Category Archives: Exhibits

In his “Great Shadow”: Robert Burns’ Legacy

Robert Burns’ ability to spontaneously produce musical and poignant verse earned him the title of “Scotland’s Bard,” and ensured that his legacy would remain especially close to that nation’s people and their descendants. Special Collections & Archives’ forthcoming exhibit, “In his ‘Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy,” opening January 22nd, explores not only the lyrical finesse that led to our remembrance of him, but especially how he is remembered.

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Portrait of Robert Burns by Detroit Publishing Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Items created by Burns Clubs for memorial celebrations evince the long history of social responses to Burns’ greatness; drawing on the Scottish and John McKay Shaw Collections at FSU’s Special Collections & Archives, the exhibit especially highlights the tradition of Burns Suppers, which are still celebrated around the world. Like memorial celebrations, poetic homages to Burns began almost at the moment of his death. This exhibit explores these poetic echoes, from Sir Walter Scott to current Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay. Experience firsthand the social and poetic legacies of Burns — what Keats called “his Great Shadow” — through beautiful historical items in our collections.

The exhibit is holding a soft opening starting January 22, 2018, and then will be open through the Spring semester in the Exhibit Room in Strozier Library, Monday-Thursday, 10am to 6pm and Friday 10am to 5:30pm.

The Age of Experience: We Tell Better Stories

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Work from the new exhibition

An exhibition of new work by Amy Fleming, The Age of Experience: We Tell Better Stories, is coming to the Claude Pepper Museum at the Claude Pepper Center, 636 West Call Street, Tallahassee, on the campus of Florida State University. The exhibition runs from December 1, 2017, to January 19, 2018, with an opening reception December 1, 6 – 9 p.m.

The exhibition is funded by a grant from Puffin Foundation Ltd. The Puffin Foundation provides grants to artists whose work addresses social issues, or who may be excluded from mainstream opportunities due to race, gender, or social philosophy.

This exhibition works to change the narrative around the way we discuss aging by focusing attention on the many vibrant members of our elder community. Ageism is a byproduct of a hyperconsumerist mindset: the disposability of mass-produced goods, the replacement of “old” with “new” without regard to quality or continued usefulness feeds into this attitude. In The Age of Experience: We Tell Better Stories, images of mass-produced discards find new life as impossible robes and royal collars made from pump valves and vacuum tubes, pull tab rings reappear as chain mail, soda bottles form crowns and halos.

Amy has been working with members of the City of Tallahassee Senior Center to create a series of screen and relief printed portraits. Participants in the project range in age from 60 to their mid 90’s. She became interested in problems facing older adults when two family members were dismissed from their jobs when they entered their 60’s despite having excellent work records. One is still having difficulty finding full-time employment.

Amy Fleming is an Adjunct Professor of Printmaking and Print Lab Manager at Florida State University. She is the recipient of a grant from Puffin Foundation Ltd., a Robert Rauschenberg/Barrier Island Group for the Arts award, has been an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts artists residency, Artist in Residence at 621 Gallery and a Summer River Fellows Program resident artist at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. Her work is included in public and private collections including the Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt University, and the Southern Graphics Council International permanent collection at Kennesaw State University.

Senator Claude Pepper, D-FL, served as chair of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Aging from 1977 through 1983. Pepper led the fight against elder abuse, established legislation to fund Alzheimer’s research and care centers, and pushed energetically against age stereotyping. One of his famous quotes is “Ageism is as odious as racism and sexism.”

For more information on the exhibition, please contact Amy Fleming at ajfleming@fsu.edu and visit her website at www.amyflemingstudio.com.

The Claude Pepper Center Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. To 5 p.m.
For holiday closing information, please check http://claudepeppercenter.fsu.edu/contact/.

