Collections & University Archives. Special Collections & University Archives (SC&UA) plays a major role at Rod Library and across campus, giving students hands-on experience with historical artifacts and documents to inform their research and allow them to experience history like never before.
Dig UNI Research on Central Hall
Students from the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology have collaborated with Special Collections & University Archives as part of their “Dig UNI” project. These students are currently conducting an excavation on the site where Central Hall once stood. Originally built as an orphanage, the Central Hall became the first classroom building at UNI and was used until it burned down in 1965. Now, these students are hoping to learn more about this important part of UNI’s history by researching the site where Central Hall used to stand.
In addition to learning more about Central Hall through the excavation of objects on its original site, the students met with Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist Jaycie Vos to uncover primary resources about the history of Central Hall. Using records stored in SC&UA, the students uncovered exciting primary information, including photos, newspaper articles, and even the night watchman’s log from the night of the fire. This information has helped the students better understand the history of the site they are excavating.
Jaycie Vos, Special Collections Coordinator, and University Archivist
"It’s great to bring these students into the archives to see photographs, correspondence, reports, original building plans, and other primary sources about Central Hall’s creation, its use over time, and the fire that caused its destruction. By getting hands-on experience with these materials, students can contextualize the building’s history and give more meaning to any artifacts they might uncover during their dig.”
Golden Grads Pop-Up Exhibit
Each year at homecoming, the university recognizes alumni who are celebrating their 50th anniversary of graduation. This year’s “Golden Grads” graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1968, and many returned to campus this year to celebrate alongside their classmates and current UNI students during homecoming.
Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist Jaycie Vos helped honor these guests by pulling together memories from their graduating year in a pop-up exhibit using the materials housed in SC&UA. During the Golden Grads reception on the Friday of homecoming week, alumni had the opportunity to browse through yearbooks, newspapers, and photographs from their time at UNI and share their experiences and memories with Jaycie and each other.
SC&UA Welcomes New Intern
We would like to welcome Cassidy Fisher as the new public history intern for Special Collections & University Archives. Cassidy is a junior at UNI majoring in history liberal arts and minoring in anthropology. In her new role, Cassidy will help make SC&UA materials more accessible to the public by creating online finding aids for collections of student organization records. The finding aids she creates will be put online, which will make it easier for other students and researchers to access this information for use in their own scholarly work. Working with SC&UA in this capacity will give Cassidy experience handling archival materials and using professional standards to write a finding aid as well as the opportunity to develop historical thinking skills to contextualize the records.
Cassidy Fisher, junior, history liberal arts major
"I’m a very hands-on person, so working with the materials in Special Collections is very fun. I like looking at all the old photos and reading things that were published by students in the past. I guess what I’m most excited for is the learning experience and seeing what it means to be an archivist. I’m also excited to see the materials I’ll be working with during my internship.”
Thank you to all of our Special Collections & University archives students, staff, and faculty. If you have yet to visit SC&UA, go check out all of the cool things they have in store for you on the 3rd floor of Rod Library. Happy American Archives Month!