A Brief History of FSU’s International Programs

Florida State University’s international programs celebrate 60+ years of connecting students interested in new cultural experiences and a brand new learning environment. Within the program today, students can choose from more than 20 locations, ranging from Panama to China and everywhere in between. Those who are interested in studying abroad, are offered a flexible schedule, allowing them to choose any semester that best suits them so they do not have miss out on the opportunity due to timing. Within Heritage & University Archives, we house the original documents creating the organization, includes the creation and original operation of the international programs.

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Florence brochure, 1966

On August 1, 1966, a group of 120 students from Florida State University traveled to Florence to embark on their cultural adventure for a total of eight months. On November 4, 1966, the Arno River, located in Florence, reached a frightening elevation and eventually surpassed the embankment. This flooded the city, causing damages and causalities and causing the journey for the Florida State students to take a turn for the worst. Florence was covered in mud. Relief efforts by volunteers, known as “mud angels,” were underway to help the residents of Florence. Among these mud angels were the Florida State students, helping preserve invaluable artifacts and manuscripts. Despite relief efforts, Florida State students and faculty were eventually relocated to Rome for the health risks became overwhelming.

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Car destroyed by Arno River Flood, Florence 1966

Their efforts to aid the city of Florence were recognized by both the cities of Rome and Florence and were even thanked by Pope Paul VI. Currently, Heritage & University Archives is hosting an exhibit about the students who went to Florence in 1966 and became part of the relief effort. The exhibit is located in the Mary Lou Norwood Reading Room, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m and available to the general public.

For more information on the Arno River Flood of 1966 and the students who participated in the relief efforts of Florence, please click here.

FSU’s Law School & President Emeritus D’Alemberte

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Inaugural, President John E. Champion, left to right, Justice Richard E. Ervin, Govenor Haydon Burns, justice Campbell Thornal, Justice B.K. Roberts.

Established in 1966 by former Florida Supreme Court Justice B.K. Roberts, Florida State University’s College of Law has contributed many notable individuals to the law community, such as current Florida House of Representatives Majority Leader Adam Hasner and current Senior Judge for the United States Air Force, W. Thomas Cumbie. A scrapbook documenting the planning of the school is located in Special Collections & Archives.

 

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D’Alemberte dedicated window. Located within the FSU Heritage Museum.

In October, Florida State University honored Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, Florida State University President Emeritus, former Dean of the Florida State University Law School, and former President of the American Bar Association through the dedication of a window at the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall.  Featured are the highlights of D’Alemberte’s career, celebrating his service to the community and the university. Florida State University’s College of Law,  College of Medicine, the State Capitol, and his childhood home in Tallahassee can be seen within the window. During his tenure, D’Alemberte was responsible for envisioning and completing the Village Green for the College of Law, with its cluster of historic buildings and rotunda, the design inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s plan at the University of Virginia.

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Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte (center), current FSU President John Thrasher (Left) and former FSU President Dale Lick.

At the unveiling, current Florida State University President, John Thrasher, spoke of his friend:

“Sandy has helped shape Florida State’s identity as a university that not only educates students, but develops good citizens who contribute to society in meaningful ways. He has spent his whole life trying to make this world a better place.”

The exhibit created for the unveiling of the window is still on display within the Heritage Museum. The exhibit and the window are open to the public for viewing, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.

The article documenting the unveiling of the window can be found by clicking here.

Illuminations: Highlights from Special Collections & Archives

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While this blog serves as a running feature of highlights from Special Collections & Archives, our newest exhibit makes the materials we talk about online available for the public to see in person. Illuminations the exhibit features items from our manuscript and rare books collections, Heritage & University Archives, and the Claude Pepper Library. Come and see new acquisitions like the Joseph Tobias PapersPride Student Union Records, Marsha Gontarski Children’s Literature Collection, and more.

Illuminations: Highlights from Special Collections & Archives will be on display through the fall semester in Strozier Library’s first floor exhibit space Monday-Friday 10am to 6pm.

Digital Exhibit Now Available

For those unable to visit the Heritage Museum, an online exhibit has been created for the Heritage Protocol & University Archives project Degrees of Discovery. The digital exhibit includes additional items and information not included in the physical exhibit, providing new understandings about the various scientific developments on campus over the years.

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Digitizing a chemistry notebook on the Atiz book scanner.

Creating the digital exhibit offered an entirely fresh perspective of the objects I had curated for Degrees of Discovery. The first step was to determine the best way to view each object on a screen, rather than in person. Staging a physical exhibit requires an awareness of how items play off each other’s size, color, and texture; because digital items are more likely to be viewed individually, the focus lies with image clarity and whether the digital copy is a faithful representation of the original. After digitizing each object using scanners and conventional photography, I sat down to compile the information that would help people understand the objects they would now see on a computer screen. Rather than interpreting the items in relation to each other to tell a story, I needed to objectively observe each object in terms of size, genre, creator, and subject matter. The information I could glean from the item became its metadata. If you’ve used a catalog record in a library, you’ve seen metadata; it’s the information that describes the item, like the date of publication or its place in a larger series. This metadata allows users to search for objects if they have a subject, keyword, or title already in mind. Though arguably less creative than the initial curatorial development, the creation and implementation of the objects’ metadata is what makes it possible for users to find what they’re looking for.

To explore the digital exhibit, visit degreesofdiscovery.omeka.net.

The Mud Angels: Florence During the Flood

Today’s blog post was written by Lindsay Fasce, a senior history major and Heritage Protocol & University Archives intern.Florence-Poster-Mockup

As of 2017, the Florida State University has a vast international studies program, which offers just under 50 programs in over 15 countries around the world. This program has grown rapidly since the launch of the first study abroad program in the fall of 1966, when 120 university students traveled to Florence, Italy for an 8-month program in the historical city. While in Florence, the students and faculty witnessed the flooding of the city when the Arno River broke its banks and poured into the city streets. They joined the aid effort to help the city protect, salvage, and preserve the priceless works of art and manuscripts damaged in the flood.

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Florence brochure, 1966

As an intern with Heritage Protocol & University Archives, I was given the task of researching these students and the efforts they made to help the city of Florence. This project began just in time for the former students to return to Florida State University in April of 2017 for a 50th reunion celebration.

I started from the beginning, searching through the existing materials in the archives for information on the inaugural Florence program. I then read through and studied all the donated materials from the alumni. I was able to use the materials I found with those donated to the archives recently to attain a better understanding of what happened leading up to the flood and the events succeeding the flood.

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Nancy Jones in Pompeii, 1966.

In 1964, Dean Dr. Ross Oglesby brought a group of Flying High Circus students on a performance tour through Europe. While in Europe, Dr. Oglesby was inspired by his surroundings and developed the idea for a study abroad program that would be conducted in the historical Italian city of Florence. The idea developed into a program, and with the help of a Florence Committee under President Blackwell, the program opened in the fall semester of 1966 headed by Dr. Conrad Tanzy.

Students interested in the program received brochures with information on the program costs, the curriculum, faculty, the facilities, and the application process. Once the applications were turned in and interviews conducted, 120 students were chosen to participate in the inaugural Florence study abroad program. Not only were the students and their families excited about the Florence program, the communities of the chosen students began to cover their stories and interview them on their upcoming historical trip. After months of preparation, the selected students flew out of New York on August 1, 1966, and arrived in Florence on September 1, 1966, for eight months of study in Italy.

The students and faculty were housed in the Hotel Capri, located close to the heart of Florence, just west of the Arno River. The Hotel Capris was not the first facility considered to house the program when Dr. Oglesby was developing and planning the idea of a study abroad program with the Florence Committee. While in Europe in 1964, he met an Italian Countess in Florence who wanted to sell her Villa to the University to use for the program. Florida State University officials informed the committee that the University, as an institution, could not buy property and they would have to find accommodations elsewhere. The program was then moved to the Hotel Capri, as its size could efficiently handle the program and its location was advantageous to the students and faculty studying in Florence.

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Car destroyed by flood, 1966.

The first days of November brought unwavering heavy rains that filled the dams along the Arno River. On November 4, 1966, the waters of the Arno River broke through the embankment and flooded Florence. Flood waters reached threatening levels in the blocks surrounding the river and caused damage as well as casualties. When the flood waters receded, it left deep deposits of mud and silt in its wake, mixed with spilled oil from cars caught in the flood. The mud made rescue and clean-up efforts difficult, and every passing day added to the destruction of the priceless art works and manuscripts housed in Florence. The Hotel Capris, the home of the FSU Florence program, was far enough away from the river where damage was minimal and all the students were safe, but the hotel was without power. The students had the choice to travel back home, but all the students and faculty decided to remain in Florence. President John E. Champion sent letters to the guardians of the students informing them of the situation and the students’ decision to stay in Florence.

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Street in Florence after the flood, 1966.

Volunteers that aided in flood relief efforts were later called the “gli angeli del fango,” or “Mud Angels.” Among these Mud Angels were Florida State students who assisted volunteers with digging through the mud and oil to preserve priceless artwork and manuscripts. The students trudged through the mud every day to libraries and churches to help with disaster recovery, then returned to their hotel covered in mud which still had no power or running water. After many days of aid work, the risk to the student’s health grew too great and the students and faculty were sent to Rome until conditions improved. In Rome, the students were awarded a certificate by the City of Rome officials for all their efforts to aid Florence and were even thanked by Pope Paul VI. In March 1967, the students left Florence and returned home safe. In 2016, the 50th anniversary of the flood, the students were invited back to Florence to be awarded and thanked for all their efforts.

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Degrees of Discovery: The History of Science at Florida State

FSU_HPUA_2016003_B7_F2_005The Florida State University Heritage Museum exhibit Degrees of Discovery examines the history of science at Florida State, tracking the school’s development from early educational institution to twenty-first century research facility. Since the late nineteenth century, science has served as a fundamental aspect of education at Florida State University and its predecessors. After World War II, a surplus of wartime laboratory equipment and veterans allowed FSU to meet the increasing demand for science education across the country. Early programs focusing on physical sciences laid the groundwork for the development of advanced courses in a variety of fields, including meteorology, oceanography, chemistry, and physics. The creation of innovative research facilities offered new avenues for interdisciplinary collaboration and continues to encourage scientists from around the world to take advantage of the advanced technologies offered on and around the Tallahassee campus.

The process of creating this exhibit included extensive research into both the history of the University and scientific trends throughout the past century. Though Heritage Protocol & University Archives contains a wide array of scientific photographs from the 1950s and 60s, locating a variety of primary source material to tell a cohesive narrative was a challenge. In addition, as a literature student, my scientific knowledge was sorely lacking. In order to contextualize FSU’s developments, I interviewed faculty and current students involved in the sciences to gain a wider understanding of practice and principle. Research also involved reading transcripts of oral histories, scanning negatives from laboratory photo sessions, tracking the development of honor societies, and comparing a century’s worth of course catalogs to determine how science education changed over time.

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Another challenge of working with such a broad subject was that relevant items were spread throughout the collections of both HPUA and Special Collections. A newsletter published by the 1973 Speleological Society was tucked away in the Archives, for example, while a postcard donated by two alumni offered an early look at the Science Hall. Perhaps one of the most interesting finds was a set of hand-crafted lab equipment from the 1960s; as part of a chemistry class, students were responsible for creating their own glass stirring rods and tube connectors. During this time period, glassblowers on campus would even create unique, made-to-order equipment for scientists who needed a particular shape or style of instrument.

The practical side of installing the exhibit, however, limited some of our object selections. Because we cannot regulate the natural light from the large, albeit beautiful, stained glass windows in the Heritage Museum, older photographs were digitally reproduced and mounted to avoid damaging the original items. Adhering images to foam board for support and cutting them down to size was more difficult than I anticipated – straight lines and I clearly don’t get along – but with the help of the Archives Assistant, the resulting photos offered an impressive visual timeline of the school’s scientific evolution. Curating this exhibit was an incredible learning process about creative design, museum principles, and even some scientific facts. Degrees of Discovery offers visitors a glimpse into the ever-changing world of science while reminding us that the basis of discovery – curiosity, inquiry, and creativity – will always be a part of human nature.

Degrees of Discovery: The History of Science at Florida State will be on display in the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall beginning in mid-April. The museum is open Monday-Thursday, 11AM to 4PM. An online exhibit with additional content will follow.

Visualizing an Invisible Machine

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View of the current exhibit on the digital library

For our current exhibit, What’s Past is Pixels, we faced a challenge. How do we represent our digital library in a physical space? To some extent, we could easily do so with pulling the physical objects we’ve digitized and talk about the challenges and decisions we made when translating them online. We could visualize the metadata created, highlight digital representations through screens and screenshots. What I could not wrap my head around, and what of course was on my list to figure out, was representing what the digital library was in some visual form…

As an exhibit planning group, we decided on the words representing the main functions of the digital library: discovery, scholarship and engagement. We also as a group decided on the raw ingredients that made those functions go: materials, community and system. My colleague working on the visualization with me originally suggested some sort of web visual, which would show the interconnectedness of the ingredients and functions. However, while that solved one problem (showing how the digital library works), it didn’t quite show how it worked in the bigger context of DigiNole, the platform that also held the Research Repository.

I kept playing around with the idea of engines, which eventually led me to the final graphic of cogs and functionality as the motion moving the cogs. The digital library was only one engine of DigiNole so the Research Repository could be represented as a part of the greater machine in which the digital library moved. From there, I assigned each ingredient to a cog of the machine and then named the movements after the different functionality we wanted to highlight. It was clean, simple and did its job in illustrating a highly conceptual idea in a straightforward manner for the exhibit without lots of text and using vocabulary that our intended audience (non-librarians) wouldn’t understand. Hopefully it succeeded!

The finished visual to explain how the digital library works
The finished visual to explain how the digital library works

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is located in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room and is open 10am to 6pm, Monday through Thursday, 10am to 5:30pm Friday. It will be held until April 8, 2016.

What’s Past is Pixels, a new exhibit at Strozier Library

As a digital archivist, when I’m working with exhibits, they are usually of the digital variety. However, when we wanted to make a splash for the launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository which combines the digital library with the research repository, we knew we needed to do something a bit bold, a bit crazy and very impressive.

What's Past is Pixels

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is an exhibit opening today about our work on the digital library. Perhaps our introduction to the exhibit says it best:

For over 10 years Florida State University Libraries has hosted a digital library in some form or another. In that time technology has evolved, changing how we can interact with physical objects in a digital space. The FSU Digital Library continues to evolve as well.

Today, the Florida State University Digital Library, under DigiNole, our new digital platform, provides online access to thousands of unique manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, rare books, historic maps and other materials from across the FSU campus libraries and beyond. Our goal is to support active learning and engagement by providing ample opportunities for discovery and scholarship. In order to achieve this goal new resources and projects are constantly being added to the digital library.

The exhibit takes you through the process of materials being selected, digitized, and described before they find their way into DigiNole. It then explores the new uses for materials that can occur in the digital environment and what the future may hold for the development of DigiNole over time.

We’re having some Opening Day festivities today for the new exhibit. A Coffee Talk at 10am, Cake (!) from 12-1pm and then a Closing Reception from 3-4pm. Also throughout the day, there will be demonstrations of DigiNole and what you can find and do with our materials.

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is located in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room and is open 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. It will be held from February 29 until April 8, 2016